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Are parking lots with no space marking ADA compliant?


Dear Leader
Staff member
My understanding about how the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to off-street parking lots with 25 or fewer parking spaces is:

* A parking lot with 1-25 spaces must have 1 van accessible space, meeting the dimensional and access aisle requirements of the ADA. (ADA Standards for Accessible Design 4.1.2 (5))

* If a parking lot has 4 spaces or less, it doesn't need a reserved accessible space with signage and the white-on-blue symbol of accessibility on the surface, but it still must have 1 space that meets the dimensional and access aisle requirements for a van accessible space.

The way I read this, it means all parking spaces in a parking lot must be marked, so:

* There is a basis for determining the number of accessible spaces, and

* Any accessible spaces clearly meet ADA dimensional, access aisle, and location requirements.

Do you think a paved parking lot with signs but no parking space marking -- the paved equivalent of the dirt or gravel "parking patches" that make up the typical parking lot in many rural and exurban communities around here -- would comply with ADA requirements? What if the parking lot has four spaces or less, with one non-reserved accessible parking space?

Your thoughts?


I would say you need the ground markings. That's part of the accessible space, providing room for the chair to work. I've done some that were concrete pads on a gravel lot with nothing more than a sign, but it was obvious the whole pad was the space and side access area and no easy way to encroach in that.


Staff member
As I mentioned elsewhere, a local developer once said at a Planning Commission meeting that "the only wilderness my engineers have ever seen is an unstriped parking lot". My thought would be that no, it would not be ADA-compliant and it would be chaos. (Especially for my local drivers who quietly challenge Rome, Delhi, and Boston for worst in the world.) Don't forget too that accessible parking has to be on an accessible route to an accessible entrance, if that might make any difference in your part of the world.