2.1.4 Rest Areas

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The Requirements in this Section apply to:
Government of Ontario, Legislative Assembly, and Designated Public Sector Organizations Private / Not-for-Profit Sector Organizations
Large Small
Yes Yes N/A

Rest areas along sidewalks and walkways are important for those who have difficulty walking long distances. They also provide a place for anyone to meet up with friends or wait for rides.

To meet the specific needs of your community, you must consult people with disabilities on the placement and design of rest areas when building new or making significant changes to an existing sidewalk or walkway.

Providing seating with armrests and backrests will help people who have difficulty sitting and rising. Including clear space within a rest area accommodates people who use wheelchairs and allows for better flow of pedestrian traffic.


The requirements of this Section apply to newly constructed and redeveloped exterior paths of travel in public spaces.

The requirements of this section do not apply to small private or not-forprofit sector organizations.

Requirements for the Design of Rest Areas

The Standard does not provide specific criteria for the design and placement of rest areas along exterior paths of travel. Instead, it requires obligated organizations to consult with the public and people with disabilities. Municipalities must also consult with their accessibility advisory committee, if they have one. These consultations must address not only where rest areas are to be provided along paths of travel, but also how the rest areas will be designed.

Refer to Section 1.9 for more information and helpful resources for consulting with the public and with people with disabilities.

Better Practice Considerations

Consider providing rest areas along paths of travel, spaced no more than 30 metres apart to maximize the useability of the paths for people with reduced stamina. Also consider providing them at viewing areas, waiting areas and other points of interest.
Connection to path of travel
Plan for rest areas to be directly connected with an accessible path of travel. Consider how they could affect pedestrian traffic on the path of travel.
Defining rest areas
Consider using a change in ground finish, texture and tone to distinguish the rest area from the adjacent path of travel.
Provide some seating that offers both armrests and backrests.
Clear area
Provide Definition:clear ground / Definition:clear floor area next to the rest area seating to accommodate mobility aids, Definition:service animals or strollers.
Edge protection
Where a rest area is located next to an area that slopes down, or a potential hazard such as a water feature, consider providing edge protection to enhance safety. A minimum 50 mm high curb, a railing, or other barrier that extends to within 50 mm of the surface may be used.

Selecting an Accessible Bench

An accessible bench is stable and preferably fixed to the ground or floor surface. Seat height between 450 mm and 500 mm aligns with the seat height of many people who use wheelchairs, making transfers safer and easier. Benches with both arm rests and back support will make sitting easier for everyone but particularly for seniors. If multiple seating options are provided, consider a variety of seat heights and arm rest configurations.

Some people who use wheelchairs like to get out of their chairs to sit on a bench. To make transferring easier, provide clear ground / floor area beside a bench with no arm rest at the transfer location.


Illustrated Technical Guide to the Design of Public Spaces