tv [untitled] November 29, 2013 7:30am-8:01am PST
>> i am so looking forward to the street fair tomorrow. >> it is in the mission, how are we going to get there? we are not driving. >> well what do you suggest? >> there are a lot of great transportation choices in the city and there is one place to find them all, sfnta.com. >> sfmta.com. >> it is the walking parking, and riding muni and it is all here in one place. >> sitting in front of my computer waiting transportation options that is not exactly how i want to spend my saturday night. >> the new sfmta.com is mobile friendly, it works great on a tablet, smart phone or a lap top, it is built to go wherever we go. >> cool. >> but, let's just take the same route tomorrow that we always take, okay? >> it might be much more fun to ride our bikes. >> i am going to be way too
tired to ride all the way home. >> okay, how about this, we can ride our bikes there and then we can take muni home and it even shows us how to take the bikes on the bus, so simple right here on my phone. >> neat. we can finish making travel plans over dinner, now let's go eat. >> how about about that organic vegan gluten free rest rft. >> can't we go to the food truck. >> do you want to walk or take a taxi. >> there is an alert right here telling us there is heavy traffic in soma. >> let's walk there and then take a taxi or muni back. >> that new website gives us a lot of options. >> it sure does and we can use it again next weekend when we go to see the giants. there is a new destination section on the website that shows us how to get to at&t park. >> there is a section, and
. >> hello and welcome to the san francisco department of building inspection brown bag lunch series. this is a series that's been going for over 5 years now and we're delighted to have you come on the third thursday of every month where we talk about subjects of interest to you and me and the community at large. today's topic is one that is requested by many people, including the small business counsel -- commission of san francisco and others talking about disabled access for small businesses. and it's something that i have been involved in for a couple of decades and our panelists have been involved in for a long, long time. i want to introduce paul church, an old friend who is
the disability access coordinator for the city of berkley now. you have been involved in the whole accessability enforcement, the movement for many years. >> since the early 90's. >> since the early 90's and has been involved in the city of san francisco as well for a long period. >> not so much any longer, but quite a bit in the past. >> carla johnson in the acting deputy director of inspection sftions here at the building department. people who go out and do inspections for buildings, including inspections for disabled access, are responsible to carla's management. i know carla has been involved as well for decades and decades. >> 13 years here at dbi enforcing the disabled access codes. >> and my good buddy tom fowl at the end. tom is an engineer at the smith
kettle research institute and a sailor and tom and i met sailing 10 or 12 years ago and we met sailing san francisco bay. people say how can a blind guy sail? . >> you get in a sail boat and you pull on ropes and move the tiller and listen to the sighted people who of course have to be with you. >> we have had fantastic sailing experiences. it's great. >> a storm. >> going out around the faralons and the double anded races and so on. it's good to have you here. i want to start about my general conception about what disability access includes, sort of the over all concept. it includes a couple of things. the first thing is the work that is required to be done when you are doing other construction work. that's in some ways the easiest thing. you want to do renovation, you get a building permit, you work
with an architect like mr. learner here, who is an expert in access compliance, and the architect helps you solve the problem and this is relatively easy. we have an extremely high standard in san francisco for disabled access when we check plans and we do inspections and what we expect of the architect and the owners and that includes typically, new buildings, everything must comply with all the building codes for access. they become extremely accessible buildings from a physical point of view. for the renovation work, the triggers foreign vaition, if you are doing a structural repair, you have to make buildings accessible to some level. if you are doing an alteration, you have to make them accessible and the state has defined what these various words mean, alteration, revision, structural repair.
