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Van Accessible Parking: Frequently Asked Questions

Q. With which MUTCD sign, the van accessible supplemental sign is required?

A.

The green and white VAN ACCESSIBLE supplemental sign (R7-8a) is required to be mounted below the MUTCD D4-1 sign

The blue and white VAN ACCESSIBLE (R7-8b) supplemental sign (see Figure 2B-16) is required to be mounted below the MUTCD R7-8 sign.

Q. What is the difference between “person sitting straight on the wheelchair” and “person inclining forward” symbols on the ADA Van Accessible signs?

A.

The original ISA (the person-in-a-wheelchair symbol) was designed by Susanne Koefoed and adopted in 1969 by the Rehabilitation International. It is the most widely used symbol till date while the new person-inclining-forward-in-a-wheelchair symbol is adopted by many states like New York and Connecticut. Sara Hendren and Brian Glenney of The Accessible Icon Project created this dynamic new design to show motion and activity. However, it is not adopted by any federal organization like the U.S. Access Board and International Organization for Standardization.

Q. What are the Van Accessible signage laws according to ADA?

A.
Chapter 502.6 of ADA which talks about “Identification of Parking Space” clearly mentions that signs identifying van parking spaces shall contain the wording “van accessible.” Signs shall be a minimum of 5 feet (60 inches) above the ground measured from the bottom of the sign.

Q. What is the difference between a “Van Accessible” parking spot and a regular parking spot?

A.

Van Accessible parking spaces must be 11 feet wide and require a 5-feet wide access aisle on one or both the sides to let wheelchair users safely enter and egress the van using a wheelchair ramp or lift. Access aisles can be shared between two spaces. An alternate design allows a van-accessible space to be eight (8) feet wide if the adjacent access aisle is also eight (8) feet wide. 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. Signs at van-accessible spaces must include the additional phrase “van-accessible” along with the regular ADA reserved parking sign requirement to include the International Symbol of Accessibility (ISA).

Q. Is it necessary to buy the blue and white Van Accessible parking sign to comply with federal regulations?

A.

The Federal Highway Administration offers two designs for the Van Accessible plaques, both used in different conditions. 

The rectangular blue supplemental sign with a white border and the words "VAN ACCESSIBLE" in white on two lines (R7-8b) is required to designate parking spaces that can accommodate wheelchair vans.

The rectangular white supplemental sign with a green border and the words "VAN ACCESSIBLE" in green on two lines (R7-8a) is required to direct drivers to van-accessible parking facilities. 

However, local or state jurisdictions may require a particular color scheme for these signs.

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