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Designated Aisle Seats. Section 4.1.3(19)(a) of the 1991 Standards requires one percent (1%) of fixed seats in assembly areas to be designated aisle seats with either no armrests or folding or retractable armrests on the aisle side of the seat. The 2010 Standards, at sections 221.4 and 802.4, base the number of required designated aisle seats on the total number of aisle seats, instead of on all of the seats in an assembly area as the 1991 Standards require. At least five percent (5%) of the aisle seats are required to be designated aisle seats and to be located closest to accessible routes. This option will almost always result in fewer aisle seats being designated aisle seats compared to the 1991 Standards. The Department is aware that sports facilities typically locate designated aisle seats on, or as near to, accessible routes as permitted by the configuration of the facility.

One commenter recommended that section 221.4, Designated Aisle Seats, be changed to require that aisle seats be on an accessible route, and be integrated and dispersed throughout an assembly area. Aisle seats, by their nature, typically are located within the general seating area, and integration occurs almost automatically. The issue of dispersing aisle seats or locating them on accessible routes is much more challenging. During the separate rulemaking on the 2004 ADAAG the Access Board specifically requested public comment on the question of whether aisle seats should be required to be located on accessible routes. After reviewing the comments submitted during the 2004 Access Board rulemaking, the Access Board concluded that this could not be done without making significant and costly changes in the design of most assembly areas. However, section 221.4 of the 2004 ADAAG required that designated aisle seats be the aisle seats closest to accessible routes. The Department proposed the same provision and concurs in the Access Board’s conclusion and declines to implement further changes.


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