Wheelchair ramps: what length is right for disabled parking?

April 19, 2013

Let’s put ourselves into the mindset of someone who is disabled.  Getting around is not as easy and finding parking can be a pain.  This is why disabled parking is clearly labeled and why the space available is so big.  Wheelchairs don’t just pop out of vehicles by magic; we need a ramp or other device to help us get around.

parking lot with handicap spots

Disabled Parking:  Many Signs Are Better than One

It’s easy to miss a disabled parking sign, especially when you’re distracted and in a hurry.  This is why it is better to have more than one sign that indicates disabled parking.  Here are the indicators to look for when it comes to disabled parking.

  1. Blue handicapped parking sign with the wheelchair
  2. Wheelchair sign painted on the ground as a stencil
  3. Painted stripes on the ground, which indicate the access aisle
  4. Curb ramp for wheelchair access

It is not always the case that all of these four signs are present.  However the ADA requires a sign with the international symbol of accessibility – the wheelchair.  The width of the space should be 96” or 8 feet.  The level access aisle should also be 96” or 8 feet.  Special parking designates van accessible parking.  However, different states have different regulations, so be sure to check for your state’s requirements.

Van wheelchair ramps should be seven feet or less for disabled parking.

Van wheelchair ramps should be seven feet or less for disabled parking.

When using a van with a wheelchair ramp in accessible parking, the length of the ramp must be taken into account.  If the wheelchair ramp is seven feet, it will still give the wheelchair adequate room to turn after reaching the access aisle. When purchasing a wheelchair ramp it is important to consider the length of the ramp and disabled parking.  A ramp that is eight feet or longer will not have adequate space for you to turn in your wheelchair.

There are several types of portable van wheelchair ramps.  One of the most popular is the track or channel ramp.  It is lightweight and easy to set up and take down.  It can be used for wheelchairs and scooters.

Having an understanding of disabled parking helps everyone appreciate its necessity. The next time you are tempted to park in a disabled spot, remember that you may be putting someone at a great inconvenience by using a parking space that is specially designed for wheelchair accessibility.

Category: Regulations

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