Handicap Parking Space Design Requirements

by Andrea Griffith; Updated September 26, 2017
Handicap spaces are mandatory in almost all new parking lots.

According to the ADA Accessibility Guidelines, handicap parking spaces need to be made for all "newly designed or newly constructed buildings and facilities and altered portions of existing buildings and facilities shall comply with section 4 (Accessible Elements and Spaces: Scope and Technical Requirements)." There are specific design and space requirements that your building must adhere to when providing the proper handicap spaces.

Number of Spacing Requirements

According to the ADA Accessibility Guidelines as of 2010, the number of handicap spaces in a parking lot are as follows: At least 1 handicap spot for a parking lot of 1 to 25 spaces; At least 2 handicap spots for a parking lot of 26 to 50 spaces; At least 3 handicap spots for a parking lot of 51 to 75 spaces; At least 4 handicap spots for a parking lot of 76 to 100 spaces; At least 5 handicap spots for a parking lot of 101 to 150 spaces; At least 6 handicap spots for a parking lot of 151 to 200 spaces; At least 7 handicap spots for a parking lot of 201 to 300 spaces; At least 8 handicap spots for a parking lot of 301 to 400 spaces; At least 9 handicap spots for a parking lot of 401 to 500 spaces.

For parking lots with 501 to 1,000 spaces, the number of handicap spots needs to be 2 percent of the total spaces. For parking lots with 1,001 and more spaces, there needs to be 20 handicap spots plus an additional handicap spot for each 100 parking spaces over 1,000. For medical facilities, the number of handicap parking spaces should be at least 10 percent of the total spaces. For facilities that specialize in helping those with mobility impairments, the number of handicap parking spaces should be at least 20 percent of the total spaces provided.

Handicap Parking Space Size

According to the ADA Accessibility Guidelines as of 2010, each handicap parking space should be at least 60 inches wide. One handicap space for every eight should be designated as "Van Accessible." Van accessible spaces should be at least 96 inches wide. Van accessible spaces should also be clearly marked and have a vertical clearance of 114 inches.

Handicap Signage

Handicap spots should be properly signed with text that is at least 3-inches high. According to the ADA Accessibility Guidelines as of 2010, the text on the signs must "have a width-to-height ratio between 3:5 and 1:1 and a stroke-width-to-height ratio between 1:5 and 1:10." The signs can not have a shiny or glared finish, and the text/characters/symbols need to be in a contrasting color to the sign's background. Typically, the background of signs are a cream or white color and the text/characters/symbols are in a bright blue color. Handicap signs require mounting on a wall or a post 60 inches above the ground.

Hadicap Symbol

Each spot needs to stand out from the rest of the parking lot space. Typically, parking spots are painted white or yellow, whereas handicap spots are painted a bright blue. In the middle of each handicap spot, a blue handicap symbol is also painted to clearly mark each spot. The entire handicap spot may also be blue, with the handicap symbol painted in white.

About the Author

Andrea Griffith has been writing professionally since 2005. Her work has been published by the "Western Herald," Detroit WDIV, USAToday and other print, broadcast and online publications. Although she writes about a wide range of topics, her areas of expertise include fashion, beauty, technology and education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and English from Western Michigan University.

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