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

Comments (311)

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  1. Edward Russell says:

    Although your site is a real informative one I can’t seem to find the answer for my needs. I am searching for ‘On street’ disabled parking. In other words, not parking lots. I need to know what would limit or allow me to have more disabled spaces in from of an establishment?
    As an example: A.A. club that has a 800 count visitors daily yet only one parking spot for the disabled. Is there a way to encourage/demand the place to add an extra space? Thank you, I’m waiting for your reply!!!

    • says:

      Hi Edward, while the ADA provides parking space requirements, it does not specifically address on-street parking. What state do you live in? Different states might have specific requirements regarding on-street disability parking. If the disabled parking spot is meant to service one building or facility specifically, you might approach the place directly to express the need for additional disabled parking. If the parking spot does not service a specific building, this type of request can be brought to the city or municipality.

      • Tracy Preslicka says:

        Are we in violation if we had our handicap sign painted in the wrong direction in our parking lot?

    • jimmy davis says:

      You might want to try researching the law in the state where you domicile to find out if there is an ordinance or statute compelling business owners to expand on-street parking for those individuals who are disabled, and who have a legal handicap placard displayed in their vehicle. It may also be an issue of space availability where said business is only permitted a certain allotment of parking spaces. Moreover, perhaps the business owner could apply for variances that will permit parking in an otherwise non-parking area.

  2. Dave says:

    Is there a maximum height for parking signs? I have a friend who just got a big ticket for parking under a sign 12 feet up with an arrow pointing to the left and a green P sign stating 2 hour limit under the handicap sign. is this a legal sign?

    • says:

      That depends on the combination of signs and where they’re posted, as regulations are different in every municipality. It doesn’t sound like the sign combination is compliant (unless it was on private property, which doesn’t seem to be the case), though the signs separately might be regulation signs. They’re also posted unusually high up off the ground. But again, this depends on where you’re located.

  3. David says:

    Having issue in Florida, does a company have right to make own rules on parking. The comany has split parking lots into company and contractors. Handicap parking spots are a distance from main entrance to work place. Company believes they have right to do as they wish. Trying to find right guidance,in Florida, to correct the wrongs being done to disable veteran’s

    • says:

      Hey David, that’s really important, and really admirable, to help veterans. A few answers: the company must comply with the State disability regulations, which are required to meet the federal standards, at a minimum. Private and commercial facilities owned by private entities are required to comply under both State and Federal law. Accessible parking spaces serving a particular building need to be placed on the shortest accessible route of travel from adjacent parking to an accessible entrance. Are there other entrances outside of the main entrance that are closer to these parking spots? If so, buildings with multiple accessible entrances with adjacent parking, accessible parking spaces can be dispersed and located closest to the accessible entrances.

      • David says:

        Problem is that the large company has parking lot for their employees and contractors ,separated by fenced area,with handicapped spots in both. The companies attitude is they are in compliance with state law by having both. Everything I see in Fl. state codes allow parking wherever there is handicapped signs if you have the state approved place card.

        How to make large corporation comply??

        • says:

          Companies are required by state and federal law to have handicap parking spaces in both lots. The company is compliant with this particular requirement. Additionally, parking spaces that “serve a particular building or facility shall be located on the shortest accessible route from parking to an entrance.” This location provision is part of both state and federal law. As an exception to this, disabled parking spots are allowed to be located in different parking lots if “substantially equivalent or greater accessibility is provided in terms of distance.” If the number of disabled parking spots in the closer lot is limited, State law requires that “the number of parking spaces for persons who have disabilities must be increased on the on the basis of demonstrated and documented need.”

          • David says:

            In Fl can company limit the handicap parking in the comany lot to “only” company employee’s. No contractors, on are they required to allow “any” handicap person park per state/federal requirements?

          • Terri says:

            A company cannot say which group can park in a state mandated HD space. Anyone, from anywhere can use that space, if they have a state mandated HD placard that is valid. We had that issue on our campus, when we reserved lots for events and were told by ADA representatives that we could not stop anyone with a valid placard from using those spaces.

          • Cindy Ehrlich says:

            I am having a problem with parking at my college. There is only one handicapped parking place for the public/and or students. They claim there are 2 but there is only 1 sign which states it’s designated as a handicapped spot the other sign says “reserved.” There is a nearby faculty parking lot with several additional places but they don’t give students access to those spots. There are several handicapped students all who vie for that one spot. The additional student parking is a fairly long haul (dozens of yards away-a guestimate) too far for someone who has a heart condition and COPD to walk. I have spoken to the school and security said its “first come-first served” but offer no solutions for me to get to class without chest discomfort and breathlessness. They block off closer parking spots with cones for school employees, janitors and security guards etc who aren’t handicapped, but won’t allow me to park there. I can’t study when I’m in pain or oxygen deprived and I’m frustrated by the school’s apathy. Please give me some guidance.

            Thank you

    • Patty says:

      I have been parking in the same handicap parking spot for almost 8 years. I have a handicap placard to do so. My employer told me that my handicap spot is being given to another woman who works in the same as me and that I need to park in a different handicap spot. The problem is the other handicap spots are on the front of the building and are the furthest away from the elevator. Can my employer do this? The other woman has the same handicap parking placard that I have. She is not in a wheelchair, nothing special beyond a difficulty to walk, just like me.

      • Access Quad Cities says:

        They cannot reserve a handicap spot,l it is a first come first serve.

        • I am having a problem with not enough handicap parking spaces where I live. There are 12 spaces but 14 people with handicap stickers. I have specific birth defect that left me with a foot deformity and I have limited balance and it is vital that I have one of those spots. I can’t afford to have to compete with other people and management won’t reserve a space for me.

    • Jess says:

      I am disabled the store were I go to the walk way s have a lot of boxes of sodes, my wheel chair don’t fit, and he has no parking save for handle cap people , were do I report him too

  4. J. Hardy says:

    Hi, I’m look for the regulation paint color for handicap parking lines. I know the
    handicap wheelchair sign is to be in blue. Can’t find anywhere it say what color the
    lines have to be.
    J. Hardy

    • RivkaAdmin says:

      There’s actually no federal requirement, but I would recommend that you choose a distinctive color, most commonly on the yellow or white range.

      • thomas says:

        As A disabled American and an owner of a company myself, the ADA states that these ground lines shall be of high visability such as the color of blue and or white to be on the safe side as such as the color of the signage

    • Terri says:

      Although there is no mandated color, I do know that we have a huge problem with people mistaking HD van accesses with No parking zones, etc… because of the color. White and yellow are commonly used for these. They get very upset at the $250 citations, because they said if they knew it was HD access, they would not have parked there.

  5. Cynthia says:

    Are businesses allowed to reserve handicapped parking for their own vehicles? They own some handicapped vehicles and transport people so it’s legal for them to park in these spots but can they put up a reserved spot by the handicapped sign so that only they can park there?

    • RivkaAdmin says:

      Hi Cynthia,

      There is no provision within the ADA accessibility guidelines that restricts a company from reserving a space for their own handicapped transportation vehicles. However, the lot will still need to provide a minimum number of handicap accessible spaces based upon the total number of parking spots in the lot. As long as the company meets the minimum number of handicap spaces for other employees and visitors, they are able to able to reserve an additional spot for their own vehicles.

  6. Rowland says:

    Concerning the color of signs, state code may be the answer, in Texas colors are not mentioned except to say requirements are light lettering on a dark background or dark lettering on a light background.

    • Jason Elliott says:


      I read an earlier post that briefly went over the colors of handicap signs. I have been looking over the Texas regulations off the TDLR website, however there is no mention of color that I can find, or make sense of.

      Are the colors Blue and White required colors for handicap access signs and handicap parking signs in the State of Texas?


      Is reflective vinyl required? or is it just the sign must be “highly visible”?


      Are the sign SIZE requirements minimum requirements? Meaning, can the signs be larger than denoted? This question referring to Handicap signs as well.

      Thank you,
      Austin, TX

      • Debbie Moore says:

        Hi, Jason!

        Accessible parking is a bit lightly regulated in Texas, and as such defaults to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), as well as the federal government’s ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG).

        In Texas, accessible parking is required to be demarcated using the International Symbol of Accessibility (that’s the familiar wheelchair symbol). It appears as though it is required to be white on blue.

        One quirk in Texas: van accessible parking has to have a VAN ACCESSIBLE sign, which must be green on white and must be posted below the accessible parking sign. All signage has to be at least 60 inches off the ground, so signpost height is something to keep in mind – I’d recommend 8-foot posts. As far as signage size, interestingly, I’m not seeing an upper limit in the law, though that doesn’t mean there isn’t one. You might want to check with your DMV. 12″ x 18″ or 24″ x 24″ are the norm for the main sign – either way – and 6″ x 12″ is the usual for the VAN ACCESSIBLE sign, though.

        Reflective vinyl is not required, and indeed, overly reflective signage can be a problem. I would recommend Engineering-grade 3M reflectivity, which is visible without being “shiny,” and also holds up a little better to the elements than plain, non-reflective aluminum. You can buy this on our site.

  7. Ron Louie says:

    A van space is 8 feet and the access is also 8 feet. I hear that the new rule is the van space is 9 feet and the access is 8 feet. Which is correct in your opinion?
    Also do you have signs that have the the rules of the space ,like you must have a placard and you will be towed etc.? And the color. I heard the color is now,black letters on a white background.

    • Charity Stebbins says:

      Thanks for the question, Ron. According to the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, which is the federal guideline, van-accessible space widths can vary depending on the size of the adjacent access aisle. They should be eleven feet wide at minimum with a five-foot wide access aisle, but an alternate design allows for the van-accessible space to be eight feet wide of the adjacent access aisle is also eight feet wide. These minimums might be exceeded by your state regulations, so you will want to check those as well. Without knowing what state you’re in, we can’t address your other questions.

  8. Michael Cash says:

    Im confused, Can a Parks and Rec. department of an incorporated City in California deny Handicap parking stalls to people who have placards, using the softball fields at the park, while blocking access to Handicap parking spots with traffic cones, so that the band performing in the other part of the park can have somewhere to park. I called local law enforcement, they said it was private property and had no jurisdiction. Is this possible, or did i get a brush off. The Parks Department said they rented us the fields, not the parking lot, the other event had priority according to them. Am I crazy? or have they tried to pull a fast one? any help with this would be appreciated.

    Thank You,

    • RivkaAdmin says:

      Although a facility may be privately owned, if it serves the public, it should abide by the accessibility requirements prescribed in Chapter 11B of the California Building Code. Under Section 1132B.2, parks and recreational areas must comply with the accessibility requirements, which include a minimum number of parking spaces that are accessible to persons with disabilities.

  9. Don Schmidek says:

    We live in California in a private retirement facility which has underground gated parking. Only residents with transponders have access to this parking. Each resident has an assigned space, numbered and marked.
    We have a number of disabled spaces in this parking lot which are properly marked but are not assigned to anyone, thus not used, which does not make sense. Can all these spaces be assigned to residents who have disabled placards or plates, and still meet the letter of the law? What laws apply to this situation?

    • RivkaAdmin says:

      Under the California Building Code, when assigned parking spaces are provided for residents, at least 2 percent of the parking spaces must be accessible parking. For parking spaces that are unassigned, at least 5 percent of the parking spaces must be accessible to persons with disabilities. Further, when a multifamily dwelling unit provides more than one type of parking facility (e.g. garages, private garages, carports, off-street parking lots/spaces), the accessibility requirements apply to each individual facility. At least one space for each type of facility must be made accessible even if the total number exceeds 2 percent. Finally, when assigned parking is provided, designated accessible parking for the dwelling unit should be provided on request of residents with disabilities on the same terms and with the full range of choices (e.g. garage, off-street parking, carport) that are available for other residents.

      • Bill Cademy says:

        Follow up on this issue. In my daughter’s apartment building, all the underground parking is assigned to tenants. (None for visitors.) However, there are some assigned spots that also have the “disabled parking” signage. The leasing office has informed us that if we park in one of those spots, we will be towed, as they are assigned to specific tenants.

        This doesn’t make sense to me – if the spot is pre-assigned, why designate it as “disabled parking?” And if it’s designated “disabled parking” why can’t we (who are also on our daughter’s lease, so can park in her regular spot) park in the disabled spot? (My wife’s car has disabled plates.) Also, we are of the understanding that it is illegal to tow a vehicle displaying the plates or placards, so are they within their rights to threaten us with towing?

        Can a disabled parking spot be reserved for one tenant? Or can any disabled tenant park in that spot?
        Can a vehicle with appropriate plates/placard be towed?
        (If it helps, this is in San Diego, California.)
        Thank you.

  10. Glenn Reed says:

    I have a specific question that I can’t seem to find an answer for. The table gives the minimum number of disabled parking spots necessary for a parking lot. Is this figure the same regardless of the number of businesses or other facilities served by the parking lot? For example, I’m wondering about a parking lot that serves a discount dollar store, but also provides parking for the town library–a public facility. There are two disabled spots directly at the entrance to the library–one of which is van accessible. There are none near the entrance to the dollar store, although the ones in front of the library are just about the same distance from the dollar store entrance as the closest parking spot in the rest of the lot. The spot nearest the dollar store entrance has faded marks for a disabled spot (not really visible and no free standing sign). When the library is open, a staff person uses one of the disabled spots, so only the van spot is available for both the library and the store. Is this acceptable or should the store repaint the old disabled spot? I can see how it works in big shopping complexes, but not sure about this situation.

    • RivkaAdmin says:

      Hi Glenn,

      The minimum number of spots for disabled parking (relative to the amount of spots in the lot) can be distributed among different locations if they’re equidistant and are equally accessible to the building. However, each parking area for the facility needs at least one handicapped-accessible spot. So, if this spot is the only one in that lot, then the employee can only park there if she’s disabled.

      The spot should also be recognizable as handicapped parking. Accessible parking spaces are required to be accompanied by a sign showing the symbol of accessibility. Van spaces should have an additional sign “Van-Accessible” mounted below the symbol of accessibility. Such signs must also be located so that they cannot be obscured by a vehicle parked in the space.

      Hope this helps!

  11. Ann says:

    Is a retail store built around 1979/80 required to provide handicap parking (for free) to its employees with handicap placards? The retailer offers free parking (limited time)to its customers with a validation. Could an employee also park in that lot for free in a handicap spot, if they have a handicap placard?

    • RivkaAdmin says:

      Stores are required to have spots for handicapped employees that are separate from the required handicapped spots for general consumers. In regard to your second question — that’s up to the employer!

  12. Armine says:

    Wonder if someone can help me. There is this situation with someone suing the property owner, business owner for not having a handicap sign and space markings at the back parking lot. What is the law, is it property owner’s responsiblity or the business owner’s responsiblity?

  13. Katherine says:

    Question….Does the ADA require that we provide free parking for those with handicap placards, plates or equipped vehicles?

    • Charity Stebbins says:

      Hi, Katherine! This really depends on what state you’re in, and who is providing the parking (i.e. are you asking as a landlord, or a business owner?) and whether it’s on-street parking, or in a parking facility. For instance, some states require that on-street parking is free for people with disabled parking placards, regardless of whether it’s an accessible space or otherwise. Washington State is one example, but they also specify that off-street parking facilities that charge for parking can charge the same fee for persons with disabled parking permits. Municipalities might also have regulations about allowing free on-street parking for disabled persons, so you can’t just rely on your state’s code. We don’t know enough about your situation to say for sure, but if you want to elaborate on your question, we can try!

  14. Is there any place in the ADA where it says that the number of accessible parking places is determined by the type of business?

    • Charity Stebbins says:

      Thanks for the question, Skip. The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design does outline certain types of businesses that have differing requirements for providing accessible parking spaces. For instance, “hospital outpatient facilities” must make sure that ten percent of their patient and visitor parking spaces are accessible spaces, which is a higher percentage than the general table referenced above in the post. So, for a 50-space parking facility, 5 of them should be accessible, and of those, one should be a van-accessible space. The 2010 standards grant even more spaces to outpatient physical therapy facilities and rehabilitation facilities specializing in treating mobility conditions. Those types of businesses must have twenty percent of their total parking spaces as accessible and van-accessible spaces.

      Other than these two types of facilities, the numbers of accessible parking spaces is determined by the table referenced above, although it might be different in your state or municipality depending on how they’ve chosen to meet or exceed the ADA’s central guidelines.

  15. david ciervo says:

    If a business has handicap parking spaces, is it required to have handicap access?

    • Charity Stebbins says:

      Hi, David. We’d love to help out with your question, but first we would need a few more details. Generally, accessible parking spaces and accessible building design for commercial spaces are two different issues separately addressed by ADA rules. Whether your business is required to provide either or both will also depend on what your state and municipal governments are requiring above and beyond the ADA’s rules. Please feel free to get back to us with more specifics and we’ll see if we can help!

