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Accessible Parking: An Open Door Policy

When it seems like life is one long obstacle course to getting your foot in the door, consider the fact that doing so is really just a metaphor: you’ve probably never struggled with actually getting yourself through a literal doorway. It’s a daily reality for many Americans who live with accessibility issues, and who can bring a wealth of benefits to businesses, services, and functions if they could just, well, get in the door. The golden rule applies to your parking lot as much as your behavior, so here’s how to make sure your door is accessible to everyone, no matter how their feet are getting in.

Accessible Parking Lot

Unless you’re operating a valet-only system, you’re required by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to provide handicap accessible parking spaces. How many? It depends on the number of stalls in your parking lot.

Lot Total Standard Spaces Van Spaces Total Accessible Spaces
1 - 25 0 1 1
26 - 50 1 1 2
51 - 75 2 1 3
76 - 100 3 1 4
101 - 150 4 1 5
151 - 200 5 1 6
201 - 250 6 1 7

Of course, there are exceptions. Outpatient medical units require 10% of the total spaces to be handicap accessible, and if you specialize in treatment/services to the mobility impaired, reserve 20% of the total spaces for accessibility. If you decide to keep it sleek and swanky, valet parking facilities need only to provide a passenger loading zone.

Now to determine the ‘where’. Keep it simple: the shortest accessible route to the entrance(s) of the building. If you have multiple entrances, include accessible stalls near all of them. Remember that it’s about including everyone, so give consideration and space to all types of people who may come through the doors.

As to how you’ll create those spaces, the ADA makes it foolproof. Accessible parking spaces should be at least 96 inches wide and have a 60-inch-wide, 20-foot-long access aisle adjacent to the space. This aisle is wide enough for a person using a wheelchair to enter or exit the car, and two spaces may share the same aisle. Signs must be mounted on the ground in front of these spaces, high enough so they can be seen while vehicles are parked in the spaces. Lest you’re tempted to get creative and tap into your inner abstract impressionist, you need to stick to the international symbol of accessibility. If the accessible route is in front of one of these parking spaces, wheelstops should be installed to keep vehicles from reducing the width below 36 inches.

Van-accessible spaces should be at least 132 inches wide, unless the adjacent aisle is 96 inches wide to accommodate a wheelchair lift. To complete the package, the mounted sign should designate the space as “van-accessible” and a minimum height clearance of 98 inches must be provided at the parking space, access aisle, and along the route to and from that space.

If you want to be sure you’re maximizing your accessibility, a professional estimator can help you determine whether your parking area meets ADA Standards. A few extra steps in the initial phases of planning can make a huge difference for inclusivity, so you can get excited about the next great partner, employee, or customer getting their foot in the door.

Contact Ace for a free assessment of your parking lot’s accessibility.

ACE Asphalt is a full service asphalt maintenance, repair, and paving company with offices in Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff, Arizona, Las Vegas, Nevada, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Dallas,Texas. Ace serves the parking lot repair, maintenance, and paving needs of property managers, building owners, and contractors.

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