ADA Handicapped Parking Rules & Regulations for Signs

August 22, 2011

Americans with Disabilities Act signed in 1990 was a major stepping stone in ensuring equal rights to all Americans with disabilities. The act details guidelines for every public area that needs to provide with ample accessibility options for the disabled. Parking and related areas are also taken into proper consideration. Accessible parking spaces take care of intricacies that make it possible for people with disabilities to get into or out of a vehicle, and also around it. From stating the sizes to the routes to access signs markings, every aspect has been collated meticulously.

Standard ADA Symbol

Standard ADA Symbol

ADA Access Signs Regulations
Marking and identification of accessible parking spaces with the help of access signs is extremely important to make people comply with regulations. ADA states the following rules that need to be followed while posting accessibility signs in designated areas –

  1. The international symbol of accessibility should be posted on all accessible parking spaces marking the reserved spot. The accessibility symbol is the well-known picture of a person using a wheelchair on top of a blue background.  (Some states’ standards vary from the federal standard.
  2. Van-accessible parking spaces to have additional ‘text’ or ‘sign’ below the accessibility symbol to mark the van-accessible area specifically.
  3. Signs should be placed at such a height (at least 60 inches above surface) that they do not get obscured by any parked vehicles or other obstructions. ADA handicap parking signs (commonly known as Access Signs) posted must be visible from the drivers’ seat of the vehicle and located right in view of parking spaces.


Accessible Parking Spaces
ADA access signs need to be posted at properly designated accessible parking spaces. To meet ADA requirements, handicapped parking space should be conveniently large enough for the vehicle to be parked. Along with this, ample space to the left or right of the vehicle must be available to allow a wheelchair to make the exit comfortable.

ADA distinguishes parking spaces into two, Van Accessible and Non-Van Accessible (basically cars). The distinction defines the width of the access aisle to be provided to respective vehicle parking spaces. All businesses or privately held facilities are obligated under law to follow ADA guidelines.

The Essentials for Parking Space ADA Guidelines –

If and when a facility or business restripes its parking lot, it MUST provide accessible parking spaces as required by the ADA Standards for Accessible Design. ADA states that barriers to access in existing parking lots must be removed, when it is readily achievable to do so.

1. Based on a practical approach, ADA stipulates that parking spaces leading to a particular building should be built on the shortest accessible route of travel, from the point of parking till the entrance.

2. Parking facilities that do not serve any particular buildings, a shortest accessible route of travel to an accessible pedestrian entrance of the parking facility should be devised from the location of accessible parking.

3. Accessible parking spaces shall be dispersed and located closest to accessible entrances in buildings with multiple accessible entrances along with adjacent parking.

ADA Parking Space Size Specifications:
1.  Accessible parking spaces need to be at least 96 inches (2440 mm or 8 feet) wide and should have an adjacent access aisle.

2.  In case of Van Accessible parking space, an adjacent access aisle that is 8 feet wide is required. Standard vehicle parking space (Cars) must have a 5 feet wide access aisle adjacent to parking space.

3.  Regulations allow two adjacent parking spaces to share a common access aisle.

4.  Parking spaces and access aisles shall be in level with surface slopes not exceeding 1:50 (2%) in all directions.

5.  All access aisles should remain free of obstructions at all times. Parked vehicle overhangs shall not reduce the clear width of an accessible route.

6.  The boundary of the access aisle must be clearly marked. The end may be a curved or square shape.

7.  Vertical Clearance:  A minimum 98-inch of height clearance at van parking space, access aisle, and on vehicular route to and from van space is required.


Minimum number of Handicap Parking Spaces required

The amount of accessible parking spaces that must be provided is determined by the total number of spaces present in each parking lot.

Total Parking Spaces per Lot (A) Standard (Car) accessible parking spaces (60 inch wide access aisle) (B) Van Accessible Parking Spaces (96 inch wide access aisle) TOTAL minimum number of accessible parking spaces (A + B)
1 – 25 0 1 1
26 – 50 1 1 2
51 – 75 2 1 3
76 – 100 3 1 4
101 – 150 4 1 5
151 – 200 5 1 6
201 – 300 6 1 7
301 – 400 7 1 8
401 – 500 7 2 9
501 – 1000 7 out of every 8 Accessible Parking Spaces 1 out of every 8 accessible parking spaces 2% of total parking provided in each lot
1001 (and over) 7 out of every 8 Accessible Parking Spaces 1 out of every 8 accessible parking spaces 20 plus 1 for each 100 over 100

It is important to note that ADA provides the central set of guidelines. State and local government have the authority to impose own codes, as long as they meet or exceed those contained in the ADA. It is always advisable to check with local codes for precise handicap parking rules and access signs posting guidelines.

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Category: Regulations

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