  16. Allegra says:

    My daughter’s school has quite the situation. They have a small parking lot, with 1 legal handicap spot and 1 handicap spot with no signage. Both spots are directly in front of the special needs building. When school is let out, a mob of 350-400 cars attacks the loading zone, parking lot and street parking. The handicap spot is taken early by special needs parents.
    The principal said there is nothing he can do and suggested I arrive an hour early OR park down the street and walk. He said the school is a walking school and they don’t have any solutions to the problems.
    Several other parents are disabled, but cannot find adequate parking.
    As a parent of a kindergartner, I’m required to deliver and pick up my child from the teacher. And I get scolded for being 10 minutes late (which is how long is takes to lap the block and hope for a spot close enough to manage.)
    The school district says the school is grandfathered in and has no room to add spots, due to the loading zone, bus zone, and parking lot set up.
    As a disabled parent, what are my options? Can I park in the loading zone?

    • Charity Stebbins says:

      Thanks for your question, Allegra. There’s a lot to address here, and without knowing what the state and local laws are in force, we can’t to be too specific in our advice. But there are a few things we can address. First, you say there are two parking spaces in the school’s small parking lot that are meant to be accessible spaces for people with disabled parking permits, but only one is “legal” and the other has “no signage.” According to the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, which all state and local regulatory bodies should be meeting or exceeding, “parking space identification signs shall include the International Symbol of Accessibility.”

      Another point we noted is that you said it’s a small parking lot. As in the table above, you can see that any parking facility with 25-50 spaces must have a minimum of two accessible spaces. But the Standards don’t provide a maximum, and perhaps there is a need that isn’t being met for disabled parents at the school.

      As far as whether you can park in a loading zone, a whole different set of laws apply here, namely, your municipality’s parking restrictions regarding loading zones.

      Ultimately, we can’t give you legal advice, but it sounds like a very frustrating situation and if you would like to let us know what city or state you’re writing from, perhaps we can shed more light on the regulations that might be relevant here.

  17. Ann says:

    I have a Florida Handicapped placket for various issues. My company is having me park in a parking deck four blocks from the building I work in. They provide a “shuttle” from the deck but it does not drop me off in front of my building. There are plenty of parking spaces across the street from the entrance to the building and at another parking deck across the street but I am not allowed to park at either. Is this legal?

    • Charity Stebbins says:

      This sounds like a very frustrating situation, Ann, and although we can’t say whether it’s legal or not because we can’t give you legal advice, hopefully we can give you some resources about Florida’s adoption of the federal guidelines of accessibility design. The Florida Building Code online maintains an annotated version of the federal guidelines that points out where the Florida Statute has exceeded them, and there is some language about providing alternative parking spaces, but we can’t speak to how exactly it applies in your case.

  18. BhigTea says:

    Hi, my question is this: commercial business in Sacramento, Ca provides ample handicap parking for its employees and also provides disabled persons parking spaces at the front entry to their building for “Handicap-Customer Parking Only” for the mass of disabled persons who use the designated spaces provided for them. Problem: Disabled employees continue to take up spaces designated for customers…what can we do without violating the ADA. Adequte handicap parking is available to most/all of our employees and/or special accomadations can be arranged, if need be? Help.

  19. TT22 says:

    I work at a Dr office, and we have more than the required number of handicap spaces in our patient parking lot. However, we have a few addition handicap spaces, in the employee parking lot, and there isn’t enough space for all the employees. So some of the employees have to use the handicap space in the employee parking lot. We have a patient who comes in frequently and threatens to call the police for the employees parking in handicap spaces. If the office was to remove the signs and the paint still remains, would this still consider a handicap parking space?

    • Charity Stebbins says:

      We’ve responded to your question in a new post! We hope it helps.

  20. Ron says:

    I live in a private townhouse community on Hawaii. I need to know what the laws are for parking on the private property in a marked handicap parking spot. Management has a policy that any vehicle parked in any spot from 1 am to 6 am can be towed. What are my rights to use of the handicap spots?

    • Krissa says:

      Ron, it sounds like the property owners have posted notice about their parking restrictions, which they’re allowed to enforce with towing. In this case, we would hazard that any accessible parking spots are reserved for people with disabilities when parking is generally permitted, but not during those restricted hours (or when a lot or property is closed, for instance). However, as a resident I’m not sure whether you have a right to permanent and specific reserved parking around the clock, which is usually determined by parking minimums. To find out more about your rights as a resident, you may want to get in touch with the Disability and Communication Access Board for the Hawaii Department of Health:

  21. larry says:

    my son received a handy cap parking ticket on the street ther were 6 spaces 1 singh at each end he was in the middle not nowing because curbs werent painted and no painted singhs on black top does curb and street need to be marked by law thanks larry

    • Krissa says:

      Larry, this might ultimately depend on what state you’re writing from so we can’t say for certain, but typically it’s the signage that holds the force of law (and is required by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and ensuing Standards), not the curb or street markings. Many states and municipalities do both, of course, since the more visibility they give to accessible parking, the better chance the spot will actually be free for those in need of it.

      It does seem surprising that your son was parked in the middle of a row of on-street parking spaces, and was ticketed anyway, but I’m afraid we can’t say for certain whether the spot was legitimate with or without curb markings; he would have to contest the ticket with the enforcement agency if the signage really wasn’t clearly indicating the accessible spots on the block.

  22. Dawn says:

    We lease in a building in Baton Rouge which has six handicapped spots. The building owner wants to limit our disabled employees to only parking in 2 of the 6 spots, reserving the other 4 for other tenants or visitors. Aren’t these spots available on a first come, first serve basis?

    • Krissa says:

      Dawn, as far as the federal guidelines go, you are correct: if the parking lot serves both employees and visitors alike, all six parking spaces (and any van accessible spaces) should be available to anyone authorized to park there. However, it might be a good idea to remind the building owner that the ADA creates minimum requirements, and if his tenants routinely find themselves lacking for accessible spaces then he should consider designating more spaces as accessible above the minimum required by the law.

  23. joe whitney says:

    I have heard that a truck loading zone can be utilized by a handicapped person . is that true ?

    • Krissa says:

      Thanks for the question, Joe, although I think we would need more clarification before answering with certainty. Truck loading zones cannot be used as parking, even for someone with a disabled parking placard; but they can be used to discharge passengers from their cars. However, the ADA (2010 Standards, sections 209 and 503) does also specify that at least one passenger loading zone on public property (say, at a shopping center) needs to be an accessible loading zone, with enough width and length and with an accessible curb ramp. So hopefully, someone can use the passenger loading zone to enter and exit their car, rather than needing to use a truck loading zone.

  24. Joe Smith says:

    I live in Massachusetts and have a hp placard. I parked my car in a hp space at a state park one evening and my car was damaged due to obstructions (large rocks) in the parking space that the park management (negligently) failed to remove, although they evidently were there for some time. I filed a claim with the state, but they rejected it–claiming no responsibility for the damage to my car. I am considering filing a complaint against the state park system under state and federal public accommodation laws due to my contention that the park failed to provide me an “accessible” parking space (i.e., one in which I could park my car without risk of injury to me or damage to my vehicle). Any thoughts on this matter?

    • Krissa says:

      Joe, that’s a frustrating situation – negotiating with the state about liability is never easy! We can’t speak the specifics of your case, but if that was the only accessible parking space, then the state may have a responsibility to make sure that spot is accessible at all times and free of debris. But there may also be the competing interest of the any “park at your own risk” claims made by the state park system. We would recommend getting in touch with the Client Services Program [link] and requesting help on this matter from their advocates.

  25. Rachel Kate says:

    Situation: My husband has a disability in the state of Hawaii and was issued a disability parking permit due to his condition. His employer provides parking for salespeople, executives and their admins. My husband recently transitioned from Sales to Analyst, and was asked to give up his parking. He requested an accommodation due to his condition. They wrote him a letter saying they can not accommodate him, he will have to surrender his parking, and use street parking which can sometimes be around the block and across the street.

    There is one disability parking stall for customers. Does the employer need to provide parking for my husband in this situation, as it does not create undue hardship for his employer?

    • Ron says:

      I did some research recently thru ADA and found out that I your husband requests a parking accommodation due to his disability they need to to provide him with requested parking. Contact the US dept of housing and urban development. Forward me your email address and I’ll send you their publication. Good luck!

  26. Wendy says:

    We will be going to a park in Riverside, California for a soccer tournament. There will be a charge for parking for all attending. Can they charge for parking if I have a handicap parking placard?

    • Krissa says:

      Wendy, as far as we know, the park can charge for parking while still providing accessible spots for people with placards. Some cities and municipalities will allow people to use on-street parking without paying the meters if they have a placard, but we can’t find any comparable reference to parking facilities.

  27. Anthony says:

    My mother lives in IL in a townhome/condo community. They have 1 assigned parking space per unit. Is the association required by law to provide a handicap parking space in the parking lot? If they are and we request they place one for my mother can they take her assigned parking spot and turn it into the handicap spot? If they do this woundn’t they have to redo the spacing when they resurface the parking lot? Thank you

    • Krissa says:

      Anthony, as always you’ll want to check with your state ADA coordinator to find out if there’s anything additionally required by them, but our reading of the federal 2010 Standards tells us the following: “ Parking for Residents. Where at least one parking space is provided for each residential dwelling unit, at least one parking space complying with 502 shall be provided for each residential dwelling unit required to provide mobility features complying with 809.2 through 809.4.” It seems to us like there needs to be an accessible space provided for any resident who needs to comply with 502, which is the part of the code that designates how a parking space should be laid out and marked. We recommend taking a closer look at the 2010 Standards, in particular, which we quoted above, and the other sections referenced there.

  28. Greg says:

    I live in VA and go to a community college. This semester they are building a new building and doing some other construction. In order for them to keep their construction equipment on premises some of the handicap parking spots have been taken away. To accommodate this lack of handicap spots, they “added” a small parking lot near the bookstore, which is not really that close to the main building. This lot has 4 handicap spots which then would put them back on track for following ADA guidelines. The problem I am having is this other “lot” is apparently owned by the construction company, not the school, and from what I have been told, can park their vehicles in those spots as well without the school being able to do anything about it. without these spots the school does not meet ADA guidelines. Is this a violation or not? I have been told I can park anywhere but the only available spots are even further from the building and not handicap. Thanks

  29. Melinda Magruder says:

    I have a HP plackard which I use when I go to schools. Today the front two gates were locked and I could not walk the dstance to get into the school.

    Is there a minimum distance required from HP to the entrance of the building? If so, what is that distance?

    THE HP parking at this one school I go to is further away from the entrance than other parking spots. What can I do about this?

  30. BOB STEELE says:

    Is there any way that you can sue to get a company to mark the Handicap parking zone SIGNED correctley. The sign is not there.The floor is blue with wheelchair emblem.Is this against ADA rules ( [email protected] )

  31. donald cinelli says:

    a federal agency removed two handicap parking spaces that they were 24 hours access and they moved them to another location that doesn’t have 24 hours access. it is from 730 to 630. is that allowable. I heard a parking spaces must give 24 hours accessible for the handicap spaces not limited. please let me know .

  32. Sterling wOODS says:

    Is there a law stating that the person with the disability must be in the car in order to use the spaace. In other words, if I am disabled and my spouse uses the car to go the store and I stayed home, can she park in the handicap parking ?

    • james says:

      No she cannot. You may actually lose your placard if family members are caught using it.

      • Sterling Woods says:

        Thanks James.

  33. Carlene Mullins says:

    We recently booked a room at a large hotel in OK City. Upon arrival, we found that the hotel was renting parking spots to fans attending a nearby basketball game. We were told we could not park on the lowest level,even though I have a handicap placard, because the entire level, as well as a large portion of the second level, was just for those who had paid for temporary valet parking (those attending the basketball game). We had to park on the roof, in a spot fartherest from the elevator. Can the hotel (legally) do this? The hotel manager said the level one handicap spots were “probably all taken,” by vehicles that had handicap status, though he did not verify this “fact” in any way, and we, of course, could not gain access to level one to determine if his statement was true or not. I have to go back to OKC every week for months (I am a Cancer patient, in a clinical trial at the U of OK Medical Center), and this hotel is not only the most convenient, but I have reward points that save me a ton of money.

  34. Deborah Lazaroff Alpi says:

    I am renting in a Southern California (Orange County) community that cites anyone who parks without a permit, including handicapped persons. The parking people say they’re allowed to do so if instructed by the homeowners association. Is this true? I ask because in 2003 I went on a job interview in a residential area in Santa Ana and received a citation. I took my placard to the nearest police substation and showed it to the authorities and the citation was dismissed on the spot. Has the law changed? Can homeowner’s associations supercede federal law in citing and towing cars with handicapped placards in housing subdivisions?

    • Krissa says:

      This is an interesting question! When you say community, do you mean a private housing enclave, or a municipality? For instance, a private residential property such as a gated condominium association can often define what permit system they want to implement and enforce, so long as there is actually accessible parking is provided for residents. The federal standards state that “where parking spaces are provided for persons other than residents, parking shall be provided in accordance with Table 208.2” (which stipulates how many accessible spaces are required for each lot size. With this, I’m assuming this permit system that you’re coming up against is a residential parking permit system; does the community provide parking for non-residents? If so, those parking spaces are required to have at least one accessible spot. But if there’s no non-resident parking, and the private entity that owns the property has implemented a parking system, I do believe it’s a different treatment than municipal street parking (such as when you were cited back in 2003 in Santa Ana).

      However, we’d love to hear from any parking managers or ADA coordinators on this question, since permit parking systems are a whole question unto themselves

  35. Terri says:

    I can tell you in NC, I work at a private university and we can require that people who park on our campus pay for a permit to park, whether they have a placard or not. We have had that rules challenged and each time we were told that since it is our property, we can require a fee to park. Of course anyone can park in any HD space, whether a student in a visitor lot, etc.. We also allow the HD cars to overflow into a regular space if the spaces are full in the area they need to go, but they cannot park in reserved spaces, illegal areas like NPZ or in Fire Lanes.

  36. David says:

    What can be done in Texas when a business removes the handicapped signs indicating the handicapped parking spaces from the poles?

  37. David says:

    someone tell me the federal policy on parking in a handicap spot with a DV tag. So far all I can find for Georiga is.

    Handicapped Parking

    If a disabled veteran’s license plate from Georgia, or any other state, is properly displayed on the veteran’s vehicle, the veteran is authorized to park in parking areas designated for the handicapped without obtaining special handicapped parking area permits.

    [O.C.G.A. § 40-6-224 and § 40-6-226]


    • Terri says:

      David, The DV plate is the same as a permanent handicapped placard. You can park in HD spaces and do not need to have a placard hung.

  38. Terri says:

    David, The DV plate is the same as a permanent handicapped placard. You can park in HD spaces and do not need to have a placard hung.

  39. Jon Mansfield says:

    We have a Townehomes Association which has handicap parking. We have some residents that use the space as their private parking spot. Some because their garage is full or they have too many cars. Is it legal for a handicap person to use the parking this way?

    • Terri says:

      John, In most states a HD placard is valid in any state mandated HD space, as long as they want, any time they want. Unfortunately, people do take advantage of this and use it to store cars, but there is nothing you can do about that, since they are state mandated.

  40. Carol says:

    I work at an airport that has sperate parking for employees with its own handicap parking with a shuttle that takes you to and from. The problem is that they will only drop us off at one end of the building that is not even occupied with airlines and you have to walk quite a distance. There was parking directly acrossed the airport in the car rentals that we were able to use until resently, and now the city is saying that they supply parking and that is all they have to do, the drop off point and the walk is not their problem. We have asked for a drop off point in fron of the airport and they will not comply? What are the laws?

    • Krissa says:

      This is a tough one. There’s one part of the law that immediately comes to mind, which is the “shortest accessible route” standard in the federal ADA guidelines. Section 208.3 states that accessible parking spaces that serve a particular building or facility “shall be on the shortest accessible route from parking to an entrance”. Indeed, it actually goes on to specify that if a building has several entrances, as any airport terminal surely does, “parking spaces … shall be dispersed and located on the shortest accessible route to the accessible entrances.” See how the law is accommodating for a facility like, say, a mall, or an airport?

      Now, of course your situation is slightly complicated by the shuttle, which is making up the distance from the parking spaces to the facility. However, it seems to me that you have a case to make to the parking management team that “shortest accessible route” needs to be taken into account when it applies to which entrance the shuttle is meant to convey employees.

  41. Lonnie says:

    I got a ticket for parking in H/C parking on street (the rear of my vehicle was 4ft into H/C space)in City of San Diego.. Space was 20ft.. but sign was 11ft back from the start/front of space This was not a deliberate violation as I backed into this open space but could see the sign way behind me & there was car parked in the space. I have driven the streets around this area and all the other signs are at or before the start of the parking space… This ticket is $452.50 …I’ve never had a parking ticket before!!! How do I get this resolved?? I can’t find anything as to where signs are to be placed??

  42. W. Holmes says:

    I live in an apartment complex in florida and have disabled and reserved parking spaces. If you have a disabled sticker you can get a reserved parking permit where only you can park. A few people wanted their reserved parking sign attached to the disabled parking sign..Is this legal in Florida, Pinellas County.

    • Krissa says:

      I’m curious – what’s the motivation for wanting reserved parking signs as well as accessible parking signs? Of course, as a signage company, we’re never going to turn away a few extra informative signs, but parking for people with disabilities is necessarily reserved, since it’s reserved for people with disabilities!

