Wheelchair Accessible Pathway

Kafka Granite’s Guide to Wheelchair-Accessible Pathway Materials

Every year we help hundreds of clients create stunning outdoor spaces. From ballparks to city parks, we want everyone to be able to enjoy the areas that we assist in creating, that’s why offering commercial wheelchair accessible materials is so important to us.

Providing accessible pathways is a federally mandated priority for all designers and architects. In 2010, the Department of Justice published revised regulations for Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. These regulations set minimum requirements for newly designed and constructed State and local government facilities, public accommodations and commercial facilities.

Firmness, Stability, and Slip Resistance In Wheelchair Accessible Walkways

Under the 2010 ADA regulations, accessible outdoor flooring and ground surfaces must be stable, firm, and slip-resistant. The ADA regulations define a stable surface as something that resists movement, while a firm surface is something that resists deformation by applied force, and an accessible surface is something that remains unchanged by external forces, objects or materials.

Exceptions to the ADA Regulations:

  • Animal Containment Areas
  • Areas for Sports Activities
    • This does not imply that sports arenas and sport viewing areas do not need to meet the ADA standards, this exception only refers to the physical area when the sport shall be played. An example would be a football stadium. The stadium itself must have accessible entrances and accommodations, but the actual field does not need to exhibit these traits.

Wheelchair Accessible Pathway Specifications

To be classified as an accessible route, pathways must meet or contain one or more of the following requirements and attributes:

  • A running slope no steeper than 1:20
    • The cross slope of walking surfaces can not be steeper than 1:48.
    • Changes in level with a maximum of ¼ inch are permitted to be vertical.
    • Changes in level between ¼ inch and ½ inch need to be beveled with a slope not steeper than 1:20.
    • Changes in level greater than ½ inch must be ramped.
  • Doorways that provide a clear width of 32 inches
  • Curb ramps excluding flared sides
  • Elevators with accessible features
  • Platform lifts

The width of your pathway must be at least 36 inches; you are allowed to narrow your walkways to 32 inches wide for a length of 24 inches every 48 inches. An example would be if you wished to have planters that protrude onto your pathway, those planters can only stick out 4 inches onto the pathway and they must be spaced 48 inches apart.

Two additional features your pathways must contain are passing space and turning space. An accessible route with a width less than 60 inches must provide passing spaces at intervals of 200 feet. Additionally, if your pathway contains any 180º turns, your turning space must be either 48 inches, or 60 inches, depending on the width of the pathway.

pathway diagram

Here are some questions that you should ask yourself after you have finished designing your structure’s new accessible pathways.

  1. Is there a route available that does not include stairs?
  2. Is that route firm and slip resistant?
  3. Are your pathways at least 36 inches wide?
  4. Can all objects that protrude onto the pathway be detected from the vantage point of someone in a wheelchair or by someone with a visual impairment?
  5. If your walkway is lined by curbs or raised edging does that edging drop off at entrances and exits on the path?
  6. If ramps are present is their slope less than 1:20?
  7. Do ramps that are longer than 6 feet have railings on both sides?
  8. Are any railings present sturdy and between 34-68 inches high?
  9. Are all public spaces on an accessible route?
  10. Is there a 5-foot circle or a T-shaped space for a person using a wheelchair to reverse direction?
  11. Are all signs mounted with their centerline 60 inches from the floor?
  12. If there are restrooms available on the property is at least one restroom fully accessible?

Kafka Granite Commercial Wheelchair Accessibility Materials

Common materials for wheelchair accessibility include asphalt and concrete. However, what happens when a natural look and feel is desired but wheelchair accessibility is required? Kafka Granite has a solution with their stabilized pathway mix.

Decomposed Granite as an Asphalt Alternative

Botticino Marble Stabilized Pathway - Midwest Palliative & Hospice - Glenview, IL

Botticino Marble Stabilized Pathway – Midwest Palliative & Hospice – Glenview, IL

Stabilized decomposed granite pathways are an excellent alternative to asphalt and concrete pathways. Not only does decomposed granite traditionally cost less than asphalt and concrete over the span of its lifetime due to its limited maintenance, but our Stabilized Pathway Mix made with Organic-Lock has been tested for ADA accessibility and has met the maneuverability performance requirements of ASTM F 1951-09b.

Kafka Granite is an industry leader in natural pathway products. Our stabilized pathway mix is comprised of decomposed granite or crushed stone screenings crushed to spec and blended with a stabilizing binder called Organic-Lock. This combination binds and locks the pathway mix to provide a durable, permeable, and natural aggregate surface. Kafka Granite’s Stabilized Pathway Mix resists the erosive effects of weather and traffic better than traditional gravels or limestone screenings, and when installed correctly, can qualify as an ADA accessible pathway surface. With a natural look that is much less obtrusive than concrete or asphalt, our stabilized pathway mix blends in well in natural settings, making it an attractive option for use in botanical gardens, green roofs, nature paths, greenways, golf course cart paths, trails, or any environment where a more organic feel is desired.

