What are Laws for Handicap Parking Spaces

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

Enacted in 1990 and amended in 2008, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) established the rights of qualifying individuals with disabilities to have access to public parking spaces and building entrances. The website for all the conditions related to the Act is: www.ada.gov. Within the Act are federal regulations and guidelines for the establishment of reserved handicap parking spaces.
Every state and territory has established laws regarding the application process for and possession of vehicle handicap plates and placards plus any associated fees. Within the ADA the federal government defines the location, the number, and the size of handicap spaces in public and private parking lots.

LOCATION OF SPACES

Reserved parking lanes for handicap vehicles are to be located nearest to building entrances from the parking lot. If there is more than one building entrance, or no building entrance from the parking lot, the handicap spaces are to be nearest the pedestrian walkways into and out of the parking lot or nearest to an elevator.

NUMBER OF SPACES

The number of parking spaces to be reserved for handicap vehicles and vans is calculated based on the number of spots in a parking lot. Lots with 1-25 spots need 1 handicap space; 26-50 spots need 2 handicap spaces; 51-75 spots need 3 handicap spaces; and 76-100 spots need 4 handicap spaces. Larger lots have different requirements. Lots with 101-150 spots need 5 handicap spaces; 151-200 spots need 6 handicap spaces; 201-300 spots need 7 handicap spaces; 301-400 spots need 8 handicap spaces; and 401-500 spots need 9 handicap spaces. Lots with a capacity of 501-1000 spots need to reserve 2 percent of the total spaces for handicap parking. Lots with a capacity of over 1001 spots need to reserve 20 handicap spaces plus 1 additional space for every 100 spots over 1001. Additionally, for every 8 handicap spaces 1 space must be van accessible. If a lot only has 1 handicap space, that space will also be designated as van accessible.

SIZE OF SPACES

The ADA provides the governing regulations for the width and height of handicap spaces. Each handicap space must be 8 feet wide and the van accessible spaces must have 98 inches of height clearance. The no parking space between handicap spaces must be 5 feet wide and the spaces next to or between two van accessible spaces must be 8 feet wide to accommodate the loading and unloading of wheel chairs and walkers.

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