Accessible Parking Requirements—Not as Clear Cut as You May Think, Part 2

Northeast ADA Center Staff April 26, 2020

aerial architecture and parking lot

This is the second of several posts throughout March that discuss accessible parking space design requirements, including those requirements that are unique to the Northeast ADA Center’s region.

We receive a lot of requests for technical assistance at the Northeast ADA Center, many that pertain to the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. One consistent “hot topic” is accessible parking. Given that, we are sharing a few posts in March that reflect the FAQ’s of accessible parking. 

It’s important to note that several states enhance the accessible parking space design requirements found in the 2010 ADA Standards in order to provide greater accessibility for people with disabilities. In our last post we highlighted the enhancements that New York State has made via the building code that apply to accessible parking space design. This post will address another state that the Northeast ADA Center serves, New Jersey, and how the state law impacts accessible parking space signage. 

New Jersey State Law (NJSA 39:4-198), requires what is commonly referred to as a “penalty sign” at accessible parking spaces. This requirement has also been incorporated into the NJ Building Code. Many jurisdictions throughout the country require penalty signs, which are essentially signs that indicate the fine amount or other penalties, applicable if someone illegally parks in accessible parking spaces. The 2010 ADA Standards require that two signs are posted at accessible parking spaces. They include the International Symbol for Accessibility and, if a space is Van Accessible, a second sign is required that states “Van Accessible.” The ADA standards do not require penalty signs, as the enforcement of parking regulations is typically a state or local government matter. So ultimately, in addition to the signage required by the ADA Standards, the penalty sign below must be centered and mounted at the head of each accessible parking space in New Jersey (See section 1106.8 of the NJ Building Code for full text).


The building code also addresses the height and orientation of the penalty sign, requiring that the bottom of the lowest sign shall be mounted approximately 60 inches above the parking lot or sidewalk surface when the sign is parallel to the sidewalk and approximately 72 inches above the parking lot or sidewalk when the sign is perpendicular to the sidewalk.

Stay tuned…next week we will share another accessible parking “hot topic.”