ADA Compliant Parking Lots or Accessible Parking
Accessible parking spots are the key to mobility for individuals with disabilities who visit all of life’s essential businesses. From school to grocery shopping to entertainment, accessible parking means that everyone is welcome to enjoy living. But when it comes to accessible parking lots, it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation.
In fact, accessible parking lots often have parking that is designated for different types of vehicles. Moreover, the Americans with Disabilities Act outlines certain standards for public parking lots.
Two Types of Accessible Parking Spaces
Accessible parking provides parking spaces that cater to cars and vans with side entry. Standard vehicles work well with accessible parking spaces that place individuals with disabilities nearest to an accessible building entrance. In most situations, these spots are designated with the recognizable blue and white icon, and they offer a 60-inch aisle that is wide enough for a person in a wheelchair to enter or exit the vehicle.
Meanwhile, an accessible parking spot for a van with side entry includes a 96-inch access aisle on the passenger side of the vehicle. This provides plenty of room for a ramp to deploy. Some parking spots include plenty of space on either side of a vehicle so that passengers have the option of two-side entry.
While the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990, it received updated regulations in 2010. These updates required businesses and public entities to meet new accessibility standards with their buildings and facilities, including parking lots.
Existing Facilities with Parking Lots
While new construction projects must meet ADA standards from the outset, existing facilities are held to a different standard – removing barriers if it’s “readily achievable.” This means existing facilities should take steps to create an accessible parking spot, especially if it’s easy to accomplish and doesn’t require too much extra expense. In most cases, adding a designated accessible parking spot is a top priority and easily accomplished.
Number of Accessible Parking Spaces
The number of accessible parking spaces in a parking lot varies depending on the total size of a parking lot. To be ADA compliant, a parking lot must have one accessible parking spot for every 50 spaces. Moreover, one of every six (or a fraction of six) accessible parking spots must be van-accessible.
Meanwhile, certain facilities require more accessible parking, such as medical facilities.
Medical Facilities & Accessible Parking
Hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, and emergency care locations require more accessible parking than most public service operations. In fact, hospital outpatient facilities require 10% of their parking to be accessible while rehabilitation facilities with an emphasis on mobility therapy need to have 20% of their parking lot to be accessible.
Parking Lots Excluded from Accessibility Requirements
For areas that provide parking exclusively for buses, trucks, law enforcement vehicles, or delivery vehicles, the ADA does not require accessible parking spaces. Vehicular impounds are also excluded from accessibility parking requirements. However, if the lots are accessed by the public, then an accessible passenger loading zone should be available.
Short Accessible Route from Accessible Parking Spots
A parking facility that serves multiple buildings, businesses, or accessible entrances must provide multiple accessible parking spots that offer the shortest accessible route to accessible entrances. While accessible spots can be grouped together, it’s important to consider how to best serve those with disabilities to ensure ease of movement from the parking lot to the desired store. This is true for stadiums, convention centers, hospitals, universities, and any large institution with plenty of parking.
Accessible Parking Spot Design
According to ADA standards for parking spot accessibility, parking spaces should be eight feet wide. Van-accessible spaces need to be eleven feet wide, and all access aisles ought to be five feet wide. These access aisles provide room for wheelchair lifts and other mobility equipment. Another option is for a van-accessible space to be eight feet wide with a corresponding aisle that is also eight feet wide.
Access Aisle Requirements
- 5-8 feet wide
- Painted hatch marks
- Smooth, stable, level surface
Accessible Parking Spot Signs
- International Symbol of Accessibility
- Mounted at least 5 feet above the ground
Exceptions: small parking lots of fewer than four spaces must have accessible spaces but don’t need any signs, and spaces assigned to specific residential units are not required to have accessible space signs.
ADA compliant parking lots must be kept in good condition and cleared of snow, ice, or fallen leaves. Parking lots with cracks or incongruities can be extra hazardous to individuals with mobility devices. Also, states and local governments have their own requirements for accessible parking lots, including criteria on accessible parking permits, enforcement, and more.
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