City Planning And Disabled Parking: All You Need To Know

Did you know that more than half of the world’s population lives in cities? Not only that, but according to the World Health Organization, 15% of the world’s population is also disabled. In the United States, over 55 million people have disabilities – roughly 18% of the population. This means that cities must be able to cater to the needs of those with disabilities.

There are several ways cities achieve this. Below, we’ll take a deeper look into the issues city planners face when creating inclusive cities, and how cities are incorporating the Americans with Disabilities Act into their plans. Read on for your complete guide to city planning and disabled parking.

What Are ADA Accessibility Requirements?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) works to secure the rights of people with mental and physical impairments that impact their ability to perform day-to-