When people use parking lots, they think that “you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.” They do not know that while these are all generally open spaces designed for use with a variety of vehicles, not all of these parking areas are designed the same. This is because of the fact that different establishments and structures require different kinds of parking lots. Along with these different parking lot designs also come different ADA parking considerations.

Parking lot design considerations are made according to what the establishment, area or building requires. Bigger buildings, for example, often call for bigger parking areas while a smaller establishment may have a parking lot that has space enough for the occupants of the said building. Aside from the number of slots, the size of the lot and the environmental considerations, parking lot designers also need to take into account the need for spaces that are reserved for those with disabilities.

With the help of the ADAAG, or the ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities, building owners, architects and designers can help create the kind of parking lot that is compliant with the ADA Act of 1990. These guidelines include such considerations like parking space size, location, markings and signages.

For parking space allocation requirements, any parking lot that has 1 to 25 slots should have at least 1 accessible parking space with either an 8-foot or 5-foot aisle. It should also have 1 van accessible parking space that has a minimum of 8-feet for its access aisle. These small lots do not necessarily need to have another additional parking slot with a 5-foot aisle. For bigger parking lots however, additional ADA accessible parking spaces are needed, with the number increasing as the lot size increases.

These slots need to also comply with ADA standards for visibility. For example, access aisles for both standard cars and for vans have to bear stripes that are easy to see and should lead to a curb access ramp. These stripes should also be of a standard dimension and general design. Also required with each ADA compliant parking slot is a sign that shows the international symbol for disability. Depending on the kind of parking slot, whether it is a van accessible or regular sized parking slot for cars, the sign should be clearly visible and should carry the international symbol of accessibility that thereby reserves the slot for disabled users only.