      Perhaps some of the people in your apartment complex simply want to make sure that everyone understands that a disabled parking permit is required to be in place when anyone parks in a reserved spot. In which case, I would say there’s no harm in using a sign that does double-duty and allows for custom wording, such as this one. Hope that helps!

      • Marie L says:

        I live in apartment complex in Virginia. After fighting for MONTHS, I finally got a “Handicapped Parking ONLY” sign in front of my home. (Townhouse apts.) I moved around the corner to a smaller building 19 days ago. The manager has not only NOT moved my sign yet, but she says that ANYONE who lives here can use my space-handicapped or not. She also refuses to paint it at all. With the sign ONLY, the police refuse to ticket, telling me “well you could have put that sign there yourself!” (sure, with my messed up body!) I’m SO frustrated!! I am around the corner and she WON’T move my sign-I’ve called THREE times. She WON’T paint lines, she won’t enforce it’s for handicapped ONLY. I have a Placed and a state ID card stating I own the Placard and I AM handicapped. Please help? HOW can I get her to do what’s RIGHT?? (excuse typos cat on lap) THANK YOU!!

  43. Sue says:

    Hello. My husband is putting up a new building next to an existing building at a tire shop that he runs in Oklahoma. We are having to provide site plans for the city to approve the new building construction…and the parking is becoming a very confusing situation as far as putting it on the drawing for the city. Currently, people pull in to one of the available spots…get their tire changed…and then leave. Do we need to have a handicapped spot in this situation? If so, does it fall under the 8 feet wide plus 8 feet aisle? How long does it have to be? And what is the distance that has to be behind the space for manuevering to back out? Any help would be much appreciated. This is all new to us and trying to find all the dimensions for these regular parking spaces and handicapped parking spaces is really hard to find. Thanks for your help

    • Krissa says:

      Sue, we hate to admit when we’re licked, but this sounds like a question for an ADA coordinator in your area, or a parking lot consultant, since you’re asking about a specific business type (the tire shop) and both new and existing construction, plus local ordinances may be involved when it comes to the clearance for parking spaces.

      Here’s what we can say for certain: the parking for the new building will have to comply with the 2010 standards. They do require a certain number of spaces to be accessible (and then, within those, a certain number must be “van accessible”). Accessible parking spaces do require the access aisle, which can be shared by two accessible spaces, of a minimum of 8 feet. I’m afraid we can’t tell you how long they have to be, or how much clearance they need behind them – that might be up to the city department of buildings or even just the owners, but it’s not specified in the ADA guidelines.

  44. David says:

    I see frequent reference to what is required regarding parking for the handicapped. I would like some information on responsibility for enforcement. A local bar here in Houston Texas removed the signs from the bollards of their designated handicapped spaces so that their patrons could not be ticketed for improperly using those spaces. No one accepts responsibility for enforcement of this ADA violation. I have contacted Parking Enforcement, the mayor’s office, the police and the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. Is the only recourse really to file a complaint with the Department of Justice?

    • Krissa says:

      David, the short and sad answer is that often, appealing to your state DOJ is the only way to resolve ADA compliance with a privately-owned business. The violations that we see rampant around us, particularly when it comes to parking, often don’t get anyone in trouble until someone complains or sues.

      However, I did a little research in Houston (since I’m a Houstonian myself) and it looks like there’s a volunteer parking enforcement program underway this year and this page has contact details for the person in charge of the program. Perhaps they can help shine a light on a more effective means of getting the problem resolved.

  45. Heather says:

    Question: I work for a private company in Ohio. We have two handicap spots in front of our building. We are meeting all of the requirements of ADA. But the same two employees park in these handicap spots every day. It drives me crazy. I’m a new person in Human Resources. Before I make a stink, I was wondering if you could share if there is any law I can advice our ownership – to properly address these abusers.

    • Krissa says:

      Heather, it’s understandable to be frustrated! If those two employees have valid and current disabled parking permits in their cars (usually a sticker or a placard) then of course they’re allowed to park there – but if you’re finding that other employees also need accessible spaces and are routinely not finding them, then it might be a good idea to create more spaces than the minimum required by the ADA.

      However, if those two employees do not have valid permits authorizing them to park there, then they’re just flaunting the law and making life difficult for their fellow employees and for you, the conscientious HR person. That’s definitely worth taking up the chain of command with ownership to find out how they’d like to proceed. Private companies can levy fines and even stronger enforcement (such as towing) against violators, but you might want to check with an experienced property manager because your municipality or even the state may require notice of punitive action before you’re allowed to fine or tow on private property.

  46. Carol says:

    In my town in California, there is a 72 hour parking limit on public streets. Does this apply to autos with HD placards/plates? Does it also apply to ADA spaces on private property? Can private property owners limit the length of time you can stay in the HD space? Thank you for your help.

  47. Patricia Alvarez says:

    I am in Oregon and have a question. I have tried to research the law for someone else. There is a mother who uses an accessible parking permit to pick up her son from school who is in a wheelchair. I know the law is that she is able to park in a space waiting to pick her him but cannot find where it is written……….Any thoughts? Thanks

    • Krissa says:

      Patricia, that’s very helpful of you! You’re absolutely right – so long as her son has a valid disabled parking permit, she can park in the accessible spot while waiting to pick him up, since that counts as transporting someone in a wheelchair:

      The Wheelchair disabled parking permit allows a person with a disability, or another person while transporting the person with a disability to or from the parking location to:

      Park in a public parking zone that has a limit of more than 30 minutes without paying the parking meter fee;

      Park in a public parking zone that has a limit of more than 30 minutes without being charged overtime penalties; or

      Park in any space reserved for disabled parking.
      Local parking authorities may allow these privileges for any disabled parking permit holder. Check with local authorities for regulations governing these fees.

      This is from the Oregon DMV’s website so it should be pretty accurate!

  48. katrina Errant says:

    I have a question that has started a heated debate. Whesat are the rules for having a handicapped parking space in front of your house? I am a village official facing a bit of a controversy. Several people are requesting signage in front of their homes. They have a garage or a drive-way…Do we give them the sign? They never use it, but want to control who parks in front of their homes. If they have reasonable parking and access, are we obligated to provide them the sign and space?

    • Krissa says:

      Katrina, that’s so interesting! As far as we know, private single-family residences aren’t even covered by the ADA (which does address parking issues for residential facilities). If they have a driveway and a garage, they have no reason to have permit-restricted on-street parking for their guests. It seems to me you’re not obligated to alter any existing on-street parking requirements, but you might want to check with your local or state ADA coordinator just to be on the safe side.

  49. D HUIZINGH says:

    Michigan resident.
    Question: In a church parking lot, can the church officials choose to add the words SUNDAY ONLY to all handicapped parking signs? (based upon need or lack thereof the rest of the week).
    If there are special needs outside of Sunday, they can be met satisfactorily without designating spaces for handicapped parking only.
    Thanks for sharing the ADA ruling,

    • Krissa says:

      D, while we understand that it can be difficult to manage different parking needs throughout the week, there’s no provision within the 2010 federal standards for temporary or weekly parking such as “Sunday only”. The church facility is a public accommodation, and as such, they’re required to provide adequate accessible parking based on their lot size, on a permanent basis.

      • RMacleod says:

        I believe churches are exempt from the ADA. Here in MA we have a state code (AAB)that applies to churches, however ADA requirements should not be applied to a church.

        • Conrad Lumm says:

          Thanks so much, RMacleod! I wasn’t aware of this exception, but you’re absolutely right – religious institutions are exempt from the built environment provisions of the ADA (though not the employment provisions). The relevant text is at III-1.5000, 1.5100, and 1.5200 here.

          That only means, though, that churches can’t get into trouble for failing to design their premises with people with disabilities in mind. They should probably do that anyway. The ADA is just a mechanism for enforcing what are already best practices, so just because churches are exempt doesn’t mean they shouldn’t adopt its standards if it’s at all possible for them to do so!

  50. Bryan Shaw says:

    Hello. My wife and I live in an apartment complex in Louisiana. She is disabled and we have a state issued handicapped license plate. The apartment complex has provided a painted/marked parking space for access to our apartment, even placing a no-parking sign behind our vehicle to stop those from blocking my wife from backing out of the assigned parking space. However, some choose to continue to ignore the sign and continue to park behind our space thus making it impossible to access the parking space. What should we do next. Please advise.

    • Krissa says:

      Bryan, it’s unfortunate that parking headaches don’t always get resolved with the right signage! It’s great that your apartment’s management was able to create appropriate accommodations for your wife, as well as extra notification to fellow residents and guests regarding clearance for that space. However, it sounds like they may have to go a step further and start really enforcing the “no parking” sign by towing the offenders. If towing enforcement is the route that the apartment complex chooses to take, they should also check with the local parking enforcement agency and the police department, because they may have to provide explicit signage that explains that towing is a consequence of not following parking rules.

      Good luck! Let us know how it goes.

  51. Betty Frederick says:

    My mother lives in a senio housing building. There are several handicapped parking spaces in front of the building, however they are assigned by number to the tenants. This leaves no handicapped spaces available for visitors or when I pick my mother up.
    Is this legal?

    • Krissa says:

      Betty, it may depend on where you live, as some states have enhanced regulations when it comes to residential facilities, but the federal ADA guidelines state that only when parking is provided to “persons other than residents” (that’s you), does that parking also have to accommodate persons with disabilities. What that means is, if a residential facility actually doesn’t provide parking for guests and all the spots are for residents, only the resident spots have to comply with the minimum number of accessible spaces.

      However, for a senior housing facility, it seems in poor taste not to allow for guests and non-residents – is there a passenger loading zone that is accessible to people with disabilities? You should check with management about where you are expected to park so that your mother can take the “shortest accessible route” from the building to your or her car, regardless of whether you’re a resident.

  52. Bob says:

    Question: (Florida) handicap plates, not placards on both cars.
    Parked in single Handicap Space a little over the Blue Line onto the white access aisle. $250 ticket, Co. Clerk 1st said she could dismiss if we came back w/Registration for correct car and the placard… Returned the next day and w/same which says Name, address & WHC – wheelchair & told it cannot be dismissed & not offered to even be reduced….$250.00 + $10.00 court cost told to pay cashier or opt to go to Court. Owner of Vehicle/Handicapped person was there 1st day. Told he didn’t need to come back 2nd day. But told pay in full or 30 day extension of time or set court date. It’s a lot of money when you really have the correct handicap access and you live on Social Security. Anyone have any ideas on how to get this fine reduced? Clerk said she just had another one that day & had never seen one before. Seems like this county is looking for money from the disabled @ MAX $ Fine!

  53. Carlene says:

    Were you cited for parking outside the line or for parking in a HP space without a placard?

    • Bob says:

      On the lines is what the ticket says….Told @ Courthse. That’s the problem, so they wouldn’t be able to dismiss it for $10. The car has Handicap License PLATES, bolted to the car…..therefore, hanging placard is not needed according to the woman I spoke with today @ DMV/Tax Collectors Office. Which is where the Lady @ the Courthouse told me to go to ask my questions. But, the Lady @ DMV said she couldn’t answer my questions & her Co-Worker handed her a scrap of paper with contact the ADA online written on it. This is the 3rd attempt to get answers..No Luck so far. She said maybe you could try the Sheriff’s Office, since they are the issuer’s of the ticket. Any Suggestions appreciated!

  54. Rhonda says:

    I recently got a ticket for parking in a Handicap access area of a hospital parking garage in Beaumont Texas. I would never do this on purpose and only parked there because from the drivers view out the passenger side of the van no signs were visible and the faded strips were lost in the light shining in from the outside. The signs are positioned on the beam going across the top of the parking space. Since I backed in to the space those were signs were not visible from my view. The ticket is $500. and they will not reduce it nor offer community service. I don’t have the money and have no choice but to fight this. What should be my next step? Also the tickets was written not by a officer but a volunteer. Is there a maximum height the signs can be posted and does the sign have to have specific markings about a fine or towing? And does the access space have to have some marking other than stripes that can be barely seen from the drivers view?

    • Krissa says:

      Rhonda, that sounds really frustrating. I think I may have a few resources that may help you. However, please keep in mind that this doesn’t constitute legal advice in your particular case – we’re just generally pointing you towards the federal and state standards that apply.

      Texas has its own “Texas Accessibility Standards” (TAS), but they’re drawing on the 2010 ADA Standards and to our eye, much of the language that’s relevant to you is the same as the federal standards (which makes sense – states are really only allowed to build upon the federal standards, which serve as the minimum requirements for compliance). You can find the TAS here, but here’s the section on required signage for accessible parking spaces, 502.6:

      502.6 Identification. Parking space identification signs shall include the International Symbol of Accessibility complying with 703.7.2.1. Signs identifying van parking spaces shall contain the designation “van accessible.” Signs shall be 60 inches (1525 mm) minimum above the finish floor or ground surface measured to the bottom of the sign.

      As you can see, it indicates that signs must be at least 60 inches from the ground, but it doesn’t say they can’t be on an overhead beam. It also notes that access aisles “must be marked” but it doesn’t specify what color or how:

      503.3.3 Marking. Access aisles shall be marked so as to discourage parking in them.

      So it sounds to me like the hospital has those minimum requirements in place, but when these signs and floor markings are faded or torn, it results in tickets being written perhaps unfairly, such as a case like yours when you genuinely didn’t see the ticket. It’s a good idea to take photos (even returning to the spot now and taking them may help) to prove your case, which hopefully you can contest before a judge.

      • Rhonda Best says:

        Isn’t there a law about posting fines? This spot has two signs posted on the ceiling beam and faded stripes on a spot between that cant be seen because of the vines growing on a mesh wall.
        There is nothing about fines or fees or towing.

        • Krissa says:


          We couldn’t find anything in the Texas code about required signage for the fine – not every state requires that businesses post the fine amount alongside the accessible parking.

  55. Suzette says:

    Question/Situation – I am renting 1/4 of a YWCA apartment in Lynnwood, WA and was told when I moved in that there was 1 assigned spot for each apartment and its use was based on tenant living there the longest, which obviously was not me. Open parking is very limited and used by tenants and guests alike. Only 1 handicapped spot on the whole property and I was told that it is only for office use, not tenants. I explained that I have a placard and would like to have handicapped parking. Management responded by moving the 1 assigned spot for our apartment to a larger/closer location and said that they would not give us more parking and I would have to fight it out with the “senior” tenant in our apartment over who would park there. That “senior” tenant has made it extremely clear that she will not give up the single assigned spot for our apartment, leaving me still without out HC parking, which is not being marked as HC. There are no HC parking spots for tenants at all or tenants’ visitors, only the one for the office. I have been told that ADA regulations don’t cover apartments and that the YWCA is even more excluded from following the regulations. I don’t know what options I may have, and the inconvenient lack of HC parking will only be worse when the weather gets worse (icy/slippery). What can you suggest?

    • Krissa says:


      This sounds like a frustrating situation. One thing we think we can say for sure, though, is that residential facilities (such as apartment buildings) are definitely covered by the ADA. Section 208.2.3 in the federal ADA Standards says that:

      Where at least one parking space is provided for each residential dwelling unit, at least one parking space complying with 502 shall be provided for
      each residential dwelling unit required to provide mobility features complying with 809.2 through 809.4.

      (That last section that mentions 809.2 is referring to how residential dwelling units must also be ADA compliant in many ways, which usually refers to new construction – this may or may not apply depending on when the YWCA facility was built.)

      Now, your situation is further complicated by the fact that you share your unit with three other people, and thus share that single parking space. We’re not sure how the YWCA’s own policies are coming into play here, regarding seniority of apartment residents, but you might want to try pointing them towards the federal standards referenced above (which you can also find on page 70 of this PDF) regarding requirements for residential facilities.

      The Northwest ADA Center is another resource you may want to tap into:
      Northwest ADA Center: Washington State

  56. Rick says:

    My business is located in a strip mall, and my problem is that customers of the neighboring business (which has several handicapped spaces out front) continue to park in front of my business. This in turn does not allow my handicapped customers access to my business. Is it against the law to place handicapped signs stating reserved for my customers?

    • Krissa says:


      I would check with your state’s specific ADA parking regulations but we’ve never seen a state that prohibits further signage that reinforces the message, and, in fact, some states mandate that you supplement the federal required signs with fine notices.

      You mentioned that this is a strip mall. Is management enforcing which spots are dedicated to which stores, or does the parking lot serve all the stores in the mall? The federal standards have a requirement that businesses with “multiple entrances” (like a strip mall or a regular mall) must evenly distribute accessible spaces throughout the parking facilities to allow for the “shortest accessible route” from parking spot to entrance.

      So while I don’t think state or federal law would necessarily stop you from supplementing the required signage with “reserved” notices, your strip mall management may object, since they may have intended the accessible spaces to serve all the businesses. However, you may be able to make a case with them to designate additional spots as accessible (above the minimum required) if you and your neighboring business are routinely finding your spots full.

  57. D Hanks says:

    Does anyone know if you can park a van that has motorhome accessories in your own driveway with a DAV plate if you live In a homeowners association. Vehicle is used as a second vehicle?

