Firm, stable and slip-resistant surfaces are critical characteristics of accessible routes. Firm surfaces resist indentations when walked or wheeled on. Stable surfaces return to their original condition once the walking or wheeling pressure has been removed.
Other important characteristics of accessible routes include openings, such as drainage grates, that will not allow wheelchair wheels, canes or footwear to get caught. Openings larger than the measurements provided in the Standard should be relocated out of the walkway or sidewalk. Similarly, overhead barriers or objects protruding into the sidewalk are a hazard for those with vision loss and equally for those distracted by a cell phone. Where these can’t be relocated, the use of cane detectable rails or other barriers around the object will benefit all users.
The requirements of this Section apply to newly constructed and redeveloped outdoor sidewalks or walkways that are intended to be maintained. These paths of travel are intended to have a functional purpose and are not provided for a recreational experience. These requirements do not apply to paths of travel that are regulated under Ontario’s Building Code, such as routes within a site to:
- barrier-free entrances;
- passenger loading zones; and
- parking lots with barrier free parking.
Requirements for the Design of Sidewalks and Walkways
- Firm, stable, and slip resistant.
- Clear width
- Minimum 1,500 mm, but can be reduced to 1,200 mm at the top of curb ramp.
- Running slope
- No steeper than 1:20 (5%). Exception: Sidewalks beside roadways can be steeper than 1:20 (5%), but must not be steeper than the slope of the adjacent roadway.
- Cross slope
- No steeper than 1:20 (5%) for hard surfaces (e.g. asphalt, concrete) or 1:10 (10%) in all other cases.
- Changes in level
- Refer to table 2.1.1