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Why Accessibility in Business Premises Matters: A Boulder Perspective

Why Accessibility in Business Premises Matters - AboutBoulder.com

At some point, all of us will be thankful that businesses take accessibility seriously – and for the organizations charged with ensuring anyone can easily get into and around their premises, it’s both a legal requirement and a community-minded choice.

With that in mind, here’s a closer look at the reasons that making buildings accessible is a must-do for any Boulder-based enterprise, and how this can be achieved consistently.

What the Law Says

At the federal level, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) sets the baseline, requiring all public spaces to be accessible to people with disabilities. At a state and local level, the terms of ADA are upheld and restated – with the likes of the Colorado Department of Transportation reaffirming the importance of this commitment, and also touching on the Public Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines.

This is significant for business owners because 5.8% of under-65s in Boulder have some form of disability – with this figure rising into double digits for the over-65s. So there’s a good reason for adhering with legal requirements for building design if you want to avoid regulatory retaliations, and also avoid potential customers being unable to make purchases.

Here are the essentials of ADA’s accessibility requirements for business premises:

Parking and Exterior Access

Adequate handicapped parking spaces, along with proper curb cuts and ramps where needed. These must by a minimum of 96 inches in width, in addition to access aisles on either side of the space of an additional 60 inches.


Doors must be wide enough for wheelchair access, typically a minimum of 32 inches when open but ideally 36 inches. Automatic doors and accessible handles are recommended – which is something that a commercial door operator system can deliver.

Path of Travel

Hallways and aisles need to be wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs, usually at least 36 inches across.


Restrooms must include at least one accessible stall, equipped with grab bars and an appropriate sink height of 34 inches maximum. The sink must additionally have 29 inches of height beneath it to accommodate the knees of wheelchair users.

Service Counters and Tables

Lowered sections of counters and reachable seating arrangements for those in wheelchairs – typically between 28 inches and 34 inches. This also applies to work desks for businesses with disabled employees.

Why Accessibility in Business Premises Matters: A Boulder Perspective - AboutBoulder

The Community Impact Angle

Transforming business premises in Boulder to be accessible is a means of making companies more inclusive, which has a number of knock-on advantages of note. Here are the main talking points:

  • As mentioned earlier, businesses in Boulder that are accessible attract a broader customer base, including elderly individuals and those with disabilities, who might otherwise be unable to patronize them.
  • When businesses make an effort to be inclusive, they earn not just compliance but also goodwill and loyalty from the community.
  • More customers mean more sales. Accessible businesses effectively tap into the market segment comprising people with disabilities – of which there are over 42 million nationally.


So doing your bit for the community is both ethically sound as a strategy, as well as being potentially profitable. The amount of disposable income that people with disabilities have is almost $29,000, which is a hefty chunk of change by any measure, and something companies need to keep in mind.

It’s also worth noting that almost everyone knows someone with a disability – so by helping out those with unique needs, word of mouth recommendations will follow.

Final Thoughts

It doesn’t take much to improve accessibility at a business, so whatever motivates you, make sure your Boulder-based enterprise is properly set up to welcome all who might visit its premises.

John Mali Director of Media Relations

Director of Media Relations at AboutBoulder.com


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