Equal Access Parking is Easy and Right - Americans with Disabilities
While the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has opened doors that were previously closed for many – sometimes literally! – the law has a number of complexities that still elude many businesses. The desire to comply with the ADA may be there, but knowing how to do so is another story entirely. At the same time, compliance with the ADA is essential in order to avoid the legal and financial complications that come with non-compliance; if nothing else, the costs of these complications far outweigh the costs of compliance! One of the most important ways a business can comply with the ADA is to provide the appropriate signage. Information is often the most powerful tool a disabled person can have; just knowing where they can park and where they can access a ramp or elevator is key to safely and successfully navigating a space. Compliance with ADA signage regulations is actually one of the simplest, easiest, and most affordable ways you can meet all of the requirements of the ADA.
How to Make Your Lot ADA Compliant First, you should find out if you actually require accessible parking. If you have a lot where parking is provided for the public, whether they are clients, guests, or employees, then you are required by the ADA to have accessible parking; thus, if you have a parking lot, you should have accessible parking. The number of accessible parking spaces in your garage or lot depends on the total number of parking spaces in your garage or lot; for example, if you have between 51 and 75 spaces, you are required to have at least 3 accessible parking spaces. These spaces should be located as close to an “accessible route of travel” adjacent to an “accessible entrance” as possible. Obviously, the closer the parking space is to the best method of travel for someone who is disabled, the better the parking space is. This is why you typically see accessible parking as the nearest spaces to a place of business, right next to a ramp. Sometimes, the natural geography of your parking lot is not conducive to the placement of accessible parking. You may have to have the slope of your parking spaces and access aisles altered, as they must not exceed one unit vertical to 50 units horizontal in any direction. If they do, this could prove a danger to whoever parks there.f course, an accessible parking space is pointless if it doesn’t have the requisite space for individuals to use. That’s why your parking space must also provide an “accessible aisle” on the passenger side of the vehicle’s parking space. “NO PARKING” needs to be written within the 5-foot loading and unloading access aisle, so that other cars know to respect the accessible parking space. A bumper or curb can also be used to prevent cars from encroaching into walkways, parking spaces, and aisles.
A Sign of the Times As we mentioned earlier, it is important to clearly identify spaces, routes of travel, and means of access for disabled individuals. Parking spaces for persons with disabilities must be identified using the reflectorized sign you typically see that identifies something as accessible for persons with disabilities. Those signs should be permanently posted and clearly visible so that they can’t be easily tampered with or missed. The exact positioning of the sign has some leeway, but generally speaking, it must be clearly visible to everyone. It’s important to let people know that there are accessible parking spaces in your lot or garage at the entrance, as this allows for individuals who require those kinds of accommodations to take that into consideration before entering. Additionally, warning that individuals who park in those spaces who do not have the right identification – think “person with disability” placard or license plate – will be penalized for unlawfully parking in those spaces is important as well. To further identify the space and warn off those who might mistakenly park there, it is required that you identify the space by having it painted or by using the international symbol of accessibility on the ground. Oftentimes, images are far better at communicating a message than words, and the bigger the image, the more likely it is to be noticed. In the end, it isn’t difficult at all to comply – it just takes the time and effort to make your parking lot or garage work for Americans whose disabilities otherwise make it difficult for them to do business with or work at your company. It’s the right thing to do.
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