ADA Inspections Nationwide, LLC
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ADAIN Blog

by Richard Acree of ADA Inspections Nationwide, LLC

Disabled Seating Signage - Doing it Right In Puerto Rico

Look at the photo below. This is some of the disabled seating at the San Juan International Airport. Notice the signage. They have taken the initiative to install a vertical sign somewhat similar to what you see at disabled parking spaces. This is ADA done right!

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Below is a close up of the sign.

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It is rare to see these vertical signs in any interior disabled seating areas. Probably because there is no clear ADA or ABA laws that require it. So what I see is all over the map in terms of size and location of signage for disabled seating, if it is installed at all. At many quick service food restaurants I see very small signs on the top or edge of the tables for disabled seating. The photo below is representative of an International Symbol of Access (ISA) sign engraved into the top of a dining table. That’s about 1.5 inches square.

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And here is one on the edge of a dining table in a quick service restaurant. About the size of a postage stamp. What good is that?

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In my opinion these table signs qualify as pictograms. The 2010 ADA Standards defines a pictogram as “A pictorial symbol that represents activities, facilities, or concepts.” The International Symbol of Access (ISA) is obviously a symbol.

Standard 216.2, Designations, states, “Interior and exterior signs identifying permanent rooms and spaces shall comply with [Standards] 703.1, 703.2, and 703.5. Where pictograms are provided as designations of permanent interior rooms and spaces, the pictograms shall comply with [Standard] 703.6 and shall have text descriptors complying with [Standards] 703.2 and 703.5.” The 2010 ADA Standards defines “space” as “A definable area, such as a room, toilet room, hall, assembly area, entrance, storage room, alcove, courtyard, or lobby.” I suggest the clear space used to define a place at a dining table for disabled use is a “space” 30 inches wide X 48 inches long and 80 inches tall. Therefore these spaces could and should have a pictogram sign to identify the space to disabled and non-disabled individuals.

Standard 703.6.1, Pictogram Field, states, “Pictograms shall have a field height of 6 inches (150 mm) minimum. Characters and braille shall not be located in the pictogram field.” The ISA is a symbol when used at a dining table and represents an activity, which is consuming food and beverage. And that is why I support the pictogram signs installed at the airport in San Juan. I think these types of pictogram signs should be used to identify disabled seating in any/all locations. Here is the diagram of a pictogram. Obviously this is for a toilet room, but hopefully you get the idea.

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If you observe a building that is not ADA compliant and you would like to know how to proceed, please see the link at What To Do When A Building Is Not ADA Compliant or Accessible.

Thank you,