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Reserved Parking: Frequently Asked Questions for Businesses

Q. What is meant by reserved parking?


Reserved parking refers to designated spaces that can be used only by specific individuals for parking their vehicles. Reserved parking spots are a common sight at businesses, churches, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, etc., which assign these spots for use by employees, staff, visitors, customers, pastors, doctors, etc.

Q. Is reserved parking the same as accessible parking?


No. Reserved parking and accessible parking are two different concepts. While reserved parking implies parking spots meant for specified persons, accessible parking are designated spaces created for persons with disabilities in compliance with ADA. Parking spaces may be reserved for the disabled and other individuals but accessible parking is meant for the use of persons with disabilities only. 

Q. Is it mandatory for businesses to have reserved parking spaces?


Other than creating accessible parking in their parking facility, businesses are not required to have reserved parking. These spaces are usually created to provide easy access to a facility, provide convenience to employees and/or visitors, and attract customers. Parking spaces may also be assigned as a sign of respect for someone’s achievements and title, often marked by special award reserved parking signage.

Q. Are reserved parking spots enforceable?


Unlike public parking which is standardized and regulated by local authorities, reserved parking is a concept more common to private parking facilities and hence, their enforcement depends on the owner of the property. The owner at his/her discretion can implement restrictions on who can park and may get any vehicle parked in violation of their policies towed away, as explained here.

Q. Are there any regulations that govern reserved parking?


Most reserved parking is not regulated by any specific standards or regulations. However, if a parking space is to be reserved for the disabled, then it must comply with the accessible parking standards laid out by ADA. 

Additionally, if such signs are created in spaces open to the public, any signs for reserved parking used to identify such spots may be required to comply with MUTCD standards and/or locally applicable standards. Please check with your local authorities for accurate information.

Q. How many reserved parking spaces can a business create?


This depends entirely on the business owner who may want to reserve parking spots for his/her employees, visitors, and/or customers. If the business is open to the general public, their parking facility may be required to comply with the ADA design specifications. In this case, the minimum number of accessible parking spaces will depend on the total number of spaces in the parking lot and is defined in the ADA specifications. 

Since parking laws and rules vary across states, your local authority may have different requirements.

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