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Maintaining Accessibility

Now that your clientele have come to know that you provide an accessible facility make certain that the accommodations you provide are maintained and functioning. Routine checks and periodic maintenance plans will help prevent those embarrassing moments for both you and the customer when an accommodation is in a dysfunctional state or otherwise unavailable.

Accessible Parking
In order for an accessible parking space to be usable, all elements of the space must be free of obstructions: the vehicle space, the access aisle, the curb ramp, and the route that connects the parking to the accessible entrance of the building. Lack of maintenance of any one of those elements can make the whole space inaccessible. For example, for a wheelchair user to exit her car, she must place her wheelchair in the access aisle, transfer from the car seat to her wheelchair, and then roll backward in the access aisle to provide clearance to close the car door. If another car parks in the aisle or if a plow loads the aisle with snow, the wheelchair user does not have sufficient room to get out of her car. That parking space the owner just paid to have correctly re-striped is now useless to her.

Accessible Route Into and Through the Business
While accessible routes through a store are originally well-planned, promotional, seasonal, and other special displays that surround entrances and spill into aisles may substantially reduce their accessibility. Customers with disabilities will not be able to shop in a store if the route through an entry plaza is too narrow because of a display of snow blowers, if the maneuvering clearance alongside the entrance door is blocked by a sale book rack, or if a route contains scattered trip hazards from impulse items displayed on cloth-covered tables or in baskets on the floor.

Restrooms, Fitting Rooms, and Elevators
Equally important to the customer experience is the ability to comfortably access the various elements offered within a given establishment. What’s more, it’s essential that facility managers understand that product selection is only the starting point as installation must be done with height and placement in mind, and maintenance of the various fixtures and/or features are just as crucial to accessibility as product selection and installation. Maintenance of accessible restrooms, fitting rooms, and customer service areas, as well as any lifts and elevators is essential for all customers to fully enjoy the experience your business offers.

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