30"-32"-34"-36" wheelchair widths

I am trying to make sense of wheelchair width requirements.

I understood required width of floor space  for wheelchair is 30". Whereabout  solid vertical obstruction is in the way and handrail is normally absent, this increases to 34" to include handgrips on the wheels like drinking fountain alcove, restroom door, or front approach niche, etc, and 32" for short passage of less than 24" in pathway bottle neck.

I just don't understand why require 33" (or 36") width in assembly area, and 36" in hotel/motel room or 36" for retail aisles and elevator door ? Sure I can memorize these differences, yet it seems a little hair-splitting matter considering the code would better served being consistent.

Original Post

Good point. never thought about it. I think the reason is that standards are balanced between usability and effect on the general public. Wider is better but the effect for extra width for certain items can be too costly. For example, providing 36" clear aisles  at new retail facilities is not impactful -most are designed that wide anyway, whereas  the costs and inconvenience of requiring every door to be 36" clear would be significant

Just as 8' is standard for a stud and 4 x 8 typical for plywood, doors come in 36" standard widths, less thickness of stops, leading to 32" as a minimum clear to allow for maneuvering and differing stop thicknesses.

36" also better accommodates furniture moving.

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