Why Does My Parking Lot Need to Be Accessible?
The consequences of violating the ADA can be steep for a business. In California, a violation of the ADA is considered a civil rights violation, which means the minimum penalty is $4,000 plus attorney fees. However, that fine can be as high as $75,000 for a first time offense, and is even more costly for subsequent violations.
Even more concerning, Title III of the ADA, Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities, requires no prior warning to trigger a violation. This means you could be taken completely by surprise by an ADA lawsuit.
Proactively making sure your parking lot is compliant is the best way to prevent a costly legal process.
What Are the ADA Parking Lot Requirements in the CA Bay Area?
The Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal law that sets certain standards for accessibility. The state of California also has its own set of regulations that go beyond the ADA, known as the California Building Standards Code. It’s important to understand that to be compliant in the California Bay Area, your parking lot must meet both sets of regulations.
The specific requirements you have to meet will depend on the size of your lot and how many parking facilities you have on your property.
As a general rule of thumb, you need one accessible parking space for 1 to 25 total parking spaces, with that number increasing with the amount of spaces in your lot. Of those, one of every 6 should be van accessible.
These accessible spaces should be located to give visitors the shortest possible route of travel from the space to an accessible entrance. This entrance will be the top of a ramp or accessible doorway. Each accessible space must also follow all appropriate dimension guidelines. If you have more than 5 accessible spaces, they must also be signed.
Does Every Parking Lot Need to Be ADA Compliant?
All California businesses, even those that do not serve the public, are required to comply with accessible design standards. This includes any privately run companies, nonprofits, and charities that serve the public.
That said, parking facilities used exclusively for buses, trucks, delivery vehicles, law enforcement vehicles, and impound lots are not required to include accessible parking unless they are accessed by the public.
Finally, small lots with four or fewer spaces must have accessible spaces, but they don’t need to be signed and anyone can park in them, with or without a vehicle placard.
Does a Parking Lot Need to Be Paved to Be ADA Compliant?
An ADA compliant parking lot should offer a route to the entrance of your building with no steps or steep surfaces. The surface needs to be stable, firm, and slip resistant. Because of these requirements, having your lot paved by a reputable asphalt company may be your best option.
How Do I Know if My Parking Lot is Up to Code?
The ADA and the California Building Standards Code contain a complex set of regulations for your parking lot and business. It can be challenging for a business owner to navigate these regulations on their own to ensure complete compliance and avoid a costly lawsuit.
The best way to know your parking lot is up to code is have your property evaluated. From there, you can get a quote for any parking lot restriping or repair work you may need to ensure complete compliance.