How to Designate a Parking Spot as Handicapped

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If you have a new business that will be open to the public and you are providing parking for customers, you need to have at least one handicapped parking spot. According to the Adaptive Access website, the American with Disabilities Act has specific requirements for creating handicapped parking spots, including how many spaces you are required to have. Designating a parking spot as handicapped and working within the ADA accessibility guidelines is something that you can accomplish on your own.

  • Select a spot that is located on level ground and as close to the handicap accessible entrance as possible. You will need to have room for an access aisle to the left or right of the spot to accommodate a mobility device. This means that you may need to take two parking spots and convert them into one handicapped spot. For van-accessible spaces, the access aisle needs to be at least 8 feet wide. The aisle for cars must be 5 feet wide. The Access Board website (see Resources) has a chart of the required minimum number of handicapped spaces you must have to be in compliance with the ADA accessibility guidelines.

  • Create a route, if one does not already exist, between the selected space and the accessible entrance. This route should not be steep and it should have a slip-resistant surface. Typically parking spots closest to the accessible entrance already have a clear route.

  • Post a sign with the international symbol of accessibility, which is the handicap logo, directly in front of the parking spot. The bottom edge of the sign should be at least 60 inches above the ground and it should be mounted high enough to be seen over any vehicle parked in the spot. If you are creating a van-accessible spot, the sign must also include “van accessible” on it.

  • Paint a handicap logo on the pavement of the parking spot, if you want to. It is not a requirement that handicapped parking spots have the painted logo. You can also paint the lines in a different color if you want them to stand out, but it is not a requirement.

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