if you are doing none of these things, changing carpets or changing your displays, the state law does not come into play. the building department does not enforce the americans with disabilities act directly. our building code has provisions similar to but not identical to the ada. is that generally right? paul, you see that stuff a right. >> yeah, most cities don't enforce adac >> we don't enforce the americans with disabilities act but they include standards we want to let you know about because today's program is to try to encourage small businesses and other commercial owners to bring their buildings more closely, more reasonably, into what is compliance with the standards. it's sort of like structural
repair. something is either not earthquake proof or earthquake proof. there's a large gray area with seismic safety. business owners are still obligated to make efforts to achieve access compliance under the ada and we'll talk about how some of those things get triggered. there's the state stuff, there's the ada compliance, and the ada uses something called readily achievable and we'll talk a little bit about what readily achievable means. in your handouts today you will find these defined much more closely. if you have an employee who requires some accommodation for their physical disability, you are required under federal law to provide some accommodation for their needs and this andout
today, which is available at the building department, call us at 558-6205 and we'll send you a copy of this -- can include everything from your work station to your tty telephone. two more things i want to define. one is temporary usage. someone says, oh, no, i'm just selling hot dogs off a stand so i don't have to comply. >> i have heard that occasionally. >> people say that. they have to comply? yeah, they have to make reasonable efforts, they have to meet standards for disabled access even for temporary uses. if people put up a tent they
have to provide access for temporary use if it's open to the public, like little portapotties that are of a sufficient size and path of travel to the tent and that sort of stuff. the last topic i want to talk about has to do with behavioral and policy things, where people will hang something in the way and just not get it. there are reasonable efforts that need to be made. people need to recognize that this is a behavioral issue. you can't be throwing stuff on the sidewalk where somebody might trip and slip or something like that. it's a behavioral issue. so we'll go through these, my 5 main topics, starting with this sort of general survey of the public right of way. so here is, down in the mission, a baby carriage. and the use of public right of way is for the entire public.
it's not just -- we don't just have curb cuts and wheelchair ramps; we have accessibility serving all sorts of people. accessibility, people say, well, i can't make that wheelchair compliant so i'm not going to do it. we're not just serving wheelchairs. wheelchair users need to be served, of course, but those services provide assistance to all sorts of people. scooters, other people, power chair users. there's a ramp on market street. bicycles, you see a bicycle behind our friend here. we see shopping carts, grocery carts, homeless carts, trash carts. not too many horse-drawn carts, but we see a lot of bicycles in the city and more and more demand to provide bicycle access and most disabled access up on the public right of way provides services for all of these different kinds of users.
bye-bye baby buggy, multi baby carrier strollers. they would have a tough time without that curb ramps or without other --. >> this is a great slide, lawrence, because it helps us avoid that trap of looking at accessibility in terms of us and them. accessibility is really about all of us. it's about temporary disabilities, permanent disabilities or just ease of motion, of movement through the environment. >> we are really a city of small businesses. really one of the charms of san francisco is its many small businesses and it is really a challenge for many small businesses to provide access, partly because san francisco is an older city and these are existing buildings. also because of the difficult grade change issues where we have a steep slope. so here is a typical condition where we have a step up,
probably a 3 1/2 or so inch step up at a front door along the sidewalk, which makes this difficult access, to say the least, i would say. paul? . >> there's a couple things here. the step, with somebody using a wheelchair that's very tropk and very fit could probably get up over that being a 3 inch curb, but a lot of people would not be able to do it. anybody in a power chair or scooter would be bared to geting there. relative placement of the sign board as well being up next to the building can hinder a lot of people. it depends upon the width of the sidewalk, but if that were moved more closer to the curb it would make that stretch of sidewalk more accessible and usable to everybody. >> but one of our big issues today, one of our big topics, is what is easily or readily available? something as simple as moving
the sign, making sure it isn't sticking out where everybody is walking. >> lawrence, what is going to trigger the need to upgrade to this readily achievable standard? is it an inspection, is it a change in code, when do we need to do it? . >> excellent question. what triggers meeting the readily achievable standard. >> readily achievable is an ada standard and it's based upon the business. essentially what you can say it's what's doable based upon the business' finances and also what's cheap and easy to do. if you are a mom and pop grocery store and you have 3 steps into the business, you probably don't have to build a ramp. i say probably because there may be other circumstances. if you are ibm, what's not readily achievable to ibm to do? build a ramp into an office building. >> but the question is what triggers -- no construction triggers it. >> there is nothing that really
triggers readily achievable other than it's required under ada >> the day i go to the hardware store and i see this new piece of hardware and i realize that the old doorknob i have isn't as good as it could be, i need to -- i should go make that purchase, make the change then? . >> as a small business, even as a large business, you should survey your business, find out where the access deficiencies lay, how many round doorknobs do you have, how many round faucet handles do you have, what would it cost to replace them? can you afford to replace them? how long would it take to save up the money if you can't afford it right now. come up with a plan on how you are going to make your business accessible. >> but it is the business owner's responsibility, not triggered by work, not triggered by time, date, anything else, to be on top of it. >> that just seems really discretionary to me.
