Introduction: Accessible Parking
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act accessible parking spaces are required for each parking facility on a site, such as lots and garages. Requirements apply equally to public and employee or restricted parking.
Accessible parking spaces are required for each parking facility on a site, such as lots and garages. Requirements apply equally to public and employee or restricted parking. On sites with multiple parking facilities, the minimum number of accessible spaces must be calculated separately for each parking facility instead of on the combined total of parking spaces provided on the site. At least one of every 6 accessible spaces, or fraction of 6, in each parking facility must be sized to accommodate vans.
* At least 1 of every 6 accessible spaces or fraction of 6 must be vans-sized.
** For 501 to 1000 total spaces, 2% of total must be accessible
*** For 1001 spaces and over, 20 + 1 for each 100 or fraction thereof over 1000 must be accessible
Accessible spaces are required in parking facilities with valet parking because vehicles specially equipped for persons with disabilities may not be easily used by others. Further, valet parking may not be available at all hours a parking facility is open. An accessible passenger loading zone also is required at facilities with valet parking.
Alterations and Additions
Accessible spaces are required where parking facilities are altered or added. The term ‘alterations’ includes resurfacing of vehicular ways. Resurfacing or resealing and projects that add new parking spaces constitute alterations (or additions) and must include accessible spaces as required in the scoping table. Normal maintenance, such as pothole repair, surface patching, or repainting in place existing striping for a few spaces, is not considered an alteration except where it affects a facility’s usability.
Where parking serves multiple entrances to facility, accessible spaces must be dispersed among accessible entrances. (If the number of accessible entrances exceeds the number of accessible spaces, additional accessible spaces are not required). Accessible parking spaces must be located on the shortest accessible route to an accessible entrance, relative to other spaces in the same parking facility. A maximum travel distance is not specified in the Standards.
Accessible spaces required for one parking facility can be located in another if doing so results in substantially equal or better access in terms of travel distance to an accessible entrance, parking fee, or user conveniences such as protection from weather, better security and lighting. The minimum number must still be determined separately for each parking facility. Locating accessible spaces required for a parking structure in a surface lot often will not qualify for this exception because such a location typically offers less convenience, security, and protection from the elements.
Multiple Parking Facilities on a Site
Scoping and dispersion requirements ensure access to all parking facilities on a site, including large sites with many lots and garages, such as airports, shopping malls, and campuses. The term “parking facility” encompasses parking lots, as well as garages, decks, and other parking structures. The minimum number of accessible parking spaces must be determined separately for each parking facility.
Parking facilities are to be treated separately for scoping purposes if they are either:
- structurally different (e.g., surface lot versus parking garage or deck);
- dedicated to, and separately serve, different facilities on a site;
- segmented and separated by guard rails, fencing, or barriers, particularly where they serve different users; or
- Separated by streets or roadways (as opposed to drive aisles on a site).
Surface lots that are contiguous or that are segmented by landscaping or drive aisles (i.e., vehicular passageways located within parking areas), but not streets or roadways, typically can be treated as a single parking facility.
The Standards apply to parking garages, including those provided below grade. At sites that also include surface lots, a garage is treated as a separate parking facility for scoping purposes.
Accessible spaces, including van spaces, must be located so that they provide the same level of protection and security as other spaces in the garage. Locating accessible spaces required for a garage on the exterior is not usually acceptable.
Hospital Outpatient Facilities
The Standards require a higher level of accessible parking at hospital outpatient facilities. At least 10% of patient and visitor parking spaces that serve such facilities must comply. This applies to those units in hospitals that provide regular or continuing medical treatment without overnight stay. Other types of medical facilities not located in hospitals, including doctors’ offices and independent clinics, are not subject to this requirement but to the regular scoping table.
Rehabilitation and Outpatient Physical Therapy Facilities
At least 20% of patient and visitor parking spaces must be accessible at outpatient physical therapy facilities (including those not located at hospitals) and at rehabilitation facilities that specialize in treating conditions that affect mobility. Conditions affecting mobility include:
- those involving the use of mobility aids and devices (braces, canes, crutches, prosthetic devices, wheelchairs, or powered mobility aids);
- arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic conditions that severely limit one's ability to walk;
- respiratory diseases and other conditions which may require the use of portable oxygen; or
- cardiac and other conditions that impose substantial limitations on one’s mobility.
