February 15, 2022

ADA Compliance and your Parking Lot

ADA compliance, Landscape Architecture, Parking lots ADA compliance, Landscape Architecture, Parking lots
Providing Accessible Parking  

Providing accessible parking is a requirement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and is the legal responsibility of a property owner. Even the routine act of re-sealing and restriping your parking lot requires that you stay current on the law which will keep you in compliance. Here’s what you should know: 

  • The ADA requirements can change every few years. The law considers things such as the parking lot size, the signage, and the location and size of the spaces. In the past, ADA stalls were required to be only 5’ wide. Now all ADA stalls and access aisles in Minnesota need to be a minimum of 8’ wide with a 2% slope or less in every direction. 

  • Each state’s ADA laws may differ. Make sure to check your state laws before beginning your project. For example, Minnesota ADA requirements for stall dimensions are different from other states. As mentioned above, access aisles in Minnesota need to be 8’ wide whereas some other states only require them to be 5’. This change in code for Minnesota now makes every stall van accessible. Van-accessible signs are no longer needed in Minnesota unless you are doing angle parking. Angle parking requires access aisles to be on a certain side of the vehicle to be considered van accessible.     

  • Know what changes may require you to bring your site into compliance. Again, make sure to check your state laws before beginning your project. For example, Minnesota ADA requirements that went into effect in 2015 allow existing striping to be grandfathered in if it is left as-is or simply re-striped in the same location. Once the new pavement is installed or existing pavement is re-sealed, landowners are required to update their parking lot to new ADA requirements. 

  • Lawsuits do happen for non-compliant ADA parking stalls. With easy access to aerial photography and drive-by views online, people can easily notice if your parking lot is not ADA compliant. The easiest red flag is having a pedestrian ramp within the access aisle. A few other easy-to-spot issues include: 

    • not having enough ADA stalls for your lot,  

    • missing signs, or signs that are not mounted at the right height and centered on the stalls, and 

    • not having an access aisle or having one that is too narrow.

Harder to spot is whether the slope of your stalls is ADA compliant. However, multiple phone apps allow you to tell the slope of the pavement. These readings may or may not be accurate, but the information is nonetheless being used in lawsuits, claiming stalls are not compliant.  

The Future of Accessible Parking  

Additionally, providing accessible parking with EV charging capabilities has become a hot topic. Currently, there are no requirements in place with the ADA. However, with charging stations often being placed far from the door in parking lots, they are less accessible for those with disabilities. Future laws may require adding these charging stations to accessible parking spots. To prepare for these future changes, there are things to consider for new or remodeled sites.  

  • Provide conduit to ADA stalls for potential future EV charging stations. 

  • Make some EV charging stations designed to ADA parking lot standards. 

  • Locate EV charging stations closer to the front doors. 

Need help understanding the ADA laws? 

Some asphalt companies and parking lot painters may offer to create a plan for you, however, those plans are often not ADA compliant from the start. Don’t make the costly mistake of having to rip up new asphalt so you can regrade the site to make it ADA compliant. A little survey and design upfront can save you time and construction costs. 

We here to help. Our engineers are knowledgeable and experienced in ADA law and can create a plan that will be compliant. Before re-sealing or doing a mill and overlay, chat with us. We’ll be happy to discuss your site and schedule an ADA assessment. 

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