Kafka Granite offers Stabilized Pathway Mix in over 50 colors. The pathways are easy to install, require little maintenance and offer various edging options such as pavers, concrete, sod, natural grasses, or wood chips.

Stabilized Pathway Installation Instructions

  1. Prepare the subgrade and spread the base course material to the approved depth and compact with a 1-3 ton roller. Allow for 20-25% compaction. A crushed, angular road base such as a ¾” minus is an optimal base material. For pedestrian applications, base should be 4-6 inches compacted; for vehicular applications, base should be 8-12 inches compacted. To assist in the bonding of materials, pre-soak the base course before placement of the stabilized pathway mix.
  2. Pre-hydrate the stabilized pathway mix at the job site — this activates the stabilizing binder. Turn the pathway mix until a moisture level of 10-12% has been reached. If you can easily make a ball out of the aggregate with your hands, there is too much moisture.
  3. The stabilized pathway mix must be spread and compacted. Screed if possible. For large installations, using a paving machine for this step is highly recommended to ensure the material is evenly spread at the specified depth.
  4. Compact the stabilized pathway mix using a 1-3 ton double drum or single static drum roller. Do not use a vibratory plate compactor or vibratory setting for this step. When no further visible roller marks can be seen on the surface, compaction of the pathway is complete.
  5. Ensure the pathway is level. The pathway should rest true to elevation and shouldn’t vary more than ¼” at any spot when tested with a straightedge. The surfaces should be crowned at a minimum of 2% and be flush with adjacent materials or edges. The pathway should also be sloped at least 1% to drain away from structures.
  6. After the pathway has been compacted and leveled, apply a light spray to the surface to give it a clean appearance. Once the water begins to run off the surface, stop spraying the pathway.
  7. Once the surface of the pathway has visually dried, light pedestrian traffic can take place on the new surface. However, the stabilized DG pathway should fully cure before vehicle traffic is allowed. Depending on the path’s moisture content, time of installation, climate and depth of installation, curing times vary.

Creating Accessible Pathways for All

Make your outdoor pathways accessible to all with Kafka Granite. Our experienced team of experts is here to help ensure that every visitor will be able to thoroughly enjoy your next outdoor pathway project. Our stabilized pathway mixes are perfect for both green spaces and commercial locations alike. Let us help you make your next pathway project accessible to all.

Custom Erin Hills Blend Wax Polymer Pathway - Erin Hills Golf Course - Hartford, WI - Photo courtesy of Paul Hundley

Erin Hills Golf Course: A Kafka Case Study

Just over two hours away from Kafka headquarters in nearby Hartford, Wisconsin, sits a beautiful picturesque golf course. Carved from glacier movement thousands of years ago, Erin Hills is a golf venue that cannot be rivaled by many. The 652-acre course still maintains some of the streams that were carved by the last glacier to cover Wisconsin, and it offers visitors exquisite vistas composed of rolling hills and swaying grasses.

Erin Hills is so breathtaking that it has been chosen to play host to the 2017 U.S. Open. The 2017 U.S. Open will host 156 players from all over the world. With so many players coming to the course to play along it’s stunning route, Erin Hills decided to replace their existing walk paths with new highly durable paths that could withstand the harsh Wisconsin winters and the course’s hilly terrain.

Kafka Granite was called in to replace Erin Hills’s highly erosive existing pathway system and replace it with a custom blended aggregate color of both stabilized and wax polymers pathways. With a long history of working with various aggregate binders for these purposes, we at Kafka Granite felt confident that we could deliver a pathway system that would complement the natural beauty of Erin Hills and reduce the maintenance for their grounds crew.

Custom Erin Hills Blend Wax Polymer Pathway - Erin Hills Golf Course - Hartford, WI - Photo courtesy of Paul Hundley

Photo courtesy of Paul Hundley

WHEN: Fall of 2012 to Spring of 2017

WHERE: Erin Hills Golf Course, 652 acres of property in Hartford, Wisconsin.

WHY: Erin Hills desired natural looking cart and walking paths that blended in with the course, but there were issues with erosion due to the hilly terrain. Their grounds crew was spending far too much time maintaining their walking paths when their valuable time could have been spent maintaining the course. Refusing to settle for obtrusive hardscapes such as asphalt or concrete, they opted for a natural aggregate path blended with wax polymer thanks to Kafka Granite. On flatter terrain, they chose to combine their aggregate with a stabilizing binder. With the first ever U.S. Open to come to Wisconsin to be hosted at their course in 2017, pressure was on to update all of the walking paths with Kafka Granite materials before the June 2017 event.

Custom Erin Hills Blend Wax Polymer Pathway - Erin Hills Golf Course - Hartford, WI - Photo courtesy of Paul Hundley

Photo courtesy of Paul Hundley

WHO: Our product is designed to be simple to install and maintain, so for this project the Erin Hills ground crew was able to install their new pathway system themselves.