    • Krissa says:


      It probably depends on the rules of your homeowners association first and foremost. Our area of expertise tends to focus on the shared or reserved parking spaces throughout a public or private property.

      Your homeowners association will have different obligations for accessible parking depending on whether or not is has any public amenities (like a management office that’s open to visitors, for instance). We recently wrote a post about residential facilities and the ADA here, which may help you. But I suspect that since it’s a private driveway, the ADA won’t apply – it’ll be up to your association management.

  58. Ruby says:

    My apartment complex has removed the standing signage for the handicapped parking that I use as a result people with out plackards or tags are now using those slots. I have lived in the same apartment for many years and am now having a problem parking is this against ada

    • Krissa says:


      If your apartment building had signs to mark accessible spots, those signs should stay there. That’s very frustrating! We recently wrote a post about apartment buildings and the ADA, because we get so many questions on this subject, maybe it will give you some assistance as you make your case to management: The ADA, FHA, and apartment buildings: your disabled parking rights. But the bottom line is, if they were obligated to create an accessible space, then the sign has to stay there.

  59. Tracy says:

    Is there a way in Ohio to get a Handicap parking place on a resident street. We have called our village with no help.( they only do what they have to, nothing to help its people). Where do I go from here?

    • Krissa says:


      Based on our research, every state has different rules about this. The state of Maryland, for instance, has an application process that’s managed by their DMV that allows residents to petition for an on-street parking space for people with disabilities.

      I was able to find an application for the city of Ohio, so it’s possible that in your state, it’s managed on the city level. Perhaps you should check with your county officials to find out if your area has an application process.

  60. Amy Sov says:

    Hi, I live in a large apartment complex with 3 lots, the lot directly in front of my apartment has 90 spaces and a new rule stating each home can only have one car parked in the lot leaving more than half the spots in this lot empty.Now this lot has only 2 handicapped Spaces assigned neither of them anywhere near my building so my mother has to use our one parking pass to try and find an unassigned spot nearby. I’m a young female in a less than pleasant part of El Cajon and I hate parking half a block away when I get off work late at night.After one shift I was feeling uneasy and parked inside the complex to avoid having to walk the dark street alone and woke to find my car towed costing us a good chunk of money we didn’t have. My Questions are: Is there anyway we can make my apartments add more handicapped spots (having over 76 spots but only 2 marked for handicapped) or even move one closer to our building so my mother doesn’t have to fight to get a spot somewhere near our home? And if that can be achieved, could she park there without fear of towing and have my car use our parking permit?

    • Krissa says:


      We recently wrote a post about residential facilities and the ADA (you can find it here) where we addressed the various rules that govern parking space in apartment complexes. Basically, there’s a minimum number of spaces. In a lot where accessible spaces are required, 2% must be accessible for people with disabilities, with no less that one, so that 90-space lot in front of your apartment complex would only need one space to be compliant.

      Now, the minimums aren’t the maximums – you can always petition the management to provide more spaces, particularly if you can demonstrate the need for more spaces. It sounds like if they have 2 spaces in a 76-space parking lot, they’re already above the minimum, so perhaps they’re receptive to increasing that. One thing that might help is that in the FHA, it discusses the importance of moving the accessible space so that it’s the shortest accessible distance for the resident with disabilities. Good luck!

  61. Joe says:

    I live in a 64 unit apartment building run by the city of Salem Oregon. The building is for people who are 55 Y.O. and older and have limitted finances. The building has appoxemately 60 parking places with only 3 for handicapped parking. There are several people including me who are handicapped and display handicapped placards hanging from their rearview mirrors. Two of these people never move their cars. It is as if they use the handicapped places for storage for their cars.They must have freinds or relatives take them shopping so as to keep their parking places. The main parking is below and there ramps to get to the front of the building which adds to the difficulty if you’re handicapped. The 3 handicappped places are in front of the building. Is it right or legal for them to be hoarding these parking places. I consider it plain oud selfishness.
    Please respond. Joe

    • Krissa says:


      That sounds like a really frustrating situation! Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s addressed in the accessibility requirements – it just says that the spaces must be provided, not how they are to be used. This sounds like an issue that will need to be addressed by your management, particularly since it seems as though your facility has a higher need for accessible spaces.

  62. Trixie says:

    My apartment building made me register for a handicap sign, which I was more than happy to show them the documentation proving I needed such a spot. They put up on rinky sign, and it is only about 2 feet off the ground. People are parking there because they cannot see the sign. The office is also telling people that if i am not parked there, that they can regardless of whether they have a handicap plaque or plate. Which means that anytime i go to the store, mailbox, whatever, someone else can park in my spot with no reprecussions. There is also no space next to the handicap space, so I cannot get my wheelchair out. There is also no ramp. They have me on the 3rd floor. I am unable to get my wheelchair upstairs or use in the apartment. They have rented out all of the handicap apartments, which are smaller than the normal apartments, and have taken down the ramps for them as well. Is there a number that I can call to maybe have a representative from the ada come out and access this?

    • Krissa says:


      This sounds like a very frustrating situation! We recently wrote a blog post about apartment buildings, the ADA, and the Fair Housing Act, which might prove helpful in addressing some of the apartment issues. Here it is: The ADA, FHA, and apartment buildings: your disabled parking rights.

      However, it also sounds like the signage issue is a big problem, and I think there’s a straightforward answer. The 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (which lays out how the ADA is to be applied) states that “Signs shall be 60 inches (1525 mm) minimum above the finish floor or
      ground surface measured to the bottom of the sign.” Sixty inches is five feet off the ground.

      Depending on where you live, you may be able to hire an ADA Access Specialist to come help you resolve some of these issues. For instance, here’s the information about Access Specialists in California. Good luck!

  63. stewie says:

    Does NH have on street parking space regulations, meaning, is a city or town required to provide on street HP spaces at apartments that are grandfathered in since they were built before 1990, and refuse to do so?

    Secondly, isn’t this 1990 grandfathering a bit discriminatory considering disabilities existed long before 1990, and these people have the same needs

    • Krissa says:


      In fact, you’re correct – there is no “grandfathering” with the ADA. Buildings built before 1990, if at all possible, are required to make accommodations, which is referred to as “removing barriers to access” when “readily achievable.” This isn’t as easy as it sounds, of course, since some buildings can’t retrofit in an elevator, so that wouldn’t be considered “readily achievable.” However, parking is one of those issues that’s often easily resolved by changing signage, building access aisles, and creating ramped curbs.

      As per your question about on-street parking, our research shows that this is often handled by the city government or the state DMV. We couldn’t find a definitive answer on whether NH has any process for residential disabled parking spaces, but we found this PDF about parking for people with disabilities in New Hampshire; it lists the contact details for the state ADA Specialist, and they may be able to answer your question.

  64. makaha says:

    Our condo is private property. Can we put a time limit on a handi cap stall in our 15 minute parking stall

    • Krissa says:


      Typically, residential facilities come under either the ADA or the Fair Housing Act when it comes to requiring ADA parking (we recently wrote a post about that distinction, you can find it here) but we don’t see any reference to time limits in any of the requirements.

  65. Eric Hamrey says:

    Can a dirt parking lot with ADA signage be accepted for a ADA parking lot, or space??

    • Krissa says:


      If your parking lot serves a public accommodation (like a restaurant, a store, or a church) it has to be ADA compliant, and that typically does require elements like permanent painted lines, curb ramps, and access aisles. All those requirements are presuming that the parking lot is paved, since a paved parking lot can be made level and free of hazards, so it may be that your parking lot is not compliant.

      If you’ve created a dedicated, reserved space (and somehow marking a wide enough ‘access aisle’ area on either side of the space), it seems to me that you’re doing your best to create access for people with disabilities.

      That’s just my common-sense reading of the situation, though. An ADA access specialist or coordinator might disagree with me, though, which could leave you open to complaints or litigation.

  66. M. Hayden says:

    Can an employer tell an employee not to use his handicap placard or handicap parking while on duty? The employee has a state issued handicap placard .

    • Krissa says:


      I think we would need more information in order to help you out. What do you mean by “on duty” (i.e., do you mean police or public service duty)? As far as we know, employers are not allowed to determine how and when an employee uses their disability parking permit (other than assigning spaces for each employee), but this would be an issue to raise with HR; we can’t provided specific legal advice when it comes to employee relations.

  67. Rhonda Lowry says:

    I live in Ohio and am a temporary employee. The firm where I am working has a large parking lot and many handicap access spaces, the problem is most of those spaces are also reserved for employees. As a result,there is only 4 handicap spaces available for people like me. Is it legal to reserve a handicap spot in Ohio?

  68. Chuck says:

    I live in Nebraska smaller city my question is: are ther any regulations dealing with blocking handicap parking? Some merchants block their handicap parking stalls with sale items, outdoor furniture, plant sales and etc. To make this worse the Chamber of Commerce has events on main street and blocks off handicap parking with bleachers when this is brought to their attention they reply that it is for only a couple of days. Can anything be done?

    • Conrad Lumm says:

      If the shutdown ever ends, give the Nebraska branch of the Department of Justice a call. They can be found at:

      Blocking accessible parking may be legal under some circumstances, but if blocking the spots brings a building down below the federal minimums for the number of accessible spots, then it’s possible the law is being broken.

  69. sean murphy says:

    I am in Cali and residential complex just painted over handicap areas. What is the minimum # a residential complex has? There are over 460 units and are broken down into smaller residential buildings. I looked into it and say it is 1 handicap parking per residential building. Please help…

    • Krissa says:


      Issues of accessible parking at residential facilities can get very complicated, depending on the type of facility and what federal law applies. We wrote a post about the distinctions between the ADA and the Fair Housing Act here:

      However, since you said you’re in California, you may be able to find more information with the Division of the State Architect’s Access Compliance program:

      It’s interesting that your complex had handicapped parking spaces and painted over them. I’m curious: what reason they gave for the removal of those spaces?

  70. Duanne says:

    ADA parking, some states say it has to have sign and not on ground to in force parking.
    Our schools use or block off handicap parking in order to stage buses for pick up or drop off kids. Is this allowed? My understanding ADA parking is that no for other uses.
    They also block off when band practices cuz they use parking lot so band don’t ruin the football field.

    • Krissa says:


      You’re correct that parking that’s designated for people with disabilities shouldn’t be used for any other purpose; it’s meant to be accessible! The federal standards mandate that signage “no less than 60 inches from the ground” be in place so people can see which spaces are accessible, and depending on your state or municipality, ground stenciling or painted lines might be additionally required.

      We’re also not surprised to hear that a school would cordon off some of that prime parking real estate for other, temporary uses, but they shouldn’t. Staging areas, particularly if they’re doing that every day, should be in a separate no-parking zone.

  71. Darlene Stotts says:

    I am a new host for a R.V. Park. There are about 40 R.V sites to our camp ground! I was looking for the rules and regulation, so I can accommodate the handicap. I was looking for how many handicap sites I need and the accommdations, so I can do the best work possible!

    • Krissa says:


      This is such an interesting question! There’s actually no mention of RV parking in the federal requirements for accessible parking. However, we see plenty of state and national parks that advertise their campgrounds and RV parks as “accessible.” This presumably means there is a level surface and accessible paths to the facilities (and providing ADA-compliant restrooms). But we’re not sure about complying with the “shortest accessible route”, which would mean reserving specific parking spaces for RV travelers with disabilities.

      We did find that the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds addresses ADA requirements on their site:

      That may be a helpful starting place, even if you’re not in CA. There’s also a national association for RV parks, that may prove helpful for members:

  72. Darlene Stotts says:

    looking for rules and regulation for the R.V. park I am running next year. I want to do my best at my new job! I noticed we don’t have handicap area!

  73. Pam says:

    I just moved to a small town and I take my grandson to public school in the morning…I have been told I can’t park in the parking lot where the handicap spaces are available…some days it is hard to get a street parking place close to the entrance and I have to walk as the weather gets colder my arthritis gets worse..I spoke to the office and was told that I couldn’t park in the spaces but I could drop him off across the street and the safety patrol will make sure he arrives safely. I would prefer to stay with him as there is a protection order in place against his father. I feel like my rights are being violated. Are they?

    • Conrad Lumm says:

      Hi, Pam! We’re far from qualified for answering questions that are too specific, but I can give you a few pointers.

      If you don’t have an accessible parking placard (the familiar hangtag with the wheelchair symbol on it), your grandson’s school can’t give you access to accessible parking spots, even if you have a disability. You have to go through the process first.

      The process is pretty easy, though – talk to your family doctor or local DMV about getting a placard. It’s usually inexpensive and problem-free, though that depends on where you live and your physical condition. In most if not all states, severe arthritis that limits your mobility will qualify you for a placard, allowing you to access the spots close to the entrance. Good luck!

  74. BJD says:

    My dad lives in a senior independent apartment. He said they sent a notice to all residents that their handicap parking spaces will now be used just for loading and unloading things. Even though it still says handicap, they are not allowed to park there. Is this legal for them to do?

    • Conrad Lumm says:

      BJD, take everything I say with a grain of salt, because I don’t know the wording of the notice or any real detail on the situation, but you’re right – that sounds legally questionable. The only thing that qualifies anyone to occupy or otherwise block an accessible parking space is, well, a qualifying disability. I’d give your state’s Department of Justice a jingle and see what they say. Be ready to email or fax them a copy of the note. Good luck.

  75. Roger says:

    I relocated here to Ct. from Va. and I’m amazed at the lack of H/Parking spaces there are . Lots of smaller places have none at all .. I don’t understand how they get away with that . Even a 7/11 store back home always had 2 or 3 spots .. And a small strip mall here with a Bed bath and beyond and a Friendly’s and a national yogurt chain plus many other stores has maybe 5 scatter across what has to be 500 spot’s I’m just amazed that this state can do that ..

  76. College Student says:

    I attend a public university in MD. Today I received a parking citation for parking in a handicap spot because I did not have my vehicle registered with parking services. I have a state issued disability placard which was displayed. My question is can they, the university, force me to purchase a university parking permit to park in the handicap designated parking spots even though I have a state issued placard? I can see them giving me a permit but I do not think I should have to pay to park in a space I am legally allowed to park in?

    • Krissa says:

      I would check with the Maryland ADA Coordinator on this, because it sounds like the problem is whether you can be charged for parking by the university’s usual parking permit system:

      There are typically many variances from state to state, and even municipally, on whether people with a disability placard have to pay for on-street parking, but we’re not sure how this extends to off-street properties, and particularly a university which has an established parking permit system.

  77. Harvey Scherr says:

    I live in a condominium in Baltimore County, MD. There are numerous elderly and disabled persons living here. Our parking lot, which is private property, has two disabled parking spaces, far inadequate for the number of handicap residents competing for them. I have requested to the condominium board of directors, that additional handicap spaces be added, to no avail. They have stonewalled me saying that there are regulations from the county, regulating the number of spaces. I have contacted the county and the MVA, they don’t seem to have an answer. So, please help me to determine what is required to add additional spaces on private property in Baltimore County, Maryland. Thank you

    • Krissa says:


      That’s a tough situation. It sounds like the condo board isn’t accommodating anything above the minimum required accessible parking needs. Baltimore County has an ADA Coordinator’s office that might be able to resolve whether your condo should be offering more spaces because of demonstrated demand, or give you specific advice on how to compel more designated spaces in your condominium’s parking lot with demonstrated demand:

      It’s also worth looking into the federal Fair Housing requirements as they pertain to parking for private residences, since that law does mention the need to provide extra spaces above the minimum as needed by residents:

  78. James Ramsey says:

    In Arizona there is an apartment complex that has put an apartment number on a handicapped parking space and I got a note on my vehicle that said to park somewhere else this space is reserved for a specific apartment I have a handicapped license plate on my vehicle, can they do this? And if not please provide ststute , or quote the law as I can’t find the answer anywere. Thank you, Jim

    • Krissa says:


      According to the 2010 federal ADA Standards, residential facilities are allowed to assign assigned accessible spaces to correspond with tenants with disabilities. However, any residential facility that provides un-assigned parking, as well (for instance for employees, visitors, etc) must make sure that there are accessible parking spaces among those un-assigned spots, in accordance with the minimums outlined in this blog post. Similarly, if the parking lot contains more than one space per apartment, then 2 percent of the total spaces need to be accessible. We recommend taking a closer look at the residential facilities section of the Standards, here, in particular Section 208.2.3:

      This may help you determine if the apartment complex in question is in compliance with the federal laws.

  79. shelby says:

    I am wanting to find out what the law is in Texas about a handicap sign being covered. Can a ticket be issued even with the handicap sign being covered?

    • Krissa says:


      Do you mean the sign that designates the spot as accessible/handicapped is being covered up, so that it’s not visible? As far as we know, there’s no reason a publicly-accessible space (for instance an on-street parking spot) should be covered in that way. If the sign was on private or commercial property, it shouldn’t have been covered up either, but we would be less surprised – private lot managers have been known, as you can see in this thread alone, to remove accessible spaces temporarily for all kinds of spurious reasons!

      If you received a ticket from the municipal authority, hopefully you were able to document the covered-up sign and you should take that with you to protest the ticket.

