In order to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities, commercial parking lots and businesses are required to have an ADA compliant parking lot. However, compliance is more than having one space set aside or outlining an existing space in blue paint.
To ensure your customers and clients can access your business, and to protect you from legal concerns, our parking lot line striping company going to walk you through what ADA compliance actually looks like, what the latest regulations are, and why it’s essential to follow these regulations.
Understanding the Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)is a civil rights law that was passed in 1990 aiming to prevent discrimination against people with physical, mental, and cognitive disabilities. It was modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which outlaws discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, and other factors, but there are additional protections included in the ADA.
The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. These include things replacing a traditional desk with a raised or adjustable desk, allowing someone with a physical disability to sit rather than stand when it’s safe to do so, or providing a magnifier for someone who has a vision-impairment. Also, the law requires accessibility features in public spaces, such as ramps, accessible restrooms, and parking lots.
Who Has to Have an ADA Compliant Parking Lot
All commercial and public buildings are required to have accessible spaces, including, but not limited to:
- Retail stores and shopping centers
- Medical buildings
- Apartment and multi-family dwellings (if requested by a tenant with a disability, a space must be provided)
- Federal, state, and municipal buildings
- Office buildings
Accessible parking spaces are necessary by law for every parking facility on a site, including parking lots and parking garages. For example, if a shopping mall has two separate parking garages, both would have to have the appropriate amount of spaces designated.
ADA Parking Lot Requirements
In 2010, the ADA standards to parking lot requirements changed to increase the amount of accessible parking in addition to ensuring van-accessible parking. The latest requirements include:
Increase in Designated Parking
The amount of spaces in your parking garage or parking lot determine how many accessible spaces you need in order to ensure your parking lot is ADA-compliant. Additionally, for each six, or fraction of six accessible parking spaces, one must be van-accessible.
- For a parking lot that has fewer than 25 spaces in their facility, only one accessible spot is required, but it must be van-accessible.
- A parking lot with 25-50 spaces: Two accessible spaces, one must be van-accessible.
- A parking lot with 51-75 spaces: Three accessible, one must be van accessible.
- A parking lot with 76-100 spaces: Four accessible, one must be van accessible.
- A parking lot with 101-150 spaces: Five accessible, one must be van accessible.
- A parking lot with 151-200 spaces: Six accessible, one must be van accessible.
- A parking lot with 201-300 spaces: Seven accessible, two spaces must be van accessible.
- A parking lot with 301-400 spaces: Eight accessible, two must be van accessible.
- A parking lot with 401-500 spaces: Nine accessible, one must be van accessible.
- A parking lot with 500-1000 spaces: Two percent of total.
Location of Accessible Parking
ADA-accessible parking is required to connect to the shortest accessible route to the building or entrance associated with the parking lot. This means that your accessible parking must be as close to the door as possible while following an accessible route, meaning measuring the route via the paved areas and access to ramps.
Additionally, if a building has multiple entrances, the accessible parking spaces should be evenly balanced. For example, if there are two entrances to a department store and the lot is required to have 20 spaces, there should be 10 spaces at each entrance, both with two for vans.
Space Allocations for ADA Compliant Parking
There are very specific requirements for the dimensions of parking spaces for people with disabilities. “Regular” accessible spaces must be eight feet wide, while van-accessible spaces must be 11 feet wide.
Additionally, any access aisles must painted to separate them from parking spaces and be at least five feet wide to allow drivers or passengers to raise and lower vehicle-mounted wheelchair lifts or load and unload passengers who use mobility equipment.
Signs to Mark Accessible Parking
All accessible parking spaces have to be clearly identified with the International Symbol of Accessibility (the figure using a wheelchair), and van-accessible spaces must be labelled as such. While the parking lot itself can be painted, additionally, signs should be placed in such a way so the lowest side of the sign is five feet up from the pavement.
ADA Compliant Parking for Medical Facilities
For medical facilities, the requirements for ADA-compliance are a bit more strict. Hospital outpatient locations must allocate 10 percent of spaces to accessible parking. Rehabilitation facilities who treat mobility-related conditions or outpatient physical therapy centers must allocate 20 percent of their parking spaces to accessible for disabled drivers and passengers.
Why Is an ADA Compliant Parking Lot Necessary?
The number one reason most businesses want to make sure their parking lot is ADA compliant is because it’s the law. Not having the designated spaces at your business or office can result in fines or a lawsuit.
However, having parking that’s accessible to everyone is about more than fulfilling a legal requirement, it’s letting everyone know that they are welcome at your establishment. It’s a sign of excellent customer service that you’re making it so that every customer or client can enter with ease.