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Guide To ADA Parking Lots


The importance of meeting Americans with Disabilities Act requirements in California for your parking lot can’t be overstated. Depending on your specific location, cities, counties, and the state of California can fine building owners who don’t have ADA-compliant parking lots. Likewise, if your parking lot doesn’t meet ADA requirements and someone gets hurt, you highly increase your chances of being sued over the injury.

If you don’t know whether your parking lot meets these requirements, Victory Pavement offers a free audit to ensure your spaces meet current ADA and California building codes.

What is ADA Compliance?

People with disabilities are guaranteed equal opportunities under the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, which prohibits discrimination and works to guarantee the rights of disabled individuals. In the ADA, property owners are barred from discriminating against individuals who have disabilities. Businesses aren’t in compliance if they don’t provide equal access to a primary function area. If this sounds somewhat familiar, it’s because the ADA is modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Americans with Disabilities Act applies specifically to three situations:

  1. Government agencies at all levels, including local, county, state, and federal
  2. Organizations or businesses that serve the general public
  3. A company or organization that employs 15 or more people

Does California Have Additional Requirements Above the Federal Guidelines?

Absolutely - the federal guidelines are merely the minimum requirements, and California has a number of additional requirements in its California Building Standards Code.

Who is Required to Meet Parking Lot ADA Regulations?

In order to comply with the ADA, even businesses that don't directly serve the public must construct or alter facilities in a way that meets accessible design standards. Some of these standards include removing barriers in existing buildings when possible and providing auxiliary aids and services as needed.

All private companies, nonprofits, and charities that serve the public or employ 15 or more employees are also subject to the ADA.

If My Parking Lot Doesn’t Meet ADA Compliance, What Can Happen?

According to California law, violating the Americans with Disabilities Act is a civil rights violation punishable by a statutory penalty of $4,000 (minimum) as well as attorney's fees. As a result of the ADA, people with disabilities are permitted to sue in Federal court to stop ADA violations and obtain orders from Federal courts to do so. Accordingly, ADA violators can be fined no matter which state in which the owner lives.

How Many Disabled Parking Spaces Do I Need?

Based on the total number of parking spaces in the lot, a minimum number of accessible parking spaces is required. A parking lot with 400 spaces requires eight accessible spaces. There must be two van-accessible spaces among those eight.

Total Number of Parking Spaces in Parking Facility (Lot or Garage)Minimum Total Number of Accessible Parking Spaces RequiredMinimum Number of Van Accessible Sparking Spaces
1 - 2511
26 - 5021
51 - 7531
76 - 10041
101 - 15051
151 - 20061
201 - 30072
301 - 40082
401 - 50092
501 - 10002% of total 
1001 and over20, plus 1 for each 100, or fraction there­of, over 1000   

Special Conditions

Hospital Outpatient Facilities

Accessible parking must make up at least ten percent of patient and visitor parking. A van-accessible parking space must be available in every sixth accessible parking space.

Rehabilitation Facilities

Accessible parking must make up twenty percent of parking spaces available to the public. For every 6 ADA-compliant disabled parking spaces, at least one space has to be van accessible.

Outpatient Physical Therapy Facilities

It is mandatory that twenty percent of patient and visitor parking is accessible. For every six accessible parking spaces, at least one van-accessible space must be available.

What is the Difference Between Car Accessible vs Van Accessible Space?

Van-Accessible Spaces Must Have the Following:

  • 98” Vertical Clearance
  • 144” Wide (This is specific to CA. ADA only calls for 132”)
  • 216” Long
  • Signage Must Have the International Symbol of Accessibility and say, “Van Accessible”
  • 96” Wide Access Aisle (This can be Shared with Adjacent Spaces)
  • Must be Fitted with Curb Stops

Car-Accessible Spaces Must Have the Following:

  • Must Have the International Symbol of Accessibility
  • 108” Wide (This is Specific to CA. ADA Only Calls for 96” Wide)
  • 216” Long
  • 60” Access Aisle. (This can be Shared with Adjacent Space)
  • Maximum Slope of 1:48
  • Must be Fitted with Curb Stops

Where Do Accessible Spaces Need to be Located?

From the parking area to the building, disabled parking must be located as close as possible. All visitors must also be able to access the building's entrance.

What are the Parking Lot Striping Requirements?

Businesses in California must mark ADA-compliant parking spaces with a 36 by 36 inch international symbol of accessibility, along with additional required posted signs. When parked in the spot, you should clearly see this symbol. It should be painted in white on a blue background. A blue border must be drawn around the access aisle. An outlined blue boundary should have hatched lines painted in a contrasting color, such as blue or white. Parking in these access aisles should be prohibited by painting "No Parking" on the ground.

As local regulations and other factors change, accessibility needs may also change. Get a free audit and quote from Victory Paving for ADA-compliant restriping services to ensure you're in compliance with the law.


The ADA requires ramps to be installed along any accessible route where there is a change in elevation greater than ½ inch. Ramps allow people using wheelchairs, scooters, and other mobility devices to access elevated areas.


  • Running slope cannot be steeper than 1:12 (one inch of rise for every 12 inches of run)
  • Cross slope must be 1:48 maximum

Clear Width:

  • Minimum clear width between handrails is 48 inches (stricter than the federal 36 inch ADA requirement)


  • Level landings required at top and bottom of each ramp run
  • Landings must be at least as wide as the ramp and minimum 60 inches long
  • Ramps that change direction at landings require a minimum 60 x 72 inch landing, with the longer dimension parallel to the top ramp run


  • Maximum rise for any single ramp run is 30 inches, then a landing is required


  • Required on both sides for ramps with a rise greater than 6 inches
  • Handrail height should be 34-38 inches above the ramp surface
  • Handrail extensions required at top and bottom of ramp

Edge Protection:

  • Ramps and landings must have edge protection like extended surfaces, curbs or railings to prevent wheels from going off the edge


  • Must be stable, firm and slip-resistant
  • Gaps in the surface cannot allow passage of a ½ inch diameter sphere
ADA compliant parking lot ramp with zero face curb.


Sidewalks are a critical part of an accessible route and must meet specific ADA requirements:

Clear Width:

  • Minimum clear width is 36 inches, although 48 inches is preferred in California
  • If less than 60 inches wide, passing spaces of 60 x 60 inches must be provided every 200 feet

Cross Slope:

  • Cannot exceed 1:48 (2.08%)
  • If greater than 1:20, it is considered a ramp and must meet ramp requirements


  • Must be stable, firm and slip-resistant
  • Vertical level changes up to ¼ inch do not require edge treatment
  • Changes between ¼ and ½ inch must be beveled with a slope no greater than 1:2


Like ramps, ADA compliance for curbs is a complex topic. However, we can make sure that your standard and zero-face curbs fully meet the current regulations as dictated by law. This includes ensuring your lot meets slope requirements and that your landings are sized correctly.

Truncated Domes/Tactile Paving

The term truncated dome, also known as tactile paving, refers to the raised, usually yellow, bumps found on pathways and platforms. By using truncated domes, visually impaired individuals can be alerted to changes to the walking surface as well as other hazards.

These bumps are mandatory for curb ramps and platform boarding edges, but they must not hinder access for mobility-impaired individuals.

Here at Victory Paving, we inspect, repair, and install truncated domes to help keep your site’s visitors safe while keeping your business ADA compliant.

ADA compliant ramp with truncated domes in California.
Truncated Domes/Tactile Paving

We’ll Help You Meet Compliance

Contact Victory Paving today to set up an appointment for a free site evaluation to help make sure your parking lot meets all current local, California, and federal ADA requirements.

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