that means carla goes and inspects the facility and suggests some changes and then somebody else comes back the next day and says, well, i think you could really spend a little bit more. is that right or not? . >> it's important to make a distinction between the local jurisdiction like dbi, who is going to be looking for accessibility upgrades when you do a construction project, whether it's new construction or alteration. but adag, under the ada you still have a responsibility to survey the barriers and start removing them. >> not to meet our standard, but to meet the department of justice standard. >> i understand that. you are not enforcing the ada i think is what you said at the beginning; is that right. >> that's correct. >> so who is going to make sure
we're making these e changes? . >> on complaint, i'm sorry to say. . >> as a business owner i would always suggest you document carefully the barriers you have identified and the steps you have taken to remove them so you can demonstrate if somebody ever does actually file a complaint that you have been taking care of business to the extent that you can. >> so being proactive in this is the critical key to success in removing barriers to meet your ada obligation. tom, one of your favorite elements here, we have a fire department pipe sticking out about 8 inches into the sidewalk. >> those are nasty. you can't detect them with a cane. believe me, there's no technology that would find that in time and you just get banged.
apparently they are legal. >> well, if they are below -- what's the dimension, 27 inches? 27 inches, if they are below that height, theoretically they can be projecting more than 4 inches. but if they are above 27 inches up to a height of 80 inches, they are restricted to 4 inches projection from a wall. now, there's an easy way to solve this problem, an extremely easy way, and that's just to put a permanent little fixture, a pipe or something underneath at the ground level so you find that. would that work for you? . >> yeah. sure. then the cane finds it. >> another cheap and easy way to reasonably achieve some additional disabled access compliance for small businesses. it's not that you have to pull out the sprinkler system and redo it for half a million dollars. paul? . >> there was a move a while ago to lower that 27 inches down to 8 inches, but that was on a federal level.
but it never did go through. it would provide better access for everybody as well. >> here in the mission is a chicken restaurant. a yellow chicken or something. and they have the grill and they have a sign hanging down from their awning just at head height, just so it's not just for a blind person to walk into this; anybody can walk into this sign. they want more signs, everybody wants more signs in san francisco. but this provides -- this is in fact a hazard. it's a behavioral issue. just recognize it when you place stuff like this, you are impeding access not just for persons with disabilities but for everyone. along the public right of way, continuing, there is the issue of openings in the ground. so the building code says this. where you are doing new construction the gap has to be small enough so that a high
heel, a bicycle wheel, a wheelchair wheel, something else, isn't going to get caught and trapped in these little gaps in the drain. see this little drainage piece across the bottom here? anybody know what the maximum is? . >> a half inch. >> these are almost an inch. so this is, again, a simple and readily achievable way to increase access. just be aware, they can replace it, they can put something on top of it, they can put another screen on top. >> the orientation on that is a problem too. you would really want those openings to be going in the other direction so you can wheel past them without being caught. >> because what happens in a situation like this is that the front wheel, the castors on a wheelchair, can actually drop down in there and depending upon what size castors you've got it could throw the whole chair forward and down about 3 or 4 inches. also strollers, anything with smaller front wheels could get
easily stuck in there. so just imagine a kid on a skateboard or something going down there at a relatively high speed, hitting that thing and coming to a dead stop. >> the ada requires that a business or a commercial operator not wait until somebody files a complaint to fix a problem like this. the ada requires that business owners take action where things are readily achievable to make their businesses more accessible. so if this were a commercial business -- it turns out it's a residential apartment complex -- if this were a commercial business, the business owner could reasonably be held to the standard that this is a problem, it's really cheap and easy to fix, the business owner should fix it, not wait until somebody trips or falls or gets their wheel caught in it, fix it. it is readily achievable. all it takes is the headset of walking around okay what can i relatively quickly and easily and cheaply do.
also along our sidewalks we see construction every day. the department of public works in san francisco has issued a director's order that i think is terrific that explains that you must have scaffolding with these red warning panels at each end. you have to have -- you know, at the bottom of the scaffolding they have those little things you twist that raise and lower the scaffolding stanchion and they have arms that stick out. those arms have to be along the path of travel so you don't trip on them. there are height requirements which in this case you can see somebody has hung a cone down from the top which is now impeding the height requirement. very odd. but we look very closely at this. there are many cases, however, where construction work -- here is a pg&e job -- where it's not fixed construction, they just put their cones and their signs wherever they want, more or less.
