What are the ADA Parking Lot Requirements in California?

Does your business own a parking lot in California? Parking lots are governed by the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This means your lot must meet certain requirements to ensure all persons with disabilities have equal access to parking.

The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

The Federal ADA laws are applicable in every state. In addition, public and private lots in the Golden State are also governed by California Building Codes, as well.

Here’s what you need to know to ensure your parking lots meet both Federal and State ADA requirements.

ADA Parking Lot Requirements: California

Which parking lots are included?
Accessibility to public buildings, commercial buildings, and publicly funded housing is governed by ADA laws and CA building codes.

In addition to public and commercial buildings, this includes:

  • Hotels
  • Motels
  • Inns
  • Dormitories
  • Resorts
  • Homeless shelters
  • Halfway houses
  • Transient group homes
  • Outdoor areas (parks and rec areas, campsites, beach picnic areas, boat docks, and nature trails)

Where should handicapped spaces be located?
Handicapped parking spaces shall be located on the shortest accessible route to an accessible entrance and they shall be so arranged that persons with disabilities are not compelled to wheel or walk behind parked cars other than their own.

How many ADA parking spaces does your lot need?
You will need a minimum of one ADA parking space that is van accessible in your lot. The total number of spaces will depend on the number of total spaces available: a minimum of one and then one out of six spaces after that.

Read: How Many ADA Parking Spaces Does Your Parking Lot Need for more information and a chart detailing ADA vs total parking spaces.

How large do your accessible parking spaces need to be?
ADA standards call for parking spaces to be sized appropriately to ensure that an individual using a wheelchair can enter or exit their vehicle.

Per federal ADA requirements, car-accessible spaces must be 216 inches long and 96 inches wide and be adjacent to a 60-inch wide access aisle.

Van-accessible spaces must be 132 inches wide and 216 inches long, and be adjacent to a 96-inch wide access aisle.

Businesses in California should note that the California Building Standards Code imposes even stricter requirements. In the Golden state, accessible spaces must be 108 inches wide for cars, and 144 inches wide for vans.

What are the requirements for ramps, walkways, and sidewalks?
For exterior routes of travel, pedestrian ramps, walkways, and sidewalks should provide a direct, practical, and accessible route to ground-level exits and building entrances.  

See: ADA Cheat Sheet: Inspection Checklist for Disabled Access Regulations for width and slope requirements.

Does a parking lot need to be paved to be ADA compliant?
Neither Federal ADA standards nor CA building code mandates a specific building material for parking lots.

However, ADA standards do require that a parking lot be stable, firm, and slip-resistant.

Parking lots may be grass, gravel, concrete, or any other material, but asphalt is the most commonly used material for parking lots.

Asphalt is less expensive than concrete, durable and long-lasting, and meets ADA standards for being stable, firm, and slip-resistant.

As long as your asphalt parking lot is regularly maintained and repaired, it will create a safe and accessible parking lot for years to come.

Who Can I Call for ADA Parking Lot Requirements in CA?

JV Lucas has been providing commercial parking lot services to the California Bay Area for nearly 70 years. Our team is trusted by municipalities like the Contra Costa Water District and the East Bay Municipal Utility District, in addition to countless business owners, to provide asphalt services in the Bay Area. We’re the ADA parking lot pros.

To learn more about ADA parking lot services or to request a free consultation, contact us!