How to Determine If Your Parking Lot Is ADA Compliant

The rules have become more stringent since 2010. As older parking areas are refurbished or repaved, those rules have to be adhered to.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed almost 30 years ago (in 1990), and the requirements it places on parking facilities were altered in 2010. Now, as parking lots are aging (and deteriorating) to the point of needing refurbishment they have to come into compliance with the newer set of rules.

What exactly constitutes refurbishing? Repaving and restriping trigger the 2010 rules, in addition to new construction or refurbishing of the buildings served by the parking area. Those 2010 ADA requirements reflect a developed understanding of how to make public areas accessible to people who were formerly excluding from shopping, work, entertainment and worship.

Those ADA compliance rules are largely based on the size and location of the facilities the parking area serves. The larger the facilities, the larger the number of accessible entrances and therefore the greater the number of accessible parking spaces. Formulas provided by the ADA National Network – which provides information, guidance and training on implementation of the ADA – apply to any parking facility that serves the public (i.e., not those that serve trade traffic, such as trucks, delivery vehicles, law enforcement vehicles, and buses after discharging passengers).

Here is the formula for allocating spaces required for accessible parking:

Total Spaces Accessible Parking Spaces Van Accessible Parking Spaces
1-25 1 1
26-50 2 1
51-75 3 1
76-100 4 1
101-150 5 1
151-200 6 1
201-300 7 2
301-400 8 2
401-500 9 2
501-1000 2% of Total  
1001 + 20, plus 1 for each 100 over 1000  

Healthcare facilities are required to provide a higher concentration of accessible parking. At least 10% of spaces for patients/visitors at hospital out-patient facilities should be provided; and 20% of patients/visitors spaces at rehabilitation facilities that treat mobility-related conditions and outpatient physical therapy are required.

Placement and dimensions of accessible parking spaces

The placement and dimensions of the accessible parking spaces matter as well. Section 208.3 of the statute stipulates that those spaces should be positioned for the shortest accessible route to the accessible entrance(s). The rule of thumb on dimensions is the accessible car parking space should be at least 96 inches wide and accessible van spaces 132 inches wide. In addition, those spaces must adjoin an access aisle, which would be 60+ inches wide, the full length of the vehicle parking space, and have clear markings to prevent others from parking there.

One very important note: The quality of pavement serving the handicapped as well as the healthy matters: It needs to be smooth and free of potholes. A trip and fall accident due to irregular surfaces can involve costly litigation as well as debilitating injuries.