  80. Ellie says:

    My mom lives in an independent living senior housing complex in California that is federally funded. My mom is disabled and doesn’t drive so I need to pick her up and drop her off. I park in the handicap parking spot and sometimes a regular resident only parking spot with a placard hanging. The handicap sign does say “residents only” (she is a resident but was not given a permit because she doesn’t own a car) but according to what DMV has written on the information sheet we were given it says that we can park in a resident permit parking spot (handicap or not) as long as we properly display the placard. However, I received a warning that I will be towed. When I confronted the manager all she said was “we are private property” no other explanation. However, when I search for an answer I cannot find I am not allowed to park there when providing a ride for my mom. The blue international handicap sign says if we do not properly hand the placard we can be towed. So, this mean if we hang it (resident or not, it doesn’t specify) we can park there. Can you help me with this? Or where to look for the answers? I don’t want to be towed but I don’t want to park on the street either, this is quite difficult.

    • Krissa says:


      What a frustrating situation for you and your mother. These private-property, resident-assigned parking problems are some of the trickiest ones we hear about, and honestly, we think there’s a lot of misinformation that gets passed along through management companies. We wrote a post about the ADA and FHA requirements when it comes to providing accessible parking for residents, just to give you some background on the different federal laws that apply here:

      It sounds like you’ve got conflicting information from the DMV regarding where you can park (any spot, regardless of resident-only restrictions) and you’re getting pushback on that very question from the property management.

      Luckily, you’re in California, which has some of the strictest (and most litigious) ADA compliance in the country. We recommend you check with your county or city government – most of the counties and municipalities in CA have a designated ADA coordinator who perhaps can provide more clarity on whether resident-only restrictions apply to you, and in your case, whether your mother should be granted a resident space even though she herself doesn’t drive, in order to accommodate her transportation needs.

  81. Ashley Pierce says:

    I flew to Washington state with my mother. We rented a car and used my mother’s handicap placard form Arizona. I parked in a handicapped space & used the Arizona placard and received a $450 ticket. Is Washington state reciprocal in accepting placards from other states? Also sighted for parking 1 foot over the crosshatch yellow lines within my space. If I am in a van accessible space and the crosshatching is specifically designated for that space, do I not have the right to park any way I choose within the confines of that space to loan/unload my disabled passengers?

    • Krissa says:


      That’s really frustrating! While this doesn’t constitute specific legal advice, we were curious about reciprocity too, since it varies from state to state. So we did a little digging in the Washington Code of Regulations, and we found the relevant section that states that reciprocity will be upheld for placards issued in other states:

      A special license plate or card issued by another state or country that indicates that an occupant of a vehicle has disabilities entitles the vehicle on or in which it is displayed and being used to transport the person with disabilities to lawfully park in a parking place reserved for persons with physical disabilities pursuant to chapter 70.92 RCW.”


      You’ll probably have to prove to the court that you hold a valid placard issued by Arizona, in order to protest the ticket.

      “If a person is charged with a violation, the person will not be determined to have committed an infraction if the person produces in court or before the court appearance the placard or special license plate issued under this chapter as required under this chapter.”


      Hope this helps! We’re not sure about the citation for parking in the cross-hatched access aisle, however. That’s usually there just to make sure there’s wide-enough access for doors and exit devices for the cars, and sometimes those aisles are permissible for sharing between two adjacent stalls, so that citation might well be valid.

  82. nontribalvet says:

    I work for a Tribal casino. We park in a lot purchased by the Tribe, but which is in public area. There are 7 handicap spots that the tribe is saying is for customers only and that employees with disabilities cannot use. 5 spots are allocated to customers only and the other 2 were initially allocated for employees,then the 2 were taken away. At this point, there are 0 employee handicap spots, but everyone is afraid to speak up in fear of loosing his or her job. By telling us that if we do not adhere to their employee mandated parking that there will be consequences from either the Tribal Chairman or the Tribal Council. Sounds to me like they are breaking the law. If I have a handicap plate and hanger are I not entitled to park in any designated handicap spot?
    I think they should all be locked up for awhile to think about it.
    One pissed off employee…

  83. Daniel R. says:

    This scenario occurs in Texas in a apartment complex:
    Parked (unknowingly because it was late on New Years Eve) in a parking space with a disabled symbol stencil on the ground.
    There is no sign and no access area to either side of the parking spot. And up until a few weeks ago this spot was an ordinary parking spot; stencil was recently painted. A person in a nearby apartment validated this. However, local law enforcement wrote a ticket for parking in a disabled parking spot.
    I’ve already plead innocent and have a court date in a couple of weeks. Looking for some validation that because the parking spot does not meet the guidelines of section 5 of the 2013 ADA then it cannot be enforced with a $500 ticket.

    • Daniel R says:

      Update: case was dismissed. After requesting a court hearing the officer who wrote the ticket was obviously informed he was going to have to show up in court and defend writing the ticket. So, he went back out to the apartment complex and realized the parking spot was not “properly” marked.

      • Debbie Moore says:

        Glad this came to a favorable resolution, Daniel! We were just about to answer your question, too… sorry it took us so long to get to it. 🙂

  84. Timothy LaPlante says:

    Would it be permissible to display your handicap CARD by setting it on the dash and letting the top lay against the windshield (reason is no mirror / wiring harness to big for card hanger)?

  85. Timothy LaPlante says:

    would it be permissible to display your handicap card by setting it on the dash and letting the top lay against the windshield(reason no mirror/ wiring harness to big for card hanger).

    • Krissa says:


      Yep, you’re fine placing the placard on your dashboard if there’s no rearview mirror — most state DMV language provides for that situation. In fact, you’re never supposed to drive with the placard hanging from the rearview mirror anyway, since it impedes visibility.

  86. Gregg says:

    The parking lot where my business is located has been undergoing construction for over six months. There are no handicapped parking spots although the parking lot is designed to accommodate approx. 75 cars. Is there a time frame that states construction needs to be completed and the parking area to meet ADA requirements?

    • Krissa says:


      Construction is usually a tricky area — we’ve seen a few mentions in advisory notices posted by the DOJ, but it’s not written into the text of the law. What we’ve seen is language stating that if parking lots are undergoing renovation, then “reasonable accommodation for accessible spaces must be made.” However, in practice, we hear a lot of complaints that accessible spaces get used for building materials or construction vehicles for months on end, rendering them useless to the residents or occupants.

      We recommend you check with your state or county ADA coordinator or disability advocacy group to find out what you can do in your situation.

  87. JB says:

    I just moved into a large apartment complex in Charlotte, NC. I have a 4 yr old child who is permanently disabled and we have a parking placard issued by the state of NC. Most of the buildings in the complex have plenty of parking spots, including one or two handicap spots right in front. Unfortunatly, the bldg that I was assigned to has only six spots for 24 apartments and none of them are designated for handicapped. When I noticed this, I explained the situation and asked to be given an apartment in a bldg with handicap parking available, but was told that no other apartment was available. My question is whether or not the complex is required to provide a spot that is reserved for handicap in front of each building? Thank you!

    • Krissa says:


      You’re correct; federal law mandates via the Fair Housing Act that when a residential complex comprises of several buildings, there must be accessible parking along the “shortest accessible route” to that building, where each separate parking lot must meet the minimum designated spaces. In a parking lot with six spaces, then, one would have to be designated accessible.

      We’re not sure what the requirements on management would be to move you to a more suitable apartment, however. For that, we recommend you get in touch with the North Carolina Disability Advocacy group:

      They have resources about housing requirements in North Carolina and case workers than can help you figure out how to resolve the problem. Good luck!

  88. mg says:

    I want to know what the law says about camping why does my disabled child need a placard for a campsite I do not think of a campsite as a parking space so why is it that I need a placard or plate when she has a disability pass?We live in California can you give me ADA or DMV and or State Parks codes and or statutes in regards to this requirement?

    • Krissa says:


      California does have accessibility requirements for their campsites that are very similar to their parking requirements — and similarly require a placard or plate in order to use them. The accessible campsites are supposed to be clearly marked with signage displaying the International Symbol of Accessibility, because those campsites have the required sloping, access aisles, accessible picnic tables and/or RV hookups as required.


  89. Linea says:

    I am just curious if the ADA gives disabled persons a right of action if a notorious big box store expands its operations but does not also expand the amount of handicapped parking spaces.

    • Conrad Lumm says:

      Hi, Linea- whether anyone has a “right of action” depends on the state and the circumstance. In some states (notably California), people with disabilities have standing to sue over ADA noncompliance and keep any winnings, but in most states, they don’t. We’re not lawyers here, so we’ll let others explain that.

      I can tell you unequivocally that the big box store is only required to expand their accessible parking spaces if the total number of parking spaces grows. The reason is that the number of accessible spots is always a ratio with a minimum. In other words, for example, they might (for example) be required to have at least one spot, or 5% of their total parking spots, whichever is more. The precise numbers depend on your state.

      If their parking hasn’t grown overall or has only added a handful of spots, you may be out of luck, but you can’t go from 10 spots to 100 without adding accessible parking – the federal government has set minimums. It depends on the numbers involved, though.

      If you’re concerned that a business is noncompliant, I would definitely call your state Department of Justice. They’ll be happy to give you guidance on how to file paperwork if an infraction is occurring, and they’re usually really attentive to this kind of thing.

  90. Alan says:

    If a space in California was once a handicapped space but no longer is (there is NO UPRIGHT SIGN, the wheelchair symbols on the ground are faded to the point where you can hardly recognize them, the lines around the space are white not blue), is it still considered a handicapped space because the wheelchairs on the ground are still recognizable?
    Also who is responsible for making sure all ADA requirements are met, the retailer who is a tenant or the landlord who owns and operates the parking lot?

  91. Alan says:

    By the way, AMAZINGLY, when I called the ADA to get a clarification on this the representative who I spoke with literally said “I don’t know” and when I asked her if she could ask someone else if they knew or get someone else to speak with me about it, she just remained totally silent.

    • Conrad Lumm says:

      Hi, Alan, we’re definitely going to take a look at your question, but before we do, can you let us know what office you called, exactly? The ADA (or Americans with Disabilities Act) is a body of law, not an entity – did you check with the California Department of Justice, which is usually in charge of such issues?

  92. Cecile Caswell says:

    I live in an independent living senior citizen apartment complex. There are many handicapped (placard and license plate) resident drivers. There are the number of handicapped designated spaces as required by city, county, and/or state law but not an adequate number to meet the needs of handicapped residents. The management says they meet the law and are not allowed to add spaces. Could this be true, that there are a maximum number of spaces?

    • Krissa says:


      There isn’t a maximum number of spaces. The federally-mandated parking spaces, as required generally by the ADA and for residential buildings by the Fair Housing Act, are minimums, not maximums.

      We wrote a post about this that might shed some light on the question of residential accessible parking:

      Specifically, the Fair Housing Guidelines provide language that allows renters or buyers at multifamily units to request parking, and allows that owners or operators to move parking from one section of the property to another as long as needs are met and minimums are maintained:

      Requested Parking Spaces. If buyers or renters request an accessible space at the time of first sale or rental, it may be necessary to provide additional accessible parking spaces if the two percent are already reserved. These must be offered on the same terms and with the full range of choices offered other residents, i.e., surface, garage, or covered parking. If the spaces that make up the two percent count are not being used by residents with disabilities, such space(s) may be moved to a resident requested location near a building or unit entrance. These new parking spaces must be on an accessible route including curb ramps.

      (Source: Section 2.23)

      As it says there, “it may be necessarily to provide additional accessible parking spaces if the two percent are already reserved.” This refers to the moment of “first sale or rental,” that is, when a new tenant with accessibility needs first moves in — but it does sound like your complex is already underserved in parking so it would be worth reminding the management of this passage.

  93. Jim Johnson says:

    I live at an apartment complex for the disabled & elderly. The parking policy is first come first serve. There are those of us who cannot drive due to disability or age. We have no parking spaces and have to walk around nonhandicap guests & residents. It seems like our civil rights are being violated due to our disabilities through this parking rule. Yes I know if a doctor signs a form, accommodations must be met but I feel the rule itself is a violation of civil rights for many disable & elderly residents. A lack of equality.

    • Krissa says:


      That sounds very frustrating. As I noted above to Cecile, this is a common situation, but it’s particularly jarring to hear how many senior residential complexes are not properly serving their residents’ needs with accessible parking!

      We wrote a post about this that might shed some light on the question of residential accessible parking:

      Specifically, the Fair Housing Guidelines provide language that allows renters or buyers at multifamily units to request parking, and allows that owners or operators to move parking from one section of the property to another as long as needs are met and minimums are maintained:

      Requested Parking Spaces. If buyers or renters request an accessible space at the time of first sale or rental, it may be necessary to provide additional accessible parking spaces if the two percent are already reserved. These must be offered on the same terms and with the full range of choices offered other residents, i.e., surface, garage, or covered parking. If the spaces that make up the two percent count are not being used by residents with disabilities, such space(s) may be moved to a resident requested location near a building or unit entrance. These new parking spaces must be on an accessible route including curb ramps.

      (Source: Section 2.23)

      Of particular relevance to you, it says “it may be necessarily to provide additional accessible parking spaces if the two percent are already reserved.” The clause refers to the moment of “first sale or rental,” that is, when a new tenant with accessibility needs first moves in. However, if your complex is first-come, first-served (that is, not reserved) parking, you should still bring this to the attention of management — the clause makes clear that there are no maximums for accessible parking, only minimums.

  94. Todays article “No excuses for illegally parking in a disabled parking space” is accompoanied by an odd looking picture. Can you tell me where less than five foot wide access aisle is allowed between stalls?



    • J. Gregory says:

      In our town, on street Handicap Parking is downsized from Ten to One Sign, and people that are not Handicapped are parking in that one. I have pictures of it. i can’t get Dept. of justice to return my phone calls. Mayor, Street Comm. & Police Chief do not do anything. Why do I pay taxes, in this town, for them just give themselves raises !

  95. Leigh Bain says:

    Hi, I didn’t have time to read all these replies so I’m sorry if I’m posting something that has been answered already. I’m in Texas in an apartment complex where the manager states it’s private property, she can do what she wants with handicap spots. The problemis she is letting anyone park in then from empires doing work in the building because that spot is the closes to the building and strangers, she refuses to call the police or even the tow person. When I went in to report an employee was parked illegally I was shocked for her to shrug and say “So? This is private property, we can do what we want with those spots, we own them” I’m appalled they would take this stance, they have zero can spots and only one per group of 20 spots that are handicap on average. What can I do to get my message across they are in gross violation!

    • Krissa says:


      The manager is most likely incorrect — unless your apartment complex was built before 1991, it must comply with the Fair Housing Act, which is a federal law with stipulations about providing accessible parking for multi-dwelling units if parking is provided. It doesn’t matter that it’s “private property,” if the complex is required to provide accessible parking for its residents and visitors if it provides any parking at all.

      We wrote a whole blog post about how the FHA provides for accessible parking, which you can find here but generally, you’re correct — maintenance workers cannot park in designated spots, neither can other residents without placards. Those spots may well be first-come, first-serve, according to the FHA, but they must be marked as reserved and they must be comply with minimums, including for van accessible spaces (see here, Section 2.23, for those numbers).

  96. angel avila says:

    I have a question. Can a venue such as an amphitheater or concert site, block off handicap parking spaces and sell them as VIP parking and force people with disabled placards to park off site and park further away ?

    • Debbie Moore says:

      Hi, Angel – they definitely can’t! That’s patently illegal. You should let whomever is doing this know that they’re in violation of federal law. They can charge for accessible parking, but only if they’re charging everyone else, and no spot designated as accessible parking can be used for anything other than that – ever, until the building or parking lot is torn down!

  97. Mary Minard says:

    Last year, the principal at our private school removed 4 handicapped parking spaces from the front of the school and turned them into parking for the principal and other administrators. We have a 100 space parking lot, and now there are NO handicapped parking spaces at all on school property. Unbelievable. How do I file a complaint and with whom to make him provide handicapped parking on school property?

    • Debbie Moore says:

      Mary, that depends on where you are. In most states, you would call your state Department of Justice. That’s usually the case, but sometimes the state Department of Transportation is responsible. In California, someone with standing (i.e., who has a disability) can talk to a lawyer about filing suit on their behalf, and the plaintiff keeps some of the funds as damages.

      For the record, it sounds like the principal has done something blatantly illegal, and in violation of federal law. Good luck!

  98. CATHERINE says:

    Good morning,

    I work in Chicago, Il at a building where the parking lot is across the side street and all of the handicapp spaces are at the end of the huge lot. I then have to walk from the far end of the parking lot to the main street and half way down the main street to get in the building. This is a very painful walk for me. I have had our director of facilities speak with the building owner to have some spaces moved. He says that he is in compliance with the law by having the spaces and will not make changes to them to have some spaces at the closet end of the lot to the entrance of the building. Is he in violation?

    • Krissa says:


      If the parking lot is owned by the building and the parking therein is provided for building employees, then you’re correct — a percentage of the parking spaces should be accessible spaces, and those should be on the closest accessible path to the office building. You can refer the building owner to this document, published by the ADA on how to update parking lots to meet the ADA standards:

      Accessible parking spaces must be located on the shortest accessible route of travel to an accessible facility entrance. Where buildings have multiple accessible entrances with adjacent parking, the accessible parking spaces must be dispersed and located closest to the accessible entrances.

