Is Your Parking Lot Legal? 7 ADA Compliance Things You May Have Missed
Are your existing parking lots compliant with ADA Title III? What about your new facilities under construction? Compliance is a federal requirement as of March 2012 and violations can be extremely costly not only in fines, but also in potential lawsuits or facility downtime.
This blog will help you understand the requirements of the law as it pertains specifically to parking lots and it will guide you in assessing your parking structures to ensure proper compliance.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 was implemented to protect people with disabilities from discrimination as well as provide them with equal opportunities, access, and enjoyment of public accommodations. Title III specifically addresses public access and requires a variety of different regulations to be met by commercial and public facilities (found in the table below). These regulations include parking lots, ramps, and the removal of barriers that may impede the access of people with disabilities.
Compliance with the ADA and, in particular, Title III is a federal requirement and access violations may result in steep fines, which vary by state and local municipality codes. In California, for example, ADA lawsuits may involve not only access violations, but also damages pertaining to the state’s Unruh Civil Rights Act (Cal. Civ. Code § 51(f)) and the California
Disabled Persons Act (Cal. Civ. Code §§ 52(a), 54(a)). California law also provides for treble damages, with a minimum of $4,000 per occurrence, plus attorney’s fees.
Title III details the removal of barriers and the construction of areas without barriers as it concerns all public and commercial facilities outlined below.
TITLE III Mandates Cover the Following:
• Retail & Specialty Stores
• Hotels & Restaurants
• Entertainment & Sporting Venues
• Office Buildings
The ADA has regulations that apply directly to parking lots. These regulations govern all parking facilities including lots and ramps and require all public and commercial facilities to be compliant by March of 2012. If your parking facility is not already compliant it is not too late. We’ve broken down the laws so that you can easily understand what steps you can take to become compliant.
Below are ADA regulations that should be noted as you assess your parking lot(s).
1. Section 36.304 Removal of barriers: This section of the ADA stipulates that barriers need to be removed from public buildings and areas. This includes creating designated accessible parking spaces, installing an entrance ramp, and other architectural changes to enhance accessibility.
2. Section 4.1.2 of the ADA requires that one of every eight parking spaces in a given parking lot be “designed with adequate adjacent space to deploy a lift used with a van.” This means the spot must have extra space on the left and right side, as well as a sign indicating the space is van accessible.
The United States Access Board (USAB) has also created a set of requirements pertaining to parking lots.These include:
1. 206.2.1 Accessible Routes: This requires at least one accessible route from designated parking or unloading zones to the entrance of the accessible building which the parking lot serves. This route should be the most direct possible.
2. Generally speaking, fifty percent of your public entrances must be accessible. This may require the installment of a ramp from the parking lot in some instances.
3. A minimum number of accessible parking spots are required under these regulations as well. The table below outlines the minimum requirement.
Becoming compliant may seem a bit overwhelming; however, these regulations are not meant to be implemented overnight. The term “readily achievable” is included in Title III to allow for organizations to plan and finance the removal of barriers in a timely but reasonable period. Should your company run into a financial or other hurdle while attempting to become compliant, this provision can be helpful. Additionally, the IRS does provide a tax credit for those businesses that move forward with barrier removal. More details on this credit can be found on the ADA website and the IRS Code section 44.
Keep in mind, this list is not exhaustive. For a full list of priorities, exemptions, and other site-specific regulations about parking facility requirements visit the ADA and United States
Access Board websites (links on final page). There you will find more detailed information about facility and property regulations that may apply to you. Should you determine you need assistance in becoming compliant, Pavement Corporation has the knowledge and experience to guide you in the process.
Awareness and understanding of the ADA and USAB regulations are the first steps toward compliance. Next, obtain copies of your town, village, city and/or county, and state ADA requirements. By educating yourself, you can ensure your facilities and properties meet or exceed expectations and provide an enjoyable and accessible experience to all who visit.
AS YOU BEGIN TO ASSESS YOUR PARKING LOTS AND DETERMINE WHAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED, USE THIS CHECKLIST AS A GUIDE:
1. Confirm proper ratio of accessible stalls to the number of total parking spaces
2. Ensure proper size of accessible stalls
3. Locate an adequate number of accessible spaces closest to accessible entrances
4. Erect signs and paint accessory markings in the appropriate color to identify and reserve all ADA parking
5. Verify access aisles are part of accessible route to accessible entrance
6. Construct properly designed ramps and sloped areas at accessible entrance
7. Install truncated domes on surfaces to warn of pathway hazards or grade changes
Whether you evaluate your parking lots on your own or with a certified inspector, it is critical to also meet with a reputable parking lot maintenance contractor before proceeding with any construction or maintenance procedures. Working with a knowledgeable pavement professional can mean the difference between compliance and non-compliance. Violations can be extremely costly, not only in repairs, but also in facility downtime and even potential lawsuits.
The contractor you select should review the ADA areas in need of improvement as well as consult available blueprints to identify the locations of permanent fixtures, islands, and other structures. Parking lot design and layout should be discussed including straight-in or angled parking stalls as well as traffic flow. As work begins, be sure to monitor the progress of your facility as it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure it is compliant.
If you would like Pavement Corporation to come out to assess your lot for ADA compliance, please contact us at email@example.com or 855.976.8465 x1008.
• ADA Title III:
• United States Access Board: