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How to Make Summer Festivals ADA Compliant with Access Solutions

It’s that time of year when you can Google, “What to do tonight?” or ask Alexa, “What’s happening in my neighborhood?” and the answer will likely be an outdoor event or festival. It’s an exciting time when we can enjoy the great outdoors all day long, but it can be a frustrating time for individuals with mobility challenges if the events are not ADA compliant. Take a look at four ways your event committee can make your upcoming event the best experience for individuals of all abilities.

Total parking spots in lot

Minimum number of accessible spaces required*

1 to 25 = 1

26 to 50 = 2

51 to 75 = 3

76 to 100 = 4

101 to 150 = 5

151 to 200 = 6

201 to 300 = 7

301 to 400 = 8

401 to 500 = 9

501 to 1000 = 2 percent of total

1001 and over = 20 plus 1 for each 100 over 1000

*Note that one of every six accessible spaces, or fraction of six, must be van accessible. For example, if eight accessible spaces are required, two of those eight spaces must be van-accessible.

long smooth sidewalk in grassy field

Site Selection  

You have to think about accessibility from the very beginning if you’re going to pull off an ADA compliant event. The first step is to evaluate all options at each venue that are up for consideration. The site needs to have a path that meets these requirements: a “single continuous accessible pedestrian path should be wide, smooth, as level as possible, and without low or overhanging hazards or obstructions. Accessible routes can include ramps but not stairs,” according to ADA Event Guidelines. This path should connect to the main attraction as well as handicap-accessible bathrooms. Keep in mind that individuals with physical limitations should be able to use the same route as everyone as often as possible, and they should not have to travel very far to reach the destination.

Accessibility parking spaces with green grass in the background

Access into the Event

When hosting an ADA compliant event, you need to think about how the attendees will get to and park at the event. Accessible parking spaces need to be as close as possible to the main event site or building entrance and be connected by a smooth, level path without curbs or other barriers. If the parking area you plan to use is not already ADA compliant (ex: the parking area is a back lot without lines to designate parking spaces), check your state and local ADA guidelines as many states have additional design requirements for parking spaces. One temporary option would be to use cones to prevent parking next to a temporary accessible parking spot and use a temporary portable ramp over curbs. See the table below for the appropriate number of accessible parking spaces designated by the ADA.

TITANâ„¢ ramp leading up to building entrance

Access around Event Space  

In this stage of the process, you need to think about any barriers that prevent mobility device users and others from having access to the event and its attractions. Typically, the owner of the property has much more control over removing barriers than the event coordinator does. However, most of the time there are plenty of ways to add temporary access solutions to a property to make the event successful. For example, the PATHWAY® HD Code Compliant Modular Access System – a customizable, commercial-grade solution that combines ramps, platforms, and steps and features a non-slip surface and safety handrails. This would be a great solution if the entrance to the event space is either indoors or outdoors and only has stairs leading up to the entrance.

Check ADA guidelines to determine if the accessible route, event surface, and rooms at the venue meet ADA standards. Don’t forget, everywhere that is handicap-accessible needs to include signage that is easy to see.

In the ADA’s handbook for events, there are several more topics outside of ramp and step access solutions such as eliminating barriers for those with hearing and/or visual disabilities. Please refer to those guidelines for additional information when planning an ADA compliant summer event. If you have any questions about temporary access solutions for the event, someone on our Customer Service team would be happy to help you design an ADA compliant solution fit for your event.

Ways to Configure an Access Ramp for Your Entrance: Part 1

Ways to Configure an Access Ramp for Your Entrance: Part 1