  99. lee says:

    In a condo private complex are you required to have a wheelchair ramp to access all of the common area on the property. There are steps now.

    • Krissa says:

      It usually depends on the building, but if it was built or remodeled after 1991, then the Fair Housing Act requires all common spaces to be accessible. We wrote a post here about how the FHA affects parking requirements, but there are resources there that talk more broadly about the FHA’s requirements for common spaces as well. Hope that helps!

  100. Sarah says:

    I live in San Diego California. At our elementary school we have more than the required number of handicapped spots. We also have a number of marked reserve spots for the Principal, Vice Principal etc. plus a few VIP spots for parents. We have handicapped placard people parking in the VIP spots when the handicapped spots fill up. Is this allowed?

    • Debbie Moore says:

      Hi, Sarah-

      That’s frustrating. Rules like assigned parking are usually easier to implement than they are to enforce, and schools’ public-private status also muddies matters.

      I can tell you a few things:

      There’s certainly no right to take up assigned parking spots just because accessible parking is full; the law seems to expect additional drivers with disabilities simply to cruise the lot, wait patiently or go away until an appropriate spot opens up.

      If people are parking in reserved parking spots, the question becomes, can you enforce your parking signs, and if so what is required? After looking into it a bit, it appears that in California, although schools are publicly funded, the people running those schools have the right to set parking policy and enforce it as though the property is private. What this means is that you can under some circumstances have cars towed away if they’re parked in contradiction of your clearly stated policies, including reserved signage. I am warning you now, towing in California can be a sticky issue (due to a history of predatory towing), and you can be hit with lawsuits for towing if the law doesn’t say you can, so you should DEFINITELY check with a lawyer just to make sure you know exactly what your policies should be.

      California also requires you to put up signs notifying people of the towing company you intend to use and how to get their car back. California’s towing laws are complicated relative to other states, so I highly recommend a chat with your district’s legal counsel; there are exceptions, and we can’t and don’t know all of your circumstances. The law is here:

  101. Barbara Christian says:

    My car is parked in a clearly labeled handicap parking spot at ATT private lot. It specifies that the placard must be displayed or the vehicle will be towed. In less than 1 hr upon return, the gate was locked. There is no contact info to get my vehicle out. Please advise!

    • Krissa says:


      How frustrating! I hope you were able to find the management and get your car freed from the lot — as a customer/visitor to the business, you should have been notified if they were closing!

      Private lots are notoriously bad about providing informative signage about their opening and closing hours, and unfortunately signage for hours of operation and towing are not typically required by law for private lots (although check with your municipality if you want to confirm).

  102. Bob G. says:

    Could someone please answer a question for me?

    I belong to a private community in the mountains and we have 4 beautiful lakes on our property. Other than common sense and compassion, should we be required to make one of our lakes accessible to persons with handicaps?

    Thank you


    • Krissa says:


      What an interesting question! Actually, there’s a lot of variance when it comes to making aspects of our public parks accessible. For instance, the National Parks Service states that they do comply with section 507 of the ADA, and endeavor to make federal wilderness areas as accessible as possible. And New York City has taken measures to make waterfront areas accessible by using mobility mats for beaches and chair lifts at pools.

      However, private residential dwellings are a whole other kettle of fish! We’d have to look more deeply into what requirements exist for communal features of private communities such as yours. Can you elaborate a little on whether you’re interested primarily in shoreline/water access, or recreational access such as boating or water sports? Also, let us know where in the country you are, because we may be able to provide you with some specific details about your state’s regulations, if any.

  103. Bill P says:

    We lease a building to the state of Ca. It has a small parking lot with one handicap space.The lot has one designated entrance lane and one designated exit lane.Do we need a handicapped sign at the street for both lanes ?

    • Krissa says:

      Hey Bill,

      I’m not sure exactly what you mean by signs at both lanes. Do you mean signs that indicate that there’s available accessible parking within the lot, or signs that warn pedestrians that there are entering and exiting traffic lanes? Let us know what message particularly you’re asking about.

      The one thing we DO know about California signage is that you’re required to have a sign making clear that you tow unauthorized vehicles parking in accessible spaces without the requisite placard or plates. They look like this: and we sell those, here.

      But do let us know if there’s some other entrance/exit signage requirement that you’re thinking of, and we’ll do our best to research it and get back to you!

  104. Kerry Davis says:

    I work for a company whose parking lot is across high volume train tracks and a street. There access to the campus is into a tunnel and back up stairs. I currently have a non-union Sternum and had been parking inside the campus. The new manager of OHS has made a decision that there is no parking inside the campus. It has been available for a long time, but now is not. The only “handicap Parking” in the company is approximately .4 miles from my building. Are there regulations that address issues concerning mine?

    • Krissa says:


      This sounds like a frustrating and unwelcome change! We’ll do our best to help.

      The broad answer is this — under the federal ADA standards, parking for employees must adhere to the accessibility requirements, which cover what the spaces should look like, how many there should be, and where they should be located. Employers are required to adhere to the ADA standards because they’re “commercial entities.” They must provide parking spaces designed according to accessible parking specifications (access aisles, ramps to the sidewalk, signage), they must provide an adequate amount of that parking (the minimum is usually 2% of the total parking spaces).

      But it’s the location requirements that sound like they’ll be the most important part for you:

      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 to the entrance.

      2. For 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.

      I’ve put bold emphasis on the parts I think are relevant, based on your description. It sounds like they’ve put you in a farther parking lot which doesn’t serve any one particular building (or it doesn’t serve your building) and if there are stairs involved, it’s already not “accessible.”

      I would talk to the property manager or your HR department, if applicable. If you have a valid state-issued accessibility placard, they should be able to accommodate you in a lot that’s at least on an accessible route (if not the shortest route adjacent to your building). At the very least, they may need to provide shuttle transport if they require you to park in a farther lot.

  105. David Bond says:

    Do you know the Law (California)regarding blocking an entrance to Handicap Parking Lot? The company I work for Blocks the entrance to Handicap Parking Lot everyday 30 minutes prior to the end of the work shift.

    • Krissa says:


      This is a good question. Generally, private lots can and do create their own opening and closing hours — employee parking lots are definitely considered private in this way.

      However, it sounds like they’re closing one part of the parking lot earlier than the rest, which is baffling and possibly constitutes a breach of the parking requirements. Are there employees who park in these accessible spaces? Are those employees permitted to depart with their vehicles from the lot — while other arriving employees are blocked from using it at a specific time?

      The federal standards clearly state that parking lots must provide permanent accessible parking and while they don’t stipulate anything about lot opening and closing hours, the purpose of these spaces are that they remain accessible to anyone with a documented need permanently, that is, any time parking is generally available.

      We recommend talking to management about why these spaces are being blocked or cordoned off every day — if you’re an employee that needs access to those spaces at any point during your shift, you should generally be allowed to use them.

  106. EDGAR says:

    dont have any available parking for no one. everyone parks on street. its a towing company trucks in and out all day. should i need to provide parking inside my lot. the lot is all dirt and gravel never payved.

    • Krissa says:


      This is an interesting question! There are a couple of things to consider here.

      1) Unpaved lots with accessible spaces: This has actually come up before, and we’ll be honest — the law seems to us to require paved spaces, and it doesn’t address how to modify unpaved lots to accommodate that requirement, so it would seem that unpaved lots are NOT in compliance. The design standards state that the accessible parking spaces themselves must be paved and level, and so must the path from those spaces to the building. So it would seem as though unpaved lots, by default, are already out of compliance. That’s our interpretation of the Standard, in theory anyway. However, in practice it’s hard to say how they would force a business to pave the lot in order to provide those accessible spaces.

      1) Providing accessible parking for your customers OR employees: It sounds like your company isn’t really a customer-facing business — you say that your visitors park on the street. Do you provide parking for your employees at all? As a commercial enterprise with employees, IF you’re providing them with parking, then you technically should be also providing accessible parking for those employees if needed. In reality, if you don’t provide any parking at all, then I suppose you can proceed without designated accessible spaces.

      How does this really answer your question? Well, a lot of the ADA’s ambiguity is intentional — they’re written to lower the barriers to access and provide for as much interpretation as possible when building or modifying spaces to be compliant. So in the spirit of the law, if you decide to start using your lot for customers and/or employees, and it’s unpaved lot but you want to be somewhat compliant, you could put up a sign for the spot closest to your business entrance and accommodate any potential customers or employees that way. It’s not going to be fully compliant if it’s not paved, but it might serve the common sense purpose for any visitors that need it.

  107. Ron Miller says:

    Can a vehicle with handicap placard be towed from a handicap space if they don’t have a visitor pass.
    My complex gives out two parking stickers, can my handicap vehicle with a placard park in handicap as a third vehicle since they only issue a third visitor pass for 12 days. Is the Handicap parking space considered city owned since police patrol the street going thru the complex.
    Third question, my handicap vehicle is a Lincoln Navigator. The space my building has for handicap parking are small car size. I am constantly being told my vehicle cannot stick out over the black top. However all the handicap spaces are to short. What is the length the space should be and can they make handicap parking for just small cars.. My car is no longer than a van.
    I am in California San Diego.

    • Krissa says:


      Thanks for your question — that’s a frustrating situation! Unfortunately, even if your apartment complex has a public road going through it, the accessible parking spaces adjacent to the road aren’t necessarily public property. If they’re giving out parking permits, it sounds like the parking is on private property and managed by the property managers. So the answer is, yes, they can tow if your car is not parked in either your reserved spot, or doesn’t display the correct parking permit — they make the rules about parking dispersal among residents.

      If I understand correctly, you’re being forced to park elsewhere on the property (other than whatever spaces are reserved/assigned to you) because your car is too long for the regular spaces?

      The Fair Housing Act includes provisions for accessible parking at multi-dwelling residential facilities [PDF here, section 2.23]. The relevant section specifies how many spaces must be made accessible, and where those spaces should be located within the parking lot or garage. It doesn’t say anything about the length of the parking spaces themselves, however, and there’s nothing in the FHA design manual about also accommodating van parking in residential applications — the ADA itself does cover van parking, but those are for commercial or public accommodations and not private/residential parking.

      We would recommend talking to your property managers about this — perhaps they can accommodate your car in a larger space that’s still on an accessible route, if that space is assigned to you, and that way you don’t need to be constantly asking for a visitor sticker for that car, or risk getting towed. Good luck!

  108. Christine Garcia says:

    We attended a football at a private school in San Jose, CA. They have a lot w/approx. 9 disabled parking spots, this lot has about 30 regular spots as well. During these games they block off this whole lot into 2 parts & keep the 1st half for disabled parking. But the 2nd half has about 4-5 clearly marked disabled parking spots, they close this lot & will not allow us to use the disabled spots. At a recent game they kept the homecoming floats in that 2nd half. Is this legal?

    • Krissa says:


      This is a tough one! Unfortunately, I do think that they’re functioning just within the letter of the law here, as it applies to parking accommodations. They’re required to provide a certain minimum of accessible spaces (2%) in any parking lot — if they sub-divide or close all or part of a lot, as long as the part that remains open for guests is still meeting that minimum, they’re in the clear.

      However, if there are routinely not enough spaces for the people attending games who require accessible parking, then someone should notify the administration that they should consider allocating more space during games — accessible parking requirements are minimums, not maximums!

  109. Dennis says:

    I parked my car in a handicapped spot as I was going into the building to pick up my accountant who uses a walker and has a handicapped Card and Id. In less then 2 minutes I was in there I was given a ticked.
    I am I not allowed to park there while packing him up so that he does not have to walk?

    If I brought the Handicapped Parking Permit and his ID Card to court will it be accepted.

    • Conrad Lumm says:

      Hi, Dennis! No good deed goes unpunished, unfortunately. You don’t get to park in an accessible parking spot without a placard – the parking attendant responsible had no way of knowing you were on your way to pick up a friend who had permission to park there. Technically, you should have parked in a standard parking spot, gone to get the placard from your accountant, put it in your window, moved your car to an accessible parking spot, gone back to pick up your accountant, and been on your merry way.

      Even though that’s what you technically SHOULD have done, it runs counter to the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Judges have some latitude as far as tickets, and I have a hard time imagining a judge who will hold you responsible for the few minutes it took you to get your accountant (and his placard), if everything you’re telling me is accurate. Anything can happen, but I’d bet the judge will rescind your ticket if you show up with your accountant, his permit, and his ID (or at least the last two). I am not a lawyer, I don’t know the judges in your district, and I can’t make any guarantees, but I do think showing up to your appeal date is worth a shot.

  110. Vicki Cohan says:

    Need to find out if I can legally park my car with disabled license plates on the street in front of my mobilhome in a park in California that has a two cars in driveway first rule? I was cited for parking on the street. My driveway has lifted due to tree roots causing a hazardous condition making it unsafe to walk from my car to door. Disabled parking is located by the pool area about 6 houses from my home

    • Krissa says:


      It sounds like your residential association has some rules about driveway parking which requires two cars in the driveway first — before street parking? — but you’re coming up against the municipal restrictions for on-street parking. Is overnight parking banned, or is it permit-only parking on the streets? Typically, there isn’t specific on-street accessible parking for residences, although we’ve seen some cities and municipalities where you can apply to create an accessible space in front of your home, although in those cases you can’t enforce who else parks there so long as they have a badge.

      However, if your driveway isn’t accessible because of damage, and if your municipality doesn’t provide for any kind of on-street parking exceptions for people with disabilities, then perhaps you can approach the management for the mobile home association or community and see if that’s something that can be repaired so that you can properly follow their parking rules and use your driveway.

  111. Al says:

    I and a co-worker both work for a contractor on a federal military installation and have the DV (disabled license plates)on our vehicles. We park in the marked handicap parking space in front of our work establishment. We were informed by our section manager that the handicap space was only for customers and that we weren’t allowed to park in the space. I need to know if in Texas and on a federal establishment that we are or are not allowed to park in the handicap space.

    • Krissa says:


      This is a tricky one! It’s interesting that it’s a federal installation — I’m not sure whether state law or federal law applies in this case. However, what we can say is that in regular workplace interpretations of the ADA, any time there are multiple parking lots, those parking lots must all be compliant with the ADA and provide accessible parking. If there are employees and customers served by the same parking lot, it’s our understanding that both employees and customers with valid disability placards or plates must be accommodated. Take a look at our FAQ (under “Employee Parking”) for some more details about these questions:

  112. Lynette says:

    I live in California and I live in a senior community apartment complex. I have a permanent disabled license plate. The apartment manager says I cannot park in the disabled spot because it is for disabled visitors only. Now I have to park in a spot further away made for a small car. Is this legal? Thanks…Lynette

    • Krissa says:


      The FHA, which discusses required accessible parking for residential facilities built after 1991, would agree with you. Residential facilities must provide 2% of total parking spaces as accessible spaces compliant with ADA guidelines — wide access aisles, with marked signage, on the closest accessible routes. That parking is supposed to be for residents — if there is extra parking specifically designated for visitors, then the same proportion of those parking spaces must be accessible. We don’t think your apartment manager can tell you that no residents are allowed to use the accessible space because it’s “reserved” for visitors if its in the same lot. Even if there are reserved spaces for residents, anyone demonstrating a need should be granted a space that is accessible.

      However, we’re not lawyers and we don’t know all the facts here. We recommend you get in touch with Disability Rights California and find out what the best way to get your apartment complex in compliance, if they’re not:

      Best of luck!

  113. Steve says:

    My question is, are businesses/staff allowed to block and reserve handicap spaces for their own clients? I have a client that I take to a behavioural service in the mornings. The parking is horrendous but the handicap spaces are normally readily available. However, the staff use traffic cones and tell others not to park in the disabled parking because they need those spaces for the buses that take their clients to that building. I drive my client in a ramp van because he requires a wheelchair, and needs that space to get to his appointment. Are they allowed to block that space?

    • Krissa says:


      Our short answer is, absolutely not! It’s a particularly egregious violation if they’re not actually blocking it off for the use of customers with valid disabled parking placards, but rather for the convenience of a bus pickup/dropoff, which is not the purpose of accessible parking spaces in any context under federal law. Assuming that we’re talking about private property here, the ADA requires property owners to create — and enforce! — the accessible parking they provide for visitors. Is this parking lot/garage shared between a number of different businesses or stores? If so, the property manager should be alerted to this misuse of designated accessible parking. If you decide to be the one to let them know, we suggest taking a photo of the blockade the next time you encounter it, to document the problem.

  114. kristen says:

    Me and my mother live in chico, ca. because my mom is disabled we have a wheelchair accessible unit with a driveway on the side. the driveway is marked as handicap with the space next to it with the white lines. the only vehicle is in my name and is her only mode of transportation. can I get a parking ticket because of parking in my own driveway in a residential neighborhood? she had the placard with her in case she needed it while out with my grandmother and had forgotten to return it to my vehicle. I wouldn’t even know where to look for the information that would apply to this situation

    • Krissa says:


      What a frustrating situation! In order to answer your question fully, I think we may need one or two more details, namely: was this ticket issued to you by the Chico municipality (i.e. the police or the parking enforcement agency) or was it issued by the homeowners association or property managers? Here’s why I’m asking. If the space is on the street of a closed residential community, and issued by those managers, it sounds like the problem is that they didn’t realize this was your mother’s main mode of transportation (even if it’s not her car), and she’s assigned that space/driveway, and thus should issue her a parking permit for your car so that they don’t ticket you again.

