Parking Lot ADA Guidelines: What You Need to Know

By Justin Hoover, PCM Pavement Marking Division Manager | August 6, 2013

ADA Pavement Marking Diagram

Photo courtesy of Smart Sign 

What are the new parking lot requirements and how have property managers and their teams been affected?

Title III of the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) is all about ensuring that places of public accommodation are accessible to people with disabilities. Naturally, this affects every property manager and their team. Regardless of your property’s size, all must now have the proper amount of handicapped-accessible parking stalls, and required number of van parking spaces. Access to your property and compliance with regulations is imperative for all facilities. ADA compliance through pavement markings and signage not only ensures avoiding fines and penalties but also allows easy access to your property. PCM Services is here to help!

What should you know in order to comply with the ADA for your property’s parking lots?

Accessible Parking Spaces for Cars

Accessible car parking spaces must be a minimum of 96 inches-wide with at least a 60-inch-wide access aisle located adjacent to the designated parking space allowing enough space for a person using a wheelchair to enter or exit the car. These parking spaces must be identified with a sign mounted on level ground high enough so it can be seen while a vehicle is parked in the space. Accessible parking spaces must be the same length as the adjacent parking space(s) and must connect to an accessible route to the building. It is important to ensure boundaries of the access aisle are marked. Two parking spaces may share an access aisle.


ADA Standards for Accessible Design

Van-accessible Parking Spaces

Van-accessible parking spaces need a wider access aisle (96”) to accommodate a wheelchair lift and vertical clearance (98”) to accommodate van height at the van parking space, the adjacent access aisle, and on the vehicular route to and from the van-accessible space. For every six handicap parking spots, at least one must be van-accessible and a “van accessible” sign must be displayed.


Accessible parking spaces must be located on the shortest accessible route of travel to an accessible facility entrance. An accessible route never has curbs or stairs, must be at least 3’ wide, and has a firm, stable, slip-resistant surface. Where buildings have multiple accessible entrances with adjacent parking, the accessible parking spaces must be dispersed and located closest to the accessible entrances. Van-accessible parking spaces located in parking garages may be clustered on one floor (to accommodate the 98” minimum vertical height requirement).

*Note: Some states have slightly different specifications. Be sure to check with state and local ordinances.

Curious about ADA requirements for sidewalks and curb ramps? Check out our blog ADA Compliant Sidewalks and Curb Ramps.