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The Basics of Handicap Parking Sign Placement

Handicap parking sign placement is governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Following these rules is the responsibility of private property owners and managers of public parking facilities.  Fortunately, complying with these regulations is relatively simple.  Here’s a summary of what you need to know.

1.      The internationally-recognized symbol of handicap accessibility should be used to mark all reserved spaces.  This logo is the well-known outline drawing symbolizing a person using a wheelchair.  The drawing is white with a blue background.

2.      Handicapped parking spots for vans and other vehicles should be marked accordingly; that is, text should be added underneath the logo prescribing what type of vehicles are allowed in the spot.

3.      Signs should be placed at least 60 inches above the parking lot surface so they are not obscured by vehicles or other objects.

4.      While the minimum number of handicap spaces required is dependent on the overall size of the parking lot, a minimum of one and an additional one in every eight handicap spaces must be van accessible.

5.      Spaces for drivers with a disability should be spacious enough to allow easy exit from and access to the vehicle on both the left and right sides.  The law requires a minimum 8-foot width for all handicap spaces and an additional access aisle with a minimum width of 8 feet for any van-accessible spaces and 5 feet for any standard handicap spaces.

6.      Spaces marked by a handicap parking sign should be placed so that the person using them has the shortest possible access route to the building’s entrance.  The only exception to this is when a single lot serves multiple locations.  In such cases, the spaces should be placed as close as possible to the surrounding sidewalk or other pedestrian walkway.

7.      Furthermore, spaces marked by a handicap parking sign that are located in multi-use lots should also be disbursed throughout that lot, helping to ensure that drivers with a disability can park as close as possible to their destination.



Property owners and managers should always practice proper handicap parking sign placement.  While the advice above provides a general overview of the subject, further questions should be directed to an ADA compliance specialist.