WHAT: Erin Hills decided to use both stabilized and wax polymers pathways. Our stabilized pathway mix consists of decomposed granite or crushed stone screenings blended with a stabilizing binder. This mixture binds and locks the pathway mix to create a durable, permeable natural aggregate surface. Our stabilized decomposed granite surfaces are crafted to better withstand forces that would otherwise lead to erosion, which was the issue with the previous pathway mix that Erin Hills had been using.

Our wax polymer pathway mix combines natural crushed stone screenings or decomposed granite carefully pre-blended with an engineered polymeric wax in an entirely waterless process to create a unique paving alternative. This wax coated aggregate mix creates a dustless, sealed, non-permeable, but yet natural-looking surface that is perfect for use on a golf course as it can stand up to extensive wear and tear and the hilliest of terrain.

Erin Hills was looking for a natural solution that would blend in perfectly with their gorgeous scenery. At Kafka Granite, we offer over 50 different colors of pathway solutions. It was no problem to create a specialized blend for the Erin Hills golf course walking paths that was a perfect color match for what they had envisioned. 

Custom Erin Hills Blend Wax Polymer Pathway - Erin Hills Golf Course - Hartford, WI - Photo courtesy of Paul Hundley

Photo courtesy of Paul Hundley

HOW: One hurdle that we had to overcome while working on the Erin Hills project was finding the correct binder for the pathway mixes. We choose our binders based on local climate, pathway slope and individual aggregate type. With a property as large as Erin Hills, our dedicated team members worked hard to derive the proper binders needed. During this process our team was able to devise and implement a brand new wax polymer binder that was cleaner and performed better than the planned original binder.

Custom Blend Wax Polymer Pathway - Erin Hills Golf Course - Hartford, WI

Joe Sell (North Shore Superintendent), Chris Zugel (Whistling Straits Superintendent), Glenn Kafka (Kafka Granite Owner), and Zach Reineking (Erin Hills Superintendent) during installation at Erin Hills

The wax polymer pathway mixes present much less of a challenge as our wax polymer pathway is pre-blended for easy installation and maintenance. No water is needed for the installation of this product. Crews chose not to compact the new pathways with a one to two ton roller. Since Erin Hills desired a more natural looking pathway system, it was decided to let foot traffic compact the new pathways naturally. Wax polymer pathways were a great alternative for the Erin Hills project because these pathways do not get muddy or dusty like more traditional walkway options. This will help keep all golfers and observers dry and clean during the U.S. Open and will make the pathways ideal for local golfers all season long. Additionally, the Erin Hills grounds crew will no longer be spending large amounts of time maintaining the pathways and will now be able to focus on the course itself. Our wax polymer pathways are easy to maintain and can be easily manipulated if subtle changes are needed. These new pathways won’t have a problem standing up to the harsh freeze/thaw cycles that the course is subjected to in Wisconsin due to their nonpermable composition.

The stabilized pathways used at Erin Hills were chosen for their affordability, permeability, and design. With 50 different color variations, Kafka Granite was able to duplicate the custom aggregate blend already used for the wax polymer pathways that allowed for a seamless transition into the stabilized pathways. The stabilized pathways were used in flatter areas of the course, as the use of Stabilized Pathway Mix is not recommended on slopes over 10%. Kafka Granite stabilized pathways are made to withstand heavy foot traffic, reduce mud, dust, and erosion, while still remaining permeable. Following installation recommendations, Erin Hills installed 3 inches of prehydrated stabilized pathway mixture over a DOT approved base course for proper stability and drainage.

Kafka Granite’s stabilized pathways are a more affordable option than Wax Polymer Pathways, which helped Erin Hills to conserve costs. Because of its affordability and versatility, Erin Hills utilized our unique stabilized pathway mix whenever the more durable wax polymer mix was unneeded. Through a combination of both wax polymer and stabilized pathways a truly remarkable pathway system was created.

Custom Erin Hills Blend Wax Polymer Pathway - Erin Hills Golf Course - Hartford, WI - Photo courtesy of Paul Hundley

Photo courtesy of Paul Hundley

Instead of going with a high-maintenance, easily eroded option, Kafka Granite helped Erin Hills find the perfect pathway mixture for their one-of-a-kind golf course. Thanks to the hard work performed by our team in conjunction with the groundskeepers from the Erin Hills golf course, these new walkways can be enjoyed by all for years to come. Zachary Reineking, Director of Course Maintenance for Erin Hills had this to say about their new pathways at the end of this project,  “Over the years Erin Hills has tried an array of products for our undulating walk paths. The wax polymer and stabilized crushed granite from Kafka Granite provides a superior combination of ease of installation, durability, limited maintenance, and great aesthetics.”

With over 60 colors of specialty crushed aggregates for manufacturing, architecture and landscaping available, we are able to create customs products that will perfectly reflect your design vision. Our knowledgeable sales representatives are eager to help you find the ideal Kafka Granite solution for your next project.