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ADA Parking Lot Design

When a business, state or local government agency or other covered entity restripes or installs a new parking lot, it must provide accessible parking spaces. This is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design. 

In addition, businesses or privately owned facilities that provide goods or services to the public have an obligation under the ADA to remove barriers in parking lots and along routes to their buildings. ADA considerations for parking lots include the location, quantity and design of accessible parking spaces.

Location of Accessible Parking Spaces 

According to the ADA, accessible parking spaces must be located on the shortest accessible route of travel to an accessible facility entrance. When buildings have multiple accessible entrances with adjacent parking, the accessible parking spaces must be distributed throughout and located closest to the accessible entrances. 

When adding accessible parking spaces to an existing parking lot, spaces should be located on the most level ground closest to the accessible entrance. An accessible route must always be provided from the accessible parking to the accessible entrance. 

An accessible route never has curbs or stairs, must be at least 36 inches wide and have a firm, slip-resistant surface. The slope along the accessible route should not be greater than 1:20 (1 inch of rise for every 20 inches of run) in the direction of travel.

Minimum Number of Accessible Parking Spaces 

If parking spaces are provided for self-parking by employees or visitors, accessible spaces must be provided in each parking area (see the table below).  Spaces required by the table do not need to be in the same lot as the other parking spaces. They may be provided in a different location of equivalent or greater accessibility, in terms of distance from an accessible entrance, cost and convenience.

Total Parking Spaces in Lot Required Number of Spaces Required Number of Van Spaces
1 to 25 1 1
26 to 50 2 1
51 to 75 3 1
76 to 100 4 1
101 to 150 5 1
151 to 200 6 1
201 to 300 7 2
301 to 400 8 2
401 to 500 9 2
501 to 1,000 2% of total 1 for every 6 or fraction of 6
1,001 and over 20, plus 1 each 100, or fraction thereof, over 1,000 1 for every 6 or fraction of 6


Accessible Parking Spaces for Cars 

Accessible parking spaces for cars must have the following features: 

  • A minimum 96-inch width measured from the centerline of the parking space markings
  • A sign with the international symbol of accessibility mounted a minimum of 60 inches above the ground surface, measured to the bottom of the sign, so it can be seen while a vehicle is parked in the space. Pavement markings alone do not meet the signage criteria
  • Installed wheel stops to keep vehicles from reducing the accessible route's width below 36 inches, if located in front of the space
  • An access aisle that is at least 60 inches wide, the same length as the adjacent parking space(s) it serves, and connects to an accessible route to the building. Accessible aisles must be level (1:48 maximum slope in all directions) and ramps must not extend into these access aisles. Accessible aisles shall be clearly marked to discourage cars from parking in them. Two parking spaces may share an access aisle

Accessible Parking Spaces for Vans

Van-accessible parking spaces are the same as car-accessible parking spaces, except for the following three features: 

  • A minimum 132-inch width measured from the centerline of the parking space markings (or 96 inches will be permitted if access aisle is a minimum 96 inches wide)
  • A sign with "van accessible" and the international symbol of accessibility mounted 60 inches minimum above the ground surface, measured to the bottom of the sign, so it can be seen while a vehicle is parked in the space. Pavement markings alone do not meet the signage criteria
  • A minimum 98-inch high clearance at the van parking space, access aisle and along the vehicular route to the parking space

Consider placing the access aisle on the passenger side of van parking space since wheelchair lifts are typically installed on the passenger side.

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