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ADA Handicap Parking: Frequently Asked Questions and Regulations


Yes. Chapter 502.6 of ADA which talks about “Identification of Parking Space” clearly mentions that “Parking space identification signs shall include the International Symbol of Accessibility complying with 703.7.2.1.” The person-in-a-wheelchair symbol is the most widely used and easily recognized symbol designating accessibility.


ADA distinguishes parking spaces in two categories, namely, Van Accessible and Non-Van Accessible (basically cars). The difference between the two lies in the width of the parking space and the access aisle to be provided with the respective parking spaces. A Van Accessible parking space must be 11 feet wide and requires an 8 feet (96 inch) wide access aisle on one or two sides to let wheelchair users safely enter and exit the van using a wheelchair ramp or lift. A minimum of 98-inch of height clearance is also required at van parking spaces, access aisles, and on vehicular routes to and from the van space.ADA also mentions that van-accessible parking spaces must have additional ‘text’ or ‘van accessible sign’ below the accessibility symbol to mark the van-accessible area specifically.


This depends on the total number of parking spaces in a parking lot. Look at the following table from Chapter 208.2 of ADA to learn about the minimum number of accessible parking spaces and van-accessible parking spaces required in a parking structure. 

Total Number of Parking Spaces in a 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


Enforcement of accessible parking requirements is governed by various agencies, which differs by state. Property owners that do not provide required parking might receive an informal request or an official complaint from a private individual. Violations at larger properties are often prosecuted by the Department Of Justice. Even lawsuit and private litigation can be filed against the property owner or business, which can be costly.


For general ADA signs, the Department of Justice is responsible for enforcing sign requirements in public buildings and spaces, however, much of the actual enforcement falls on local building inspectors. Building inspectors will generally provide 2 – 4 weeks to come into compliance before issuing fines. Initial DOJ fines start from $55,000 to $75,000 and subsequent fines can go up to $150,000 as of 2020.

Parking sign regulations are state-specific. Therefore, it is advisable to contact your local code inspector to confirm legal expectations regarding ADA parking signage requirements. Enforcement activities related to issues like fraudulent use of permits, illegal parking in accessible spaces, etc. are also typically carried out by state and local authorities, such as city police departments.


These factors determine that a parking space is accessible - 

  • Size - Each parking space must be a minimum of 8 feet wide with a 5 feet access aisle adjacent to it. Two spaces can share the same aisle access. 


  • Signage - Accessible parking spaces must be identified with a sign displaying the international symbol of accessibility. The ADA Parking sign shall measure at least 12 inches by 18 inches. Signs should be mounted so that the bottom edge of the sign is at least 5 feet above the ground. This helps ensure visibility both for motorists and local enforcement officials.
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