      However, if the ticket was issued by the city police or parking agent, it’s probably because they’re enforcing that on-street accessible space and because the placard was not in the vehicle — which is unfortunately their job. However, there’s hope! If you and your mother appear in person to contest the ticket, you may be able to make a persuasive argument that your car is her main mode of transit and that it was parked in that spot because you were transporting her, and the judge may be willing to reduce or eliminate the ticket with your mother and her valid placard present. However, we’ve only heard anecdotal evidence of this approach working — we can’t guarantee it.

      Best of luck!

  115. Elizabeth Tidd says:

    I live in Calif. Kaiser here in my town just redid there lot & they took out 6 of the 12 Handicap Spaces of this one end of the building. Can they do this? Or do they have to put them back? Also can they put them on the other side of the building & make Handicap people walk farther?

  116. Kris says:

    Are designated handycap accessible spots on comercial properties retail and office buildings open 24 hours a day or just durring business hours? Are the property owners able to limit our accessibility after hours to day rent out their parking for valet use or other encumbrances? Thank you!

    • Conrad Lumm says:

      Hi, Kris- Whether accessible parking spots are open depends on the lot’s overall policy. Lot owners are within their rights to limit access (say, by closing it after business hours), but their policy must be applied equally – so they can’t allow access to standard parking while using accessible parking spots for other uses. Property owners are welcome to rent out their parking to valet companies and so on, but they do not have the right to use accessible parking spots for any use other than having disabled people parking in them, which makes things tricky. Usually what you’ll see happen is the owners will use standard parking for uses like valets or other uses, but if a valet without a placard parks in an accessible spot, they personally can be ticketed. Hope that helps!

  117. Pat says:

    At my child’s elementary school (In Illinois) they have 4 Handicap accessible spots 2 of which have an additional sign for 5 minute student drop off or pick up. Is that legal?

    • Conrad Lumm says:

      Hi, Pat- Thanks for writing! This is a complicated issue, and to tell you for certain what your school should be doing, I would need to know that total number of parking spots around the school.

      For now, though, I can tell you this. It is legal for a portion of your lot’s accessible parking to be 5-minute dropoff spots, but they have to be in the same proportion as the regular parking. If half of the lot’s non-accessible parking is 5 minute only, then the school’s lot is in compliance. If not, it’s not. I would advise asking the school to increase the number of accessible parking spots until the ratio of 5-minute accessible to long-term accessible is the same as the ratio of 5-minute regular parking to long-term regular parking.

      It does seem perverse to ask people with disabilities to be in and out in five minutes (presumably the same amount of time as people without disabilities?). It’s possible that this has been challenged somewhere, but I’m not finding a court decision addressing the specific issue.

  118. bob says:

    I use a wheelchair and have two modified vehicles one a van the other a Honda element both require me to have a full access aisle to be able to get out of the vehicle. the Main Post office in my city has a large (approx 40) space public lot with the required number of spaces. but they are as often as not full. meanwhile many empty spaces go unused in the rest of the lot.
    I was ticketed for taking up two spaces at the far end of the lot so I could get out, proper tag/permit displayed. and a large sign in the drivers window saying “driver uses wheelchair 8ft needed for loading, also in the windshield was a notice that this was being done as a reasonable accomodation.
    There were at all times plenty of open spaces in the lot.

    what are we who must have the wide spaces to do when there are none, legally or illegally I don’t like it but don’t object to having an extra space at the far end of the lot. my power wheelchair can get there but I need to get it and me out of the vehicle

    • Conrad Lumm says:

      Hi, Bob-

      It’s nice to get an easy question every now and then! If I have all the information, then you should not have been ticketed. Under the ADA, lot owners are required to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities (as you point out). Particularly if the lot is often empty (and you can prove that that’s the case), then parking on two spots in order to make sure you have an access aisle is an accommodation so reasonable that I doubt any judge will side with the ticket writer.

      It sounds like you did the right thing. It may be hard to prove that, though. I would contest the ticket and explain the circumstances to the judge. Any documentation you can bring would be helpful – this might include the following:

      -A letter from a postal worker stating how full the lot usually is and probably was when you were ticketed (this bolsters the case that the Post Office wasn’t having to bend over backwards to accommodate you).
      -The sign you put in your window, if you still have it.

      As far as what you can do to make sure this isn’t a consistent problem? I would inform the lot owner that the ADA’s requirements are a minimum, not a maximum, and that they’d be serving their customers better if they installed another van accessible parking spot or two. If they notice that those spots are always full, then they’ll want to make sure they aren’t losing business by not having enough spots. And if you ever have to park someplace that’s less than ideal because they’re lacking accessible spots, first appeal the ticket and then, as diplomatically as possible, tell the lot owner that restriping a little bit of parking isn’t a big deal compared to the difficulties of living with a disability. They aren’t legally obligated to add more parking than the ADA requires, but good business owners will do it anyway.

  119. Andy says:

    Is a parking stall “legal” if it only has a handicap symbol on the ground and no sign on a pole in front of it (not if a sign fell over or stolen, just not installed at all)? Meaning can some one still get a ticket parking in a stall as described above?

    • Conrad Lumm says:

      Hi, Andy- To be in compliance with the ADA, parking spots must have a sign – that’s federal law. Note the language here: “These parking spaces are identified with a sign.” Without a sign, the spot is not in compliance. Stencils aren’t enough. If you were ticketed for parking in a spot like that, you should definitely contest the ticket.

  120. Jairo Lopez says:

    Hello all,

    I was wondering if anyone knew whether a property owner incurs a daily penalty for each day that he/she has failed to reasonably accommodated a disabled individual with a handicap parking spot? I informed my landlord about my need for handicap parking. Unfortunately, he either willfully or negligently ignored my request. Someone has mentioned to me that under either the ADA or FHA, property owners are penalized daily for each day in which they fail to provide a handicap parking space on the premises. Is there any truth to this? Any help would be much appreciated

    • Conrad Lumm says:

      Hi, Jairo-

      Unfortunately, I’m not a lawyer, so while I can help with questions about where drivers can park and recourse that people have when ticketed or when they can’t find a spot, penalties are a bit beyond me – they vary wildly from state to state, because each state is in charge of its own enforcement mechanisms.

      I can tell you that in California, in many cases, people with disabilities have standing to sue over violations of the ADA and receive compensation themselves, and although I’m less familiar with how the Fair Housing Act is handled, it could be the same way. (In most states, people with disabilities do not receive damages when someone finds an ADA violation.) I would definitely consult with a lawyer about this – it’s possible that you may may stand to be compensated directly if your property manager isn’t following the law.

  121. Harold says:

    Can a truck block a handicap parking stall, even though he is not in the stall, he is still preventing the handicap person from using that stall???

    • Conrad Lumm says:

      Hi, Harold! I’d need a little more context to tell you exactly how illegal that is, what the penalties are, and who’s in charge of enforcement, but no matter where you are, it’s definitely illegal.

  122. lynne says:

    I am trying to find the ADA ruling for my motor home being able to park on a public city lot for a one day event I am part of. I do not want to use up ADA spots but rather spaces alongside the alleyway within the parking lot. Can you help me please I am handicapped and can not walk far.AS for the street parking,for safety reason I can not park on the street side curbs. I have parke3d in this lot in the past for the same event with no problems.However this year I am being told there may be an issue.My understanding is that with my placard displayed I can be in any vehicle.Please help me find something that states the rules. thank you Lynne

  123. Rose says:

    I have a question.

    Is it illegal to park in the Handicap spot in the back alley of a business, if I’m not going to their business or store? I have parked in this spot many times (usually after hours), but tonight I got a hand scribbled note saying NO PARKING HERE. Can they tow me? I have my placard properly showing.

    This is in Calif.

    • Conrad Lumm says:

      Hi, Rose!

      It depends. The fact that it’s a back alley is less important than who owns the space. If it’s a publicly accessible thoroughfare and the parking is provided and administered by local government, then they absolutely can’t tell you not to park there. If the parking spot is privately owned, that’s another story, but they would still need to warn you in advance by sign.

      In California, even on private property, it isn’t enough to just write you a note and then tow you – they need to make clear who can and can’t park there, and besides the signage marking the accessible parking spot there should also be a second sign letting you know which towing company to call if you are towed. If that second sign isn’t around, then someone is pulling your leg, and it’s illegal for them to tow you.

  124. Paula says:

    I am in Florida. The company I work for has to park in assigned parking away from out building and take a shuttle to the door. There is diabled parking in the lot by the enterance, however all the spots are taken by the time we are getting to work. The company downstairs also has all the parking in the lot directly adjacent to the building. What can we do if we have a disable placard, all the disabled spots are taken and we have difficutly getting on the shuttles? The property management, parking enforcement do not want to work with us. And the company downstairs does not want to provide a permit to park in the lot adjacent to the building.

    • Samantha Bendernagel says:

      Hi, Paula. If the property managers are not cooperating then it seems as though you should file an ADA Complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice. You can do so by visiting: If you would like to conduct further research to find out if your rights are being violated, look at the Americans with Disabilities Act and see what they have listed under public accommodations and in commercial facilities. Best of luck, and hopefully this will get resolved soon!

  125. Jason says:

    We just purchased a building in MN that has a ramp. but it does also have tenant that is an event center (weddings mostly) when we bought the ramp there were no handicapped parking spaces put in. we have a 7ft max height and everything is striped which of course non of them meet the 96″ width guideline. I have over 200 spaces so I see I would need 7 spaces but I am wondering if….
    1. Am I even required to have these spots unless I re-stripe that is?
    2. How wide?
    3. Do I still need van accessible?
    I also know we are looking to have a restaurant come in eventually so not sure if that will make a difference or not?

    • Samantha Bendernagel says:

      Hi, Jason. Yes, you are required to provide accessible parking. If you research accessible spaces required by 2010 Standards, you will find a chart listing the minimum number of required accessible parking spaces for the total number of parking spaces in a facility. For example, a total of 1 to 25 spots requires at least one accessible space, a total of 26 to 50 spaces requires at least two accessible spaces, and so on and so forth. Also keep in mind that one out of every six spaces must be van accessible, and they must be eleven feet wide unless the access aisle is eight feet wide, in which case they may be eight feet wide as well. As far as the restaurant is concerned, I would look at the Americans with Disabilities Act and see what they have listed under public accommodations and in commercial facilities. Good luck, and thanks for reaching out!

  126. cheryl says:

    the building I work in does not have handicapped parking spaces and I do have a handicapped license plate and plackard. What should I do?

    • Debbie Moore says:

      Cheryl, is it a publicly accessible parking lot, or is it private?

  127. Tori says:

    I visit my sister at her apartment complex pretty frequently, and while they do have 4 handicap spots, over time it’s come to my attention that all 4 of them are reserved by specific tenants. However, not a single spot has any indication that it’s reserved in any way other than just being a handicap spot, except for a little piece of paper with an apartment number that the tenants have taped onto the signs themselves. So I was excited when she first moved in that I’d be able to park near my sister’s apartment but now it turns out I have to park far away almost all the time as there are no handicap spots I can use. Can the reserved spots be enforced if they don’t officially say they’re reserved? And if they’re reserved spots, should there be more handicap spots open to visitors? This is a large parking lot, maybe a little less than 100 spots, but it fills up quickly and I almost always have to park on the other end of the lot, and it’s making it very difficult to visit my sister.

    • Samantha Bendernagel says:

      Hi, Tori. I would find out whether the spots are actually reserved by contacting the property managers and asking them. If they are reserved then the question of providing guest accessible spots would be another thing to ask them about as well. For more information, contact your sister’s state Department of Housing and Urban Development. Best of luck!

  128. Jerry Christiansen says:

    Thank you for providing a lot of good information and discussion about accessible parking. I believe some of the data displayed at the top of the page is outdated. Below is a URL for the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design along with a part of the standards. In particular notice 208.2.4 that states 1 of every 6 parking spaces must be van accessible instead of 1 of every 8 as in the older guidelines. The table displaying number of parking spaces did not copy very well.

    Thank you for your time.

    Jerry C

    208 Parking Spaces

    208.1 General. Where parking spaces are provided, parking spaces shall be provided in accordance with 208.

    EXCEPTION: Parking spaces used exclusively for buses, trucks, other delivery vehicles, law enforcement vehicles, or vehicular impound shall not be required to comply with 208 provided that lots accessed by the public are provided with a passenger loading zone complying with 503.

    208.2 Minimum Number. Parking spaces complying with 502 shall be provided in accordance with Table 208.2 except as required by 208.2.1, 208.2.2, and 208.2.3. Where more than one parking facility is provided on a site, the number of accessible spaces provided on the site shall be calculated according to the number of spaces required for each parking facility.

    Table 208.2 Parking Spaces

    Total Number of Parking Spaces
    Provided in Parking Facility

    Minimum Number of Required
    Accessible Parking Spaces

    1 to 25


    26 to 50


    51 to 75


    76 to 100


    101 to 150


    151 to 200


    201 to 300


    301 to 400


    401 to 500


    501 to 1000

    2 percent of total

    1001 and over

    20, plus 1 for each 100, or fraction thereof,

    over 1000

    Advisory 208.2 Minimum Number. The term “parking facility” is used Section 208.2 instead of the term “parking lot” so that it is clear that both parking lots and parking structures are required to comply with this section. The number of parking spaces required to be accessible is to be calculated separately for each parking facility; the required number is not to be based on the total number of parking spaces provided in all of the parking facilities provided on the site.

    208.2.1 Hospital Outpatient Facilities. Ten percent of patient and visitor parking spaces provided to serve hospital outpatient facilities shall comply with 502.

    Advisory 208.2.1 Hospital Outpatient Facilities. The term “outpatient facility” is not defined in this document but is intended to cover facilities or units that are located in hospitals and that provide regular and continuing medical treatment without an overnight stay. Doctors’ offices, independent clinics, or other facilities not located in hospitals are not considered hospital outpatient facilities for purposes of this document.

    208.2.2 Rehabilitation Facilities and Outpatient Physical Therapy Facilities. Twenty percent of patient and visitor parking spaces provided to serve rehabilitation facilities specializing in treating conditions that affect mobility and outpatient physical therapy facilities shall comply with 502.

    Advisory 208.2.2 Rehabilitation Facilities and Outpatient Physical Therapy Facilities. Conditions that affect mobility include conditions requiring the use or assistance of a brace, cane, crutch, prosthetic device, wheelchair, or powered mobility aid; arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic conditions that severely limit one’s ability to walk; respiratory diseases and other conditions which may require the use of portable oxygen; and cardiac conditions that impose significant functional limitations.

    208.2.3 Residential Facilities. Parking spaces provided to serve residential facilities shall comply with 208.2.3. Parking for Residents. Where at least one parking space is provided for each residential dwelling unit, at least one parking space complying with 502 shall be provided for each residential dwelling unit required to provide mobility features complying with 809.2 through 809.4. Additional Parking Spaces for Residents. Where the total number of parking spaces provided for each residential dwelling unit exceeds one parking space per residential dwelling unit, 2 percent, but no fewer than one space, of all the parking spaces not covered by shall comply with 502. Parking for Guests, Employees, and Other Non-Residents. Where parking spaces are provided for persons other than residents, parking shall be provided in accordance with Table 208.2.

    208.2.4 Van Parking Spaces. For every six or fraction of six parking spaces required by 208.2 to comply with 502, at least one shall be a van parking space complying with 502.

    • Conrad Lumm says:

      Hi, Jerry-

      You identified a problem with our information – every now and then, we have to comb through it to make sure it’s up to date, and we’re a bit behind right now! We’ll be asking our legal consultant to take a look at this and make sure everything is correct shortly. Thanks!

  129. Frank Cefalu says:

    Hope you can help. I just bought a first floor condo in Amherst, New York. I have joint custody of my son who is disabled. There are no spots in front of my 16 unit building, nor is there an at grade curb cut for a wheelchair. One spot and one curb cut exist at the other two buildings in the complex. At a minimum, I want to get a spot in front of my entrance for my son who walks with assistance in good weather. I bad weather it is necessary to bring him in my house using his wheelchair for safety purposes. The associate is saying that 1) He does not live with me full time, therefore, he gets nothing. 2) if they were to allow some accommodation, I would have to put up a sign and post myself 3) under no circumstances is he entitled to a curb cut out. Can they do this? And what bearing if anything does his 50% occupancy have on anyting?

    • Samantha Bendernagel says:

      i, Frank. This is a difficult situation. The Fair Housing Act states that your apartment complex must provide accessibility and usability for all residents, which includes an accessible route into the complex. However, we’re not lawyers at MyParkingSign, nor can we give you legal advice, but we believe that if your son legally lives there, it shouldn’t matter if it’s full or part time. Your best bet is to contact the New York Department of Housing and Urban Development and find out what your and your son’s rights are there. Good luck, and we hope it all works out!