>> the risk with that, too, is when the sidewalk is blocked it's going to be driving people out into the street where they are likely to get hit by cars. even a temporary construction site like this is supposed to be maintaining an accessible path of travel, even if it means taking a curb lane, taking a parking lane, out of operation so you can safely walk down the street. >> that path of travel is a minimum 4 foot wide path of travel. it's in the building code. it's also in some of the other regs. i told the guy, move your cones. there's no reason to block the whole site, just move it over. he grumbled and complained. as carla would say, when you are blocking the sidewalk, you need some alternate path of travel. here they are putting in a new sidewalk, a wonderful thing to do. unfortunately there is no alternate means of getting around so people have to walk out in the street around the concrete mixing truck to get
around. i mentioned earlier about the grade changes. the slopes of san francisco streets are a real issue throughout our disabled access world. this slide is meant to illustrate that typically somewhere along the front of a building, there is a point where the floor of the interior of the building meets the grade outside. at some point that's likely to happen. and in this case, it meets it right where the door is and they did a good job of locating the grade where it meets the floor. it's a little bit messy but they are doing a reasonable job of trying to comply. level landings: the building code says it should be level so you can come to a stop when you
get in the door. that can often be a problem in san francisco where the sidewalk is existing and it's hard to have fully level landings. this is moderately compliant with those requirements, looks pretty good, and this is actually a fairly good installation. look at the door hardware, that's that loop hardware. great hardware for a door. hardware is cheap. look, here is a non-complying lever hardware i will talk about. hardware is relatively inexpensive. we just bought this lever hardware, it's a whole lot better than a round doorknob for a lot of people. doesn't matter if you are blind or me. my mother, who is 84, cannot grab a doorknob. the code says you should not be
providing hardware that needs to be tightly grasped, turned or pinched. so this is good. lever hardware is good because you can hit it and move it and pull it or push it. this kind we see here, this loop hardware, is extremely good for that. the reason this is not compliant, anybody know? it's in the state fire code. it's not in the building code. it says the levers have to return to close to the face of the door so that you don't, as you are walking out, you don't get caught on the doorknobs by the lever sticking out. this was $29.95.ñr is this considered readily achievable in a building? i would say yes, of course. 30 bucks, change your doorknob to a lever hardware, one that's actually complying with the fire code, that's readily achievable. and if you don't do it, it's a problem. the ada says you should be
making these readily achievable barriers disappear. here is something we see all over san francisco. power door operators. so this business has a slight gentle slope up to the door and they could not put a level landing in in front of that door. and on the inside of the door, if you can see this, there is a ramp on the inside. can you see that on this slide? the ramp begins right at the door and goes up. the way that they have achieved compliance in san francisco is to use an administrative bulletin that we allow people to use power door operators. you push that little square button, the door opens and there is no longer a door in the path of travel and you can go right up the ramp. how does that generally work out, paul? . >> they work great. what happens with slopes and doors is that gravity takes over and the chair slopes backwards or slides backwards from the door. so you are trying to hold the chair and open a door while the
chair slides backwards. in berkley, we actually have high and low. we put one down around a foot plate which where somebody using a wheelchair who doesn't have any kind of arm function or can't reach that high, they can hit it with a foot plate. we are finding that more people prefer to kick them than use foot plates on them. people that play soccer, especially during world cup they were very popular things to kick. delivery people use them a lot of time to kick. it's a lot easier than using the buttons in the elevator. same idea as this, just a larger button you can hit to open the door. >> they are very well received in san francisco. people actually -- we consider this to be equivalent to full access. this is not like an alternate, you need special approval, this actually provides us with what we think is almost the same as full access. >> they are also really useful if you have
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