Making a parking lot ADA handicap compliant is more than just painting a blue symbol on the pavement.

Instead, there are specific features to make accessible parking spaces different from traditional parking spaces.

These features make your parking lot easier to be accessed by users with disabilities and may be required in your area.

We make it simple to see if your existing parking lot is compliant with ADA handicap requirements and what to keep in mind when you build a new parking lot.

To ensure your parking lot is fully ADA handicap compliant, there are six main areas to check.

These include the number of stalls, spacing, sizing, location, signage, and maintenance.

1: Calculate the Number of Accessible Parking Spaces Needed

The following table shows how many handicap-accessible stalls your parking lot should have to the total number of parking stalls, according to ADA requirements. This requirement applies to public, employee, and restricted parking lots.

Total Parking StallsStandard AccessibleVan Accessible Total (Standard+Van)
1 – 25011
26 – 50112
51 – 75213
76 – 100314
101 – 150415
151 – 200516
201 – 300527
301 – 400628
401 – 500729
501 – 10005 out of every 6 accessible parking spaces1 out of every six accessible parking spaces2% of total parking spaces provided
1001 +5 out of every 6 accessible parking spaces1 out of every six accessible parking spaces20 plus 1 for each 100 over 1000

Some exceptions –

When it comes to the number of handicap-accessible spaces, take note of the following exceptions. 

  • Medical facilities – Any type of hospital, doctor’s office, or other medical facilities should have 10 percent more accessible parking spaces than the normal requirements to accommodate patients.
  • Rehabilitation centers – Any type of rehabilitation center should have 20 percent more accessible parking spaces than normal requirements.
  • Vehicle impound lots and parking lots that are exclusively for buses, trucks, delivery vehicles, and law enforcement vehicles – are exempted from having ADA handicap-accessible stalls. However, if they are also accessible by the public, then they should comply with the ADA standard spaces.

2. Check the Accessible Stalls Sizing

Proper ADA sizing for accessible stalls is a critical part of the planning phase so you make the best use of the parking lot space you have.

One in every six handicap-accessible spaces should be designed for van-accessible parking, and if your parking lot has only one handicap-accessible space, it should be customized for van-accessibility.

  • Standard Accessible Parking Spot – The minimum requirement is at least 8 feet wide (96 inches) for standard accessible parking spots. The length should be the same as the length of the stall.

The standard for ADA handicap parking lot spots is to be at least 8 feet wide.

  • Van-Accessible Parking Spot – The minimum requirement is at least 11 feet wide for van-accessible parking spaces. The length should also run the full length of the stall.

The requirement by ADA handicap standards is for each van spot in your parking lot to be at least 11 feet wide.

3. What are the ADA Handicap Requirements for Access Aisles?

The access aisle should be positioned on the passenger’s side and provide room for users to easily deploy lifts, wheelchairs, and other mobility aids necessary to get in and out of their car easily.

The following requirements should be followed to make your access aisle next to your parking stalls ADA handicap compliant.

  • Standard Accessible Parking Spot –Adjacent to standard accessible parking spots should be a 60-inch (5 feet) access aisle leading to an accessible entryway or access ramp.
  • Van-Accessible Parking Spot – For an 11-foot wide stall, an access aisle should be at least 5 feet wide. Another acceptable ADA-compliant design is a van-accessible parking space that is 8 feet wide with an 8-foot access aisle.   

It is important to note that the access aisle must be level with the parking space and painted with white diagonal hatch marks as well as a “no parking” marking. An access aisle can be shared by two parking stalls, except in angled parking situations.

4. Where Should Handicap-Accessible Spaces Be Located?

Handicap-accessible parking stalls should be positioned closest to accessible entrances and exits of your building, parking lot, or facility.

In a parking lot that serves several buildings, or more than one entrance, accessible parking spaces should be spread out near as many entrances as possible.

It’s important to have the ADA handicap-accessible stalls close to ramps that lead to entryways or entrance doors. This makes for easy access without any barriers or obstacles that could obstruct access.

ADA handicap guidelines require a sign with the ISA accessibility symbol to be at least 60 inches tall.

5. What is the proper signage required for ADA Handicap standards?

ADA requires that you mark all handicap-accessible stalls with the International Symbol of Accessibility mounted on a pole. Blue and white is the most commonly used color for visibility and is easily recognizable.

The handicap-accessible signage should be placed at the head of the parking stall and be visible from the driver’s seat.

This is typically measured at least 5 feet (60 inches) above the ground if it’s not in the path of travel, and 80 inches above the ground if it’s in the path of travel, so that it can’t be overlooked.

Van-accessible parking spots should also be marked with text below the symbol.

Some Exceptions – A sign is not required for small parking lots of four or fewer spaces or residential facilities where parking spaces are assigned to specific buildings. While the other accessibility regulations apply, signage is not required in these situations.

6. Required Maintenance for ADA Accessible Parking Spaces

It is important to keep your parking lot maintained and safe for all patrons.

The maintenance requirements for handicap-accessible parking spaces are not that different from general parking lot maintenance and include the following:

  • Inspect and keep parking space clean at all times.
  • Repair liabilities such as cracks and potholes immediately.
  • Remove obstructions like debris, fallen leaves, rubbish, loose pebbles, and ice.
  • Replace any missing signage and repaint faded or missing markings immediately.

Stay In the Know

The ADA established these requirements in 1991 and updates them periodically. The goal of these regulations is to ensure that buildings are equally accessible to all individuals. Failure to comply with these requirements may attract fines ranging from $1,500 to $10,000.

In addition to the ADA handicap standards, many state and local governments have their own requirements, which may be more specific or more stringent. There may also be additional requirements in different situations or under different laws.

For example, the Fair Housing Act requires housing providers to make “reasonable accommodations” for residents with disabilities. This could be reserving a parking space or making a parking space or accommodating a resident.

For more information about ADA requirements or to book our services, give us a call today!