  130. Anna Hagen says:

    My apartment complex was apparently “Grandfather’d In” with the ADA codes. When we moved in, we were told that my husband could fit comfortably in his wheelchair. That is NOT the case. We were allowed to widen one bathroom door. However, after continuous nagging, we finally got a handicap spot and a ramp near our apartment for his large van. The apartment complex was supposed to stripe the empty spot next to the van where the ramp is, but they failed to do so. Now, people are parking in the spot where my husband’s lift would come out and he cannot get down the ramp. We have talked numerous times to our apartment complex about this and still nothing has been done. This is starting to stress me out. We cannot move yet because we need to find a home, which takes a bit of time. What can I do?

    • Samantha Bendernagel says:

      Hi, Anna. This sounds frustrating. I’m sorry to hear that you and your husband are having such a difficult time. According to the Fair Housing Act, your apartment complex must comply with the appropriate requirements of the American National Standard for buildings and facilities, and they must provide accessibility and usability for all residents.. To violate these requirements, such as denying your husband an accessible route into the complex, would be unlawful. If they continue to not comply, you should contact your state Department of Housing and Urban Development and file a Housing Discrimination Complaint Form. Best of luck, and hopefully this will be resolved soon!

  131. Jaime M. says:

    In TX if a parking space is Van Accessible can any car park there with a valid permit? I am disabled and have handicap plates and the handicap space in front of my apartment building is marked van accessible but I do not have a van. Thank you!

    • Conrad Lumm says:

      Hi, Jaime- If you have a permit, you can park in a van accessible spot. Many smaller lots only have van accessible spots with access aisles, in fact! If you have a choice, it’s always best to park in a spot that’s appropriate for your type of vehicle, but if you don’t have a choice, it’s perfectly legal not to.

      • Jaime M. says:

        Thank you very much!

        • Conrad Lumm says:

          No problem! Have a great week.

  132. terry says:

    I Live in lee county Fl, I have a brother who is permanently disabled. we were at a county boat ramp last week, they allowed free parking if you were a disabled vet or had a modified vehicle. other than that you had to pay a fee. my question is can a county set how disabled you must be to receive a discount

    • Samantha Bendernagel says:

      Hi, Terry. The Americans with Disabilities Act states that a local government may offer programs that allow free accessible parking. However, the ADA does not require these programs to be provided, which leads me to believe that local governments are able to take liberties with parking fees. That being said, you can always contact the Lee County Department of Transportation to see what their parking fees and regulations are. Best of luck, and I hope you find the information you’re looking for!

  133. kathleen says:

    I have a handicap placard and there is a deeded access to the lake where I live and to which I have legal access. However, the ppl who live in the cottages there are insisting that i canNOT drive my golf cart down there even tho I have the placard. There is no handicap sign in the park. Thanks!

    • Debbie Moore says:

      Hi, Kathleen- I can’t tell exactly what the problem is – is management objection that you can’t drive a golf cart there just because it’s a golf cart? Or are you saying that you need an accessible parking spot there, and they haven’t installed one? This may be as straightforward as showing management the deed, which specifies that you should have access, but I need more information.

  134. CHRIS says:


    I live in an apartment complex in Denver Colorado, and when my husband and I came home one afternoon, he parked in a space that for the last year, has been a regular parking spot. A few hours after arriving home, he went outside and found a sticker on his car stating he was parked in a handicapped space, and that it was a ‘final warning’. He then noticed a handicapped sign that was in the grass. There was no indication/notice (ie, note on the building resident’s doors, or an email prior) that this space would be designated handicapped parking. This spot is under a tree with low hanging branches, so when parking there, on the left of the car you have to step up on a curb into grass, and on the right is another regular parking space. Further down in the parking lot, there IS a handicapped space, with an access aisle, and two additional spaces. I am not sure why the apartment complex would not just re-designate that area for handicapped parking. I am not sure what the extent of the situation is for the person with the placard is, but I do know that there are no individuals with a wheelchair in my building. I thought every designated handicapped space required an access aisle?

    • Debbie Moore says:

      Hi, Chris- As usual with issues like this, it’s complicated. Accessible parking requires an access aisle under the Americans with Disabilities Act, but the body of law governing private housing is the Fair Housing Act, which is a bit looser. It’s possible that the two areas of accessible parking are far apart because they’re close to two different residents’ apartments. I can’t really tell you much with certainty since I don’t have a good picture of the layout of the property, but I would recommend not parking there anymore – private owners have nearly unlimited rights over how to organize accessible parking (or, indeed, all parking) on their property, and the many “have tos” that apply in public lots (like sign height, etc.) just don’t apply in private.

  135. Big Mike says:

    I am handicapped and never had a problem until lately. At Lowe’s parking lot they have several marked spots but the problem is only one side has a sign stating “Handicapped” in a concrete pole. which can been seen from both directions but on one side there is a yellow concrete pole which has nothing on it and can not be seen while parking your vehicle and I hit it in my new car. Lowe’s told me they will not file a claim nor would give me any information concerning this matter. I want to make a compliant and get those concrete poles removed. Who do I contact about this??? And can they be fined? for having something that low and dangerous.

    • Samantha Bendernagel says:

      Hi, Mike. This is an interesting situation. Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources at MyParkingSign to see if the concrete poles violate any parking regulations. However, what you can do is contact your local planning board to see if they’re breaking code. That would most likely be your best bet. Sorry to hear about your car, and best of luck!

  136. BBB says:

    Can a privately owned B&B in the State of Massachusetts charge for a handicap parking spot?

  137. George says:

    I live in Roanoke VA and have had problems with the local High School blocking access to available handicap parking at the end of the day. I have a disability parking placard and was denied access by a security employee at the school today (09/03/2015).
    I tried to explain that it’s illegal to block access to handicap parking and the employee laughed and stated he was a cop for 25 years and he had every right to deny me access. I had to park a quarter of a mile away and walk to pick my daughter up who has Scoliosis which causes her significant pain walking long distances.I was there to pick her up for a doctors appointment over 1/2 an hour before school was dismissed. The same employee harassed me as we were walking the long walk back to my car. He was laughing at us and bragging about the fact that we had to walk and he hadn’t allowed me to park closer to the school. All the handicap parking spaces were blocked by orange traffic cones and empty. My question is , is it legal for a school or city to block or deny public access to handicap parking ? I was told by the employee that he had every right to deny me or anyone else access to the handicap parking . Thank you for any assistance.

    • Conrad Lumm says:

      Hi, George! The answer depends on whether the spaces were reserved in the first place. Virginia law lets you use a disabled parking permit to park in any handicapped space, provided those spaces aren’t reserved for other types of vehicles. “Reserved” includes lots that require parking permits. So if the lot is permit-only, you’re out of luck. But if that’s not the case, and the lot doesn’t require a permit, the guard was wrong, and he was being a jerk, in my opinion! You may wish to take this up with a lawyer if it’s a persistent problem.

  138. Jay lee says:

    Hi. My daughter recently started the college of charleston in sc. She has a handicap placard issued by the state. The college is refusing to give her a parking permit because she is a freshman. There are 4 handicap spots in her parking lot by her dorm. However, the school reserves ALL the spots for parking permit holders between 8am – 4pm. They actually gave my wife a ticket for parkIng there, and she has a handicap placard also. BTW there is no one parking in these spots at all. If they reserve these spots for permit holders that leaves them 0 spots to fulfill their minimum amount of spits per ADA guidelines. But only between 8-4. Is this legal? Have they found a valid loophole with only reserving the spots part time?

    • Conrad Lumm says:

      Hi, Jay! You’ve asked whether it’s legal for your daughter’s college to reserve all spaces in a permit parking lot for permit-holders between 8am and 4pm. Yes, it is legal for them to do that. South Carolina Code sections 56-21-10 and 56-21-20 give the College of Charleston the power to set campus parking regulations. Under South Carolina Code of Regulations sections 23-4(3) and 23-5(1), you can be ticketed or towed for parking in a College parking lot without a permit. If the whole lot is permit-only, the accessible parking spaces are also reserved for people with permits.

      Neither the ADA nor Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act really apply to your situation. From 8am to 4pm, the number of parking spots available to the public is zero, so the College is required to provide zero handicapped spots to the public. It’s just like what might happen if you parked in a lot marked “employees only,” or “customers only.”

      In summary, you didn’t get a ticket because you used your disabled placard, you got a ticket because you didn’t have a permit. Shame about the ticket, though!

  139. Karen says:

    I live in an apartment complex in Orange, California. There are 10 spaces in the parking lot. However, none of the spaces are for disabled parking. I am disabled, have a car with hand controls and need a space. Is the apartment complex required to have at least one disabled parking space?

    • Debbie Moore says:

      Hi, Karen! Under California state regulations, private parking lots for multifamily dwellings are required to set aside a certain percentage of parking spaces for handicapped placard-holders. (See 24 CCR § 1109A.1.) As your parking lot has 10 spaces, there should be at least one accessible space set aside for the disabled (24 CCR §§ 1109A.4 & 1109A.5)

      Additionally, because of your disability, you should be able to get a designated parking space by writing a letter to the property manager or the owner requesting a designated handicapped parking space under the Fair Housing Act. Under the Fair Housing Act, it’s illegal discrimination to refuse to “make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford [a disabled] person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.” (42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(B).)

      Federal courts and administrative law judges have held that reserving parking spaces for disabled residents is a reasonable accommodation and have imposed significant fines on property owners and managers who overlook repeated requests for this type of accommodation. See, for example, Janowski Lee & Assoc. v. Cisneros, 91 F.3d 891 (7th Cir. 1996), or Shapiro v. Cadman Towers, 51 F.3d 328 (2nd Cir. 1995).

      • Harry says:

        I live in a co-op and we have several parking lots and the one that I am talking about holds over 350 parking spaces. This year they away one spot to allow a loger turning space for co-op trucks and fire trucks to turn into a fire lane. That spot was not added to the other handicop spots that we have and 3 spots at the other end of out spots a sign was added to the bottom saying that these spots were not handicaped from Sept 15 to May 15 and they refused to change then/. The new person in charge of security sed to me that he could do whatever he wants because this is private property and he could do whatever he wants. What can us handicaped people do and who controls these cases.
        Thank You.

  140. i am a senior citizen in CA. and I live in a “senior bldg”. we must be 62+ to reside here. there are 126 units.
    question: how many handicapped parking spots do there need to be?
    i found out that there need to be 5. but in such a bldg.,dedicated to seniors only, shouldn’t there be more? there are many residents here with mobility problems, canes, walkers, and wheelchairs. sometimes we need to walk far to the elevators. How can we get more handicapped parking? thjank you!

    • Conrad Lumm says:

      Hi, Dottie! Long story short, your property management is required to put in as much accessible parking as is needed to accommodate everyone who has an official disabled placard. I’d go to our accessible parking resources page and fill out the appropriate form, then print it and give it to your landlord if you have a placard.

      If you have designated spots in your building, then use the second link at the top of the page, and if it’s a free-for-all, use the top link.

      Good luck!

  141. Carole says:

    I live in San Antonio, TX, am a disabled veteran, and work at a state mental hospital. There are three handicapped spots and an available ramp where I park. When my new supervisor started at my office, she converted two of the three spots to her own personal spots, taking away the handicapped spots and leaving only one spot for handicapped persons. Unfortunately, I’m not the only one who needs these spaces and I cannot get it across to her to convert the spaces back to handicapped spots. What are my options?

  142. Lucy says:

    Hello! I would appreciate some help. Im not sure where to call. I have a neighbor who has a handicap parking sign outside their house. But…as long as i have lived on my block, they have NEVER once parked. There. They use their garage. This neighbor does this so that no one parks in front of their house and steps on their grass. I think this is selfish and causes problems for others on our block. Where can i call about maybe having this sign removed? A sign like this is meant to be used. Any info would be appreciated!

    • Debbie Moore says:

      Hi, Lucy! It depends on where the sign is posted. If it’s on your neighbor’s private property, they’re free to post whatever signage they want. Posting signs on private property that address how public property should be used is a bit of a gray area, though. I would contact your local Department of Transportation if your city is big enough to have one, or failing that, the local DMV (who will be able to give you a phone number to contact if they can’t help you themselves). Most cities have codes that forbid putting up traffic signage without the city’s written permission. (In New York City, where I live, this can result in a hefty fine, depending on which precise municipal code the perp is found to have broken.) In all likelihood they’ll just remove it.

    • Conrad Lumm says:

      You should call City Hall. They should be able to connect you with the correct agency.

  143. Elizabeth Perry says:

    I live in Geneva NY and park in a parking lot where I live I have MS and sometimes its hard to walk I have gotten a ticket for parking between the winter hours 2am-6am I do have a handicap permit and park in handicap why should i have to move my car when i have a disability isnt that against disability right act. They want me to walk almost a block away. and we dont even have snow.

    • Debbie Moore says:

      Elizabeth, unfortunately, your disability placard doesn’t shield you from the same rules that everyone else has to follow.

      In New York City, for example, you can be ticketed for failing to move your car on street-cleaning days, even if you have a placard. The street still needs to be cleaned even though people have disabilities that might make moving their cars difficult.

  144. tlp106 says:

    My employer is telling everyone that they have to reverse (i.e. back in) into each parking space. Is this required in ADA parking as well?

  145. Gerald Coley says:

    If I have a handicap place card and in front of a residence there’s a blue line for handicap parking am I allowed to park in that zone or is that only for that residence?

    • Debbie Moore says:

      That’s up to your property managers, Gerald. Check with them. In general, having a placard doesn’t mean you get to park in any spot that’s set aside for people with disabilities, though. (If you have a disability, it doesn’t mean all garages are free for you, for example.)

  146. julie says:

    I live in Texas and our church members are requesting additional handicap parking. Is there a max to how many we can have? Our lot is 200 spots.

    • Debbie Moore says:

      No, there is no maximum number of accessible parking spots permissible in a parking lot (and, when it comes to religious institutions, no minimum, either!).

  147. Angela says:

    Ok my mother’s complex had a handicapped sign placed for her, my daughters stays with her, now they went through the proper standard of getting the paper work in and all, ok the other day my daughter parked in the space and they towed her car because now all of a sudden it’s reserved? Well I thought that’s what it’s for? There’s another sign that’s posted under the regular sign, that says reserved car will be towed at owners expense? I thought if you had the proper handicapped tag you could Park in the spot?

    • Debbie Moore says:

      Hi, Angela- regrettably, in private parking lots where the the other spots are reserved, it’s perfectly legal to have reserved parking for people (or a person) with disabilities. Accessible parking just means it’s in a particular location in relation to entrances and curbs and stuff — it doesn’t mean just anyone can use the spot, even if the person who rents that spot gives them permission.

  148. Chris McKinney says:

    I live in a new townhome community in WV. All the houses have been bought and they recently came in and paved and lined out the parking. My neighbor has a handicapped parking space in front of his house and he’s not happy about it. I’m just curious if it’s the law that townhome communities have handicapped parking. Also there is no ramp for the handicapped spots. Is that a requirement if handicapped spots are in fact mandatory?

    • Debbie Moore says:

      Hi, Chris — I’m afraid I can’t answer the first part of your question because I need a lot more details, and even if I could, I shouldn’t because I’m not a lawyer. I can tell you that yes, to be fully accessible, there should be a ramp or curb cut that allows people in wheelchairs ingress or egress. I can’t comment about whether the accessible parking spot is required, though, because in practice it can vary depending on your state’s interpretation and implementation of federal law.

  149. PJ says:

    Hi Debbie- My inlaws, both in mid 80’s and handicapped bought a new Condo in Chesterfield VA. Every other building in the complex (n=24) has handicapped parking right in front of the main door to each 4 story unit. My in-laws handicap spots are at the far end of their building, which causes a lot of problems as mom can’t walk very far and pop can’t easily push her in a wheelchair. Shouldn’t they have been given handicap spaces just as all the other buildings have?
    I know ADA says the spaces should be as close as feasible? any assistance is appreciated

  150. Allison Dunne says:

    Hi! I’m having a problem with my college. I’m an incoming freshman with disabilities that don’t allow me to walk long distances and demand that I have 1-2 appointments in the city each week, making it pertanent that I have a car on campus. The school says they don’t allow freshman to park on campus and I’d have to use street parking, the closest of which is almost 6 blocks away. After describing my situation the advisor said there was no spots for freshman despite my disability and the use of my placard. What are my rights per the ADA for parking on campus within reasonable distance of my classes? I live and go to school in Wisconsin.

  151. Steve says:

    Is it illegal to have a handicapped sign that reserves a specific space for an apartment if you rent in a complex? I was told by a woman in my front office that a sign that I put up on the space they created for me was illegal. It specifically said for “Apt. XX only.”

    Was she correct about this? I am having a hard time believing her.

  152. MK says:


    What are the requirements for a multi-family property with regards to handicap parking. We are not a handicap friendly property (every unit is only accessible with steps). We currently have enough spots properly marked however we got a request from a resident who is handicap to move one of the spot to directly in front of her building. Is that a requirement per ADA?

    Thank you,