ADA Parking Requirements for Handicap Parking

Accessible parking lot

Handicap Parking Requirements for US Parking Areas

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has several provisions which protect handicap parking spaces and their users. The ADA parking requirements were last updated in 2010 and mandate how many traditional handicap parking spaces and van spaces are needed for a given location, size requirements, and other technical requirements.

Accessible Parking Spaces for Cars

Accessible parking spaces for cars that require a transfer to a wheelchair are eight feet wide and should have an adjacent access aisle that measures at least 60 inches for entering and exiting the vehicle. These spaces are marked with a sign and are located on level ground. 

Accessible Parking Spaces for Vans

Accessible parking spaces for vans or any modified or converted vehicle are similar to accessible spaces for cars but with extra provisions.

  • The access aisle for a full-size van with a lift or a converted minivan or SUV with a ramp should measure at least 96 inches.
  • Vertical clearance at the space to accommodate the height of full-size vehicles and their occupants in the access aisle.
  • A sign that identifies the space as “Van Accessible”

One out of every six spaces in a parking lot is required to be van accessible. In a lot with less than eight spaces, at least one is required to be van accessible. If the lot has four or fewer parking spaces, a sign identifying van-accessible parking space isn’t required.

Certain types of medical facilities need more handicap parking spaces, including hospital outpatient facilities (10%) and rehabilitation facilities that specialize in treating mobility-related conditions. 

ADA Parking Requirements: Location

Accessible parking spaces must be located on the shortest accessible route to an entrance. If there are multiple accessible entrances to a building, the spaces should be divided among each entrance and located closest. 

An accessible route is one that does not include curbs, stairs, unstable or slippery surfaces and the slope of this route can’t exceed 1:12 (one inch of raise to 12 inches of distance traveled). ADA parking requirements also state that exceptions can be made to parking garages where spaces may be clustered on one floor in order to accommodate the 98-inch minimum vertical height requirement. 

Curb cut for access aisle

ADA Parking Requirements: Alterations

A bollard - or a short post typically made of concrete or metal – signs, columns, or other elements can’t be located in the access aisle or reduce the minimum clear width of accessible routes. Aisle are also instructed to be designed so that parked vehicles do not obstruct the required width of accessible routes.

Many in the  disability community request the placement of a permanent structure in the access aisle to prevent cars from parking there. Like the bollards incorporated into walkways ahead of main entrances to businesses, it would prevent vehicles from entering the space and ensuring it is clear for needed transfers or entry and exit of an accessible side-entry vehicle. 

Photos for story on machine reading, taken in Redmond, WA on Monday, April 24, 2017. (Photo by Dan DeLong)

Because of the way the ADA laws are written, it’s impossible to add any permanent structure to parking spaces. For this reason, BraunAbility created the first 3D access aisle design to give the illusion of a raised barrier in the space and to help educate communities about the space needed for someone in a wheelchair or another mobility aid to access a place of business.

Row of Accessible Parking

Additionally, national ADA parking standards do not specify the color of parking space and access aisle markings. It is important that any design also include access aisles identified in a manner that discourages parking in them, especially those that are 8 feet wide at van spaces.

Case for DFI

Our 3D access aisle design is eye-catching and colorful – as much an art installation as a community education tool. By designing a space that looks made to be seen, not covered up, we aim to discourage abuse while actively researching more ways that we can help protect the freedom of mobility for our customers.

LIVE CHAT WITH AN AGENT