The study highlights how the Accessibility Standard for the Design of Public Spaces (the Standard) applies to the design of exterior sidewalks and walkways within a large urban development. It also explores the relationships between the Standard and legal design requirements from other jurisdictions, such as Ontario’s Building Code (OBC) and municipal by-laws.
The year is 2015. A site is being developed by ABC Properties for the construction of a multiplex cinema complex and three restaurants. ABC Properties is the owner of the land and will be developing the facilities on a design-build basis, having secured a 20-year lease arrangement with a national cinema chain and three restaurants.
Classification Considerations within the Standard::
As ABC Properties is the organization responsible for the development of the site, it is also responsible for ensuring that the project is designed and constructed in compliance with the Standard.
As ABC Properties is a development company with a staff of over 100 people, it is classified as a large private sector organization. Refer to Section 1.2 for further information on how organizations are classified under the Regulation.
A leasing contract was signed by the parties in late 2015, with the construction planned to be substantially complete in mid 2017. As the project is being developed by a large private sector organization, and the substantial completion date of the project is after the January 1, 2017 deadline, ABC Properties must ensure that the project complies with all applicable Standard requirements. Refer to Section 1.7 for further information on compliance deadlines for different types of organizations.
The project incorporates numerous types of exterior paths of travel which fall under different jurisdictions. More specifically:
- Sidewalks surrounding the site: The sidewalks surrounding the site are public. As such, they must be designed to comply with the Standard. Similarly, any ramps, stairs, curb ramps, depressed curbs, or other Standard elements incorporated along the path of travel must be designed to comply with the Standard.
- Sidewalks and walkways connecting to barrier-free entrances: The sidewalks and walkways that connect OBC-designated barrier-free building entrances to a municipal sidewalk, parking lot with barrier-free parking or passenger loading zones, fall under the jurisdiction of the OBC. They must be designed to comply with OBC accessibility requirements and are not required to comply with the Standard.
- Other sidewalks and walkways within the site, intended for public use: The other sidewalks and walkways that connect elements within the site are public spaces. They must be designed to comply with the Standard. Similarly, any ramps, stairs, curb ramps, depressed curbs, or other Standard elements incorporated along the path of travel must be designed to comply with the Standard.
As a large private sector organization, ABC Properties is obligated to consult with the public and people with disabilities on the need for and design of rest areas along the exterior paths of travel regulated by the Standard. In this regard, ABC Properties plans to contact local organizations representing the interests of people with disabilities to ask for volunteers to participate in a project focus group. The organization has also posted a notice on its web site, asking for comments from members of the public related to the need for and design of rest areas.
The local municipality also has its own by-laws and a Municipal Accessibility Design Standard which impose additional accessibility requirements on the configuration of municipal sidewalks and exterior walkways within a development site. It’s important to note that the Standard prescribes the minimum mandatory standard for accessibility. The level of accessibility must never be less than specified by the Standard.
However, where the accessibility requirements within a municipality’s bylaws or Municipal Accessibility Design Standard differs from those in the Standard, the requirements that provide the greatest level of accessibility must be used.