Tag Archives: ADA parking

Real-life Experience with Van-accessible Parking Stalls

By Diane Santiago, CAPP

As a paraplegic who drives a ramp van, whether I am driving to a hospital, college, airport, or shopping area, one of my biggest anxieties is driving to a parking facility and looking for a van-accessible ADA stall–especially if I am driving alone. Many lots do not have sufficient accessible stalls in general, let alone van-accessible stalls.

The difference between a regular ADA stall and a van stall is the size of the access area. Van-accessible stalls have an 8-foot access area and regular ADA stalls have 4-foot access areas. I’ve even been in parking lots that have no access areas next to the stall (what are the parking lot managers thinking?). In case you are unaware, the access area is important to give customers with walking disabilities extra room to open the car door or, in the case of ramp vans, an area for the 5-foot ramp to deploy and then space for the person to exit the ramp in their wheelchair without running into the neighboring parked car. Without the access area, I am unable to exit or enter my van.

Keep this in mind when restriping your lot with ADA stalls. I’m sure many of you have lots with the exact amount of regular and van-accessible ADA parking stalls required by law, but keep in mind you can always go above and beyond by adding a few extra stalls or at least additional van-accessible stalls. The ADA community will really appreciate it.

Here is a U.S. Department of Justice download explaining the required number of ADA stalls, size of the stalls and access area next to the stalls.

Diane Santiago, CAPP, is manager, landside operations, at the Port of Seattle.

The Accessible Parking Challenge

By Helen Sullivan, APR, Fellow PRSA

Parking and mobility professionals have the power to make a difference for 30 million (and growing) Americans with disabilities–people who need to park in our communities, campuses, and complexes to live an independent life, but who often circle, circle, circle and go home because accessible parking is not available.

People shared these comments with us in a recent survey:

  • “It all comes down to a lack of kindness and understanding.”
  • “I am a quadriplegic in a wheelchair. Parking is the biggest obstacle in my life!”
  • “Parking issues make me add 90 minutes to my morning commute.”
  • “Street-side accessible parking spaces always assume the disabled person is the passenger. Try having to upload a wheelchair from the driver’s side, getting in and shutting the door while traffic is going by!”
  • “I have no grip or finger dexterity so pulling out tickets at parking garages is impossible.”

Does your on- and off-street parking comply with 2010 ADA Standards and meet all accessibility guidelines? Try putting yourself in the position of a wheelchair user (figuratively and perhaps even literally) and someone with impaired manual dexterity as you take inventory:

  • Would you find it easy to park close to the building?
  • Do you provide the space needed to load and unload a wheelchair safety and easily?
  • Are there streetscape issues (e.g. honor boxes for newspapers, curbs, benches, planters, etc.) that could interfere with mobility?
  • Do your snow and ice removal polices/equipment present any obstacles that interfere with accessible spaces and access aisle markings?
  • Can someone in a wheelchair easily reach–and manipulate–your pay stations and meters using case and credit cards?

This inventory action item is just one of a dozen included in the IPMI-led Accessible Parking Coalition’s soon-to-be-published, Let’s Make Accessible Parking More Accessible: A Practical Guide to Addressing Disabled Placard Abuse and Other Parking Issues for People with Disabilities.

The 24-page guide will be published later this month and will be a practical starting point to help your organization begin to address this issue effectively. It’s full of ideas and real-world examples of how others are making parking more accessible.

The problems related to accessible parking can’t be fixed overnight. This is a complex issue and the APC is a multi-year, multi-platform initiative, but there’s a great deal we can do as an industry if we do it together. More soon!

Helen Sullivan, APR, Fellow PRSA, is IPMI’s communications counsel.