Rehabilitation facilities that provide, but that do not specialize in, services or treatment for persons with mobility impairments, such as general rehabilitative therapy centers, are not subject to the 20% requirement. In mixed-use facilities, the 20% may be applied only to the portion of spaces that are determined to serve the types of rehabilitation or outpatient therapy facilities covered by this provision.
Accessible Parking Spaces
Requirements for accessible parking spaces address the size and marking of regular and van spaces and access aisles, surfaces, vertical clearance at van spaces, identification, and connecting accessible routes.
Accessible routes must connect directly to access aisles. Curb ramps, where provided, cannot protrude into access aisles (which cannot slope more than 1:48 max.) to accommodate wheelchair transfers and vehicle ramps or lifts (Section 502.4). A landing at least 36” deep is required at the top of curb ramps; in alterations where space for this landing is unavailable, curb ramps must have side flares with a 1:12 max. slope. (Section 406.4)
Bollards, signs, columns, or other elements cannot be located in the access aisle or reduce the minimum clear width of accessible routes. Spaces and aisles must be designed so that parked vehicles do not obstruct the required clear width of adjacent possible routes (Section 502.7)
Where space for curb ramps is limited, including in alterations, parallel ramps can provide an alternative.
Vehicle Spaces (Section 502.2)
Spaces must be marked to define the 96" minimum width.
Access Aisle (Section 5022.3)
An access aisle at least 60" wide and at least as long as the parking space is required on either side of the parking space and must be marked to discourage parking in it. Two spaces can share one aisle. Access aisles cannot overlap vehicular ways.
Surfaces (Section 502.4)
Parking spaces and access aisles must meet requirements for floor and ground surfaces (Section 302) and cannot have changes in level other than slopes not exceeding 1:48.
Markings (Section 502.1, 502.2, 502.3)
Both the parking space and access aisle must be marked. The marking method and color is not specified in the Standards, but may be addressed by state or local codes or regulations. The width of spaces and aisles is measured to the centerline of markings (but it can include the full width of lines where there is no adjacent parking space or aisles).
Van Accessible Parking Spaces
At least one space for every 6 or fraction of 6 accessible spaces must be van accessible. Van spaces provide an additional 3 feet of width to accommodate vehicles equipped with ramps or lifts. This extra space can be added to either the parking space or to the access aisle. A wider access aisle saves space since two spaces can share one aisle, but wider spaces can help prevent misuse of the access aisle as a parking space.
Van Space: Wider Parking Space
Van Space: Wider Access Aisle
Accessible spaces must be identified by signs with the International Symbol of Accessibility (ISA) (§703.7.2.1). Signs identifying van spaces must include the term “van accessible.” This designation is informative and does not restrict use of such spaces to van users only. No other text or content is required by the Standards.
Signs must be at least 60” high measured to the bottom edge so that they are visible while vehicles are parked in a space. Signs can be on posts, or where feasible, on walls or suspended from ceilings (an 80” minimum headroom clearance is required at signs suspended above circulation paths (§307.4)). ISA designations on the parking surface, even if required by a state or local government, cannot substitute for above-ground signs that remain visible at all times.
State or local codes and regulations may address other sign characteristics, including size, color, and additional content, such as “reserved” or violation fines, but the ADA Standards do not.
The van accessible designation is informative, not restrictive, in identifying spaces suitable for vans since such spaces are not limited to vans only. It can be included on the main designation sign or provided on a separate sign.
If a total of 4 or fewer parking spaces (inaccessible and accessible) is provided on a site, the required accessible space does not have to be identified by a sign (i.e., reserved exclusively for use of people with disabilities) (§216.5, Ex. 1). However, all other requirements for spaces, including access aisles, still apply.
United States Access Board Parking Guide
Parking Guidelines for NY and NJ