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Ultimate Guide To ADA Requirements In Southern California

ADA Requirements & Guidelines for Parking Lots, Sidewalks & Ramps

Description: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides requirements and regulations for businesses and contractors in order to keep buildings, parking lots, sidewalks and ramps accessible.

Most public U.S building structures must meet the requirements established by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This includes parking lots, sidewalks and the ramps included. ADA guidelines and requirements are meant to provide safe access for people with disabilities, with emphasis on those who use mobility devices such as wheelchairs and walkers.

ADA Requirements for Parking Lots

  1. Number of Accessible Parking Spaces

The required number of accessible parking spaces will vary depending on the type of facility. Hospital, physical therapy, residential and rehabilitation centers all have different accessibility requirements than other parking lots.

Outside of those exceptions, any parking lot with less than 25 spaces should have at least one accessible space. For every extra 25 spaces beyond that, one more accessible space is required. For lots with 501 to 1,000 spaces, 2% of the spaces should be accessible.

For those with 1,001 or more spaces, twenty accessible spaces are required, plus one for each 100 spaces after 1,000. This applies for individual parking lots. Additionally, every one of six (or fraction of six) must be van accessible.

  1. Dimensions & Measurements

Accessible parking spaces should be a minimum of eight feet wide. Every accessible parking space should include an access aisle, which also needs to measure at least eight feet. Up to two spaces can share one access aisle.

Van accessible spaces should be a minimum of 132 inches wide and should include a passenger loading zone with a pull-up space of at least 96 inches wide and at least 20 feet of distance.

  1. Identifications & Signage

Accessible spaces must carry proper identification, featuring a sign showing the international symbol of accessibility. The sign must be centered and measure a minimum of 12 by 18 inches. The sign must also include a fine notice for violating accessible parking laws. The bottom of the sign must be between 60 and 66 inches above the pavement.

  1. Location

Accessible parking spaces need to be placed on the shortest accessible route to an entrance that complies by ADA standards. 

  1. Pavement Surfaces

All parking spaces and access aisles must be marked with the international accessibility symbol and have firm, stable and slip resistant pavement surfaces. Both parking spaces and access aisles may not have higher than a 2% slope in any direction.

ADA Requirements for Sidewalks

  1. Slope Requirements

Sidewalks must have the maximum slope ratio of 1:20 to be considered a sidewalk. An increased elevation of half an inch or more in a slope requires the construction of a ramp, elevator or another ADA compliant tool.

  1. Width Requirements

ADA compliant sidewalks must be accessible for wheelchair users, meaning they require a minimum width of 36 inches or 3 feet. Sidewalks with less than 60 inches across must contain passing spaces at set intervals of every 200 feet. These passing spaces must also measure at least 60 inches or 5 feet on all sides.

  1. Surface Texture

Sidewalks must have surface textures that are safe and accessible for mobility devices. They must be firm, stable and non slippery.  Sidewalks may also not have any grate openings larger than half an inch across in order to prevent mobility devices from getting stuck.

  1. Curb Ramps

Any sidewalk that crosses a curb requires a curb ramp. Sidewalk curb ramps must have a ratio slope of no more than 1:12. Curb ramps must also be at least 36 inches wide, have a raised dome surface and must not project into the street.

ADA Requirements for Ramps

  1. Dimensions & Sizes

All ramps must be a minimum of 36 inches wide. The top and bottom landings of the ramp should be as wide as the ramp itself and at least 60 inches in length. The landing size must be at least five feet square.

  1. Slope Requirements

According to the ADA, ramps may not have a slope exceeding a ratio of 1:12. However, ADA guidelines best recommend a slope between 1:16 and 1:20 when possible. Cross slopes must be less than 1:50.

  1. Handrails

If a ramp rises higher than six inches or has a larger length than 72 inches, it must have handrails on both sides. There must be a clear space of one and a half inches between the handrail and the wall where it is installed. The top of the handrail surface needs to be placed between 34 and 38 inches above the ramp’s surface.

The diameter of the gripping surface of the handrail must be between 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 inches. Handrails should not have any sharp edges.

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