• Erika Springer-McCaffrey

Are you ready for Raised Circulation Paths?

Wondering what that even means? This article lists the new requirements for circulation paths, when a raised circulation path is required, and the exceptions provided.


The 2019 intervening code cycle update which took effect on July 1, 2021 has two references to raised circulation paths that have dramatic implications for site design in California moving forward. If you are an architect or civil engineer working in the Golden State, this information is critical for your future projects. While the details provided in the code update are limited, the implications are big and understanding the new circulation path requirements will save you time and angst while dealing with building officials moving forward.


The first place we see circulation paths mentioned in the code update is the definitions section.

CIRCULATION PATH. [DSA-AC] An exterior or interior way of passage

provided for pedestrian travel, including but not limited to, walks, sidewalks,

hallways, courtyards, elevators, platform lifts, ramps, stairways and landings.


We then see circulation path again in the Scoping section.


11B-250 Circulation paths

11B-250.1 General. Circulation paths contiguous to vehicular traffic shall be physically separated from vehicular traffic. Vehicular traffic includes travel through parking facilities, into and out of parking spaces, into and out of electric vehicle charging spaces, and along roadways, driveways and drive aisles. Physical separation shall be provided with circulation paths raised 4 inches (102 mm) minimum above the area where vehicular traffic occurs.

Exceptions:

⦁ Curb ramps and blended transitions with detectable warnings complying with Section 11B-247 may be used to connect raised circulation paths and pedestrian crossings within areas of vehicular traffic. Blended transitions and cut-through medians with detectable warnings complying with Section 11B-247 may be used to connect circulation paths and pedestrian crossings at similar elevations within areas of vehicular traffic.

⦁ At locations where sidewalks and walks in the public right-of-way cross driveways without yield or stop traffic control, compliance with this section shall not be required.

⦁ At locations where circulation paths cross driveways or drive aisles, circulation paths shall not be required to comply with this section and detectable warnings shall not be permitted. Beyond the crossing where continuation of the circulation path within a parking facility leads immediately to and does not continue beyond only parking spaces complying with Section 11B-502, passenger drop-off and loading zones complying with Section 11B-503 and electric vehicle charging stations complying with Section 11B-812, the circulation path shall not be required to be raised.

⦁ In alterations to existing parking facilities, including alterations required by Section 11B-202.4, physical separation may be provided with detectable warnings complying with Sections 11B-247 and 11B-705.1 in lieu of raised circulation paths.

⦁ Access aisles serving any electric vehicle charging station vehicle spaces complying with Section 11B-812, parking spaces complying with Section 11B-502, or passenger drop-off and loading zones complying with Section 11B-503 shall not be required to comply with

this section.

⦁ At each electric vehicle charging station complying with Section 11B-812 where the charger and its controls are oriented toward the vehicle space it serves and the charger’s clear floor spaces for operable parts and point-of-sale devices are at the same elevation as

the vehicle space, the accessible route complying with Section 11B-812.5.2 shall not be required to comply with this section.


With that code information, how will this impact your site design? We will be hosting a webinar on November 4th at 10am to dive deeper into raised circulation paths and answer your questions. The webinar will present sample site plans and describe how raised circulation path (all defined pedestrian circulation paths, not just the accessible route) are required to be incorporated into the design and different interpretations that can be derived. Please visit us at https://www.cadisabilityaccess.com/webinar-registration to register.


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