The redesign, planned and executed in early December, came a month after the newspaper examined more than 20 retail locations in Richmond and Columbia counties, and found five had handicapped parking spaces that were either improperly marked, had slopes too steep for vehicular wheelchair lifts or no access aisles at all, each a violation of federal code.
When Toys R Us was made aware of the problem in early November, spokeswoman Linda DeNotaris said company officials investigated the issue, but found that the store’s parking lot was built to code at the time of construction in the late 1980s. Tax records shows the toy store was built in 1985.
“Since no major changes have been made to the building and its parking lot since its construction, it was grandfathered in under a previous building code,” DeNotaris said in an e-mailed statement.
The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law in 1990 and later revised in 2010 to include requirements for more van-accessible spaces, flatter access aisles and clearly marked “paths of travel” from handicapped parking spots to store entrances.
The amendment contained a “safe harbor” clause, stating that retailers would not be required to bring locations into compliance until regular alterations were planned.
DeNotaris said a redesign for handicapped parking access asiles was approved in late November and that work on parking lot reconfiguration began a short time later.
“We abide by ADA guidelines and are committed to ensuring our customers have a positive experience when visiting our stores,” she said.