Architectural accessibility is the type most carefully spelled out and monitored through the ADA. There are specific guidelines for everything from the parking lot to the flooring and height of the toilets. These guidelines are meant to ensure that a person with a physical disability will be able to enter the facility, maneuver within all parts of the facility, and take advantage of the services offered by the facility. Lists of specific guidelines can be found in many sources. Some of the most obvious modifications are noted below:
Parking: There must be at least one accessible space for every 25 spaces. Each accessible space must be 96 inches wide and have at least 69 inches of space on each side. The extra space is necessary for specially modified vehicles and to allow exit and entrance to the vehicle by a person in a wheelchair.
Doors: Doorways must be at least 32 inches wide and be automatic or require less than 8.5 pounds of force to open. Once again, this ensures ease of use by a person in a wheelchair, but is also important for those individuals with limited strength or range of motion in their arms.
Signage: Signs should be written clearly and doors leading to hazardous areas should be marked with tactile writing on the knob or pull. In this way, people with visual impairments can be aware of potential dangers.
These are just a few examples of possible modifications that ensure a facility is accessible by people with disabilities. However, an individual with a disability should be able to do more than just get inside and wheel around. He or she should feel like a valued customer and able to use the facility to the same extent as everyone else, although perhaps in different ways. Rather than just accessible, it is preferable that facilities be "equally accessible." For instance, the accessible entrance should be the main entrance, and not a door to a delivery area. A lift will get a person using a wheelchair up to the next level, but wheelchair users will be the only people to use it. If a ramp is installed instead, everyone can use it. If club owners or managers are trying to design a facility that will attract members with disabilities, they should try to ask themselves not only CAN people with disabilities use the facility - but also, will they WANT to use it? Can it be used independently or will it require assistance? Is it easy or cumbersome? Is it dignified or humiliating?