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  • Sidewalk slopes too steep

    They guy that is doing my landscape has a good eye and does good work. But on the last project the sidewalks were a little too steep between three sets of stone stairs, as far as comfort and safety. Especially considering it would be common to have people walk on it after tossing back a couple. I don’t really have anyone else that can do the type of hardscape he is doing so I really just need to double check what he is doing before he does it.

    So I was wondering if anyone has a rule of thumb for what the steepest sidewalk would be that is safe and comfortable in a residential setting. Not from an ADA standpoint but from a practical standpoint.

  • #2
    Re: Sidewalk slopes too steep

    I've always tried to keep side walks as level as possible. Maybe 3/8" per foot and add steps when needed. But all of the work I did was new home construction so I could grade the property and set the house elevation wherever I needed. I think I would still do the same on a remodel though. You don't want your sidewalks feeling like a handicap ramp.
    Darrel Hunter

    "You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do." - Henry Ford

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    • #3
      Re: Sidewalk slopes too steep

      Originally posted by johnny watt View Post
      So I was wondering if anyone has a rule of thumb for what the steepest sidewalk would be that is safe and comfortable in a residential setting. Not from an ADA standpoint but from a practical standpoint.
      You could seek to apply and adapt Bergmann's rule to the problem. It does get cold up there doesn't it? How much more than 5% do you want to go? Any code like thingies that may govern whether it's a walk or ramp? Seems that would be the practical starting point, after that it's site conditions/limitations and budget.
      “I find the curiosity of our men with respect to this animal is pretty much satisfied.”
      ~ Meriwether Lewis

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      • #4
        Re: Sidewalk slopes too steep

        The idea here is to walk out of the back/front of the first floor and have a couple sitting/patio areas on the way down to the water/shore/dock. Maybe I am wrong but I think every riser you can eliminate and build into the sidewalk slopes helps overall.

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        • #5
          Re: Sidewalk slopes too steep

          It's kind of a owners preference I think. What do the neighbors have? Do they have the same senario? Could you access their walks to feel out what they have? Have the client walk something close to what you propose so they have a better feel for their options
          Darrel Hunter

          "You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do." - Henry Ford

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          • #6
            Re: Sidewalk slopes too steep

            Johnny:

            I assume you are referring to a complex without any public accommodations, but you reference to a water/shore/dock bothers me:
            Does the ADA cover private apartments and homes?

            The ADA does not cover strictly residential private apartments and homes. If, however, a place of public accommodation, such as a doctor’s office or day care center, is located in a private residence, those portions of the residence used for that purpose are subject to the ADA’s requirements. Similarly, the leasing office of an apartment building or apartment complex, as well as a model apartment or home used for sales purposes, is a place of public accommodation subject to the ADA’s requirements.¹
            If the water/shore/dock is open to public you better discretely block/ban public usage without it being obvious that you are doing so to avoid ADA.


            ¹ http://ago.mo.gov/faqs/Americans-wit...A.htm#header1e
            You will ask what goal the U.S. is pursuing? .... their external debt is huge, and ruining other countries is their customary method. Even ownership of the global 'printing press' is no longer helping. Nor is full control over NATO, None of that if enough for the 21st century colonizers. They don't just need to preserve the dollar as the only global currency but also to get their hands on the economic wealth of other large powers and regions. - Sergei Naryshkin

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            • #7
              Re: Sidewalk slopes too steep

              This is a private single family home.
              Typically the owner owns up to the water's edge, but occasionally they own under the water to a specific point. I am confident the ADA has no valid application here.

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              • #8
                Re: Sidewalk slopes too steep

                Steps are a nuisance, so is slipping on ice [slime/moss/leaves] that on a shallower slope would not have been an issue. Me I'd rather err on having an extra couple steps than something a bit over sloped, esp since it sounds like there are some already in place/needed. Otherwise surface depending, 15% assuming it's not going to dump one over the edge of the abyss, pounding home the last coffin nail, etc. and the users are not too old/infirm.
                “I find the curiosity of our men with respect to this animal is pretty much satisfied.”
                ~ Meriwether Lewis

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                • #9
                  Re: Sidewalk slopes too steep

                  There are some very steep sidewalks in Seattle and San Francisco... you might not want to traverse them if you're inebriated... http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/steepest.htm
                  Bailer Hill Construction, Inc. - Friday Harbor, WA
                  Website - Facebook

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                  • #10
                    Re: Sidewalk slopes too steep

                    San Fransisco is steep.

                    British steep.. is Porlock Hill In Devon 1:4 IE 25 percent. Engage your lowest gear or you WILL warp your brake discs and burn the pads out

                    Porlock Hill leads to Clovelly where the main street is "break every bone in your body STEEP" Foot traffic only.

                    Here is a photo http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cl...arp.750pix.jpg
                    Last edited by Tom Bainbridge; 04-21-2012, 04:05 PM.
                    Limey Carpenter

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                    • #11
                      Re: Sidewalk slopes too steep

                      Note from my most recent set of commercial drawings:

                      "A1.07 - NEW SIDEWALK: NEW 4" THICK CONCRETE SIDEWALK WITH #3'S AT 18" O.C. EACH WAY. SLOPE SIDEWALK AWAY FROM BUILDING TO DRAIN AT 1/4" PER FOOT. BROOM SWEEP CONCRETE SURFACE."
                      Richie Poor

                      See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, value engineer your unit prices.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Sidewalk slopes too steep

                        One of my first memories was living in Halifax NS looking out the dining room window at winos slipping and sliding on the icy hill with a cop at the top of the hill and the paddy wagon at the bottom waiting for them to slide to the bottom. We didn''t need TV, nintendo and internet purn. We had steep icy sidewalks, drunks and street prostitutes right outside the window to keep up entertained.

                        If you have a grade at the back of your house you have to get from A to B somehow. If you as the builder or owner can get sued because the occupant can't keep the sidewalk free from ice or is too drunk or uncoordinated to navigate it then the lawyers have won and we may as well hang up our balls and stay home and knit.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Sidewalk slopes too steep

                          Dave K, here is an English pub crawl, to end all pub crawls

                          The pub crawl in question even has a name "The "Micklegate run" (in York) 10 pubs in less than 1/4 mile.

                          You start at the top of the hill at Micklegate Bar......... for Bar read medieval "city gate"

                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Micklegate_Bar.jpg

                          An English pint (at over 5% alcohol) in every bar? ....................... no wonder that on a friday and saturday night there were a rotating set of 3 paddy waggons

                          One in transit to the cells.............. and two for "collection"

                          Even if you drink English "session beer" (3.7 percent alcohol) 10 English pints in 4 hours is HARD GOING :(

                          EDIT I was young once. Not any more
                          Last edited by Tom Bainbridge; 04-22-2012, 11:11 AM.
                          Limey Carpenter

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                          • #14
                            Re: Sidewalk slopes too steep

                            Here's one for you JW

                            http://i.imgur.com/ArHEY.jpg
                            “I find the curiosity of our men with respect to this animal is pretty much satisfied.”
                            ~ Meriwether Lewis

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                            • #15
                              Re: Sidewalk slopes too steep

                              Originally posted by David Meiland View Post
                              There are some very steep sidewalks in Seattle and San Francisco... you might not want to traverse them if you're inebriated... http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/steepest.htm
                              3 years as a bike messenger in Seattle- I know all of those streets. I find it interesting that E. John street isn't mentioned- I think there are 5 blocks in the 21%+ range; that was my morning commute in to work. Although I could cruise over to Madison if I wanted a longer, but less steep, route.
                              http://www.lavrans.com

                              "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts; for support rather than illumination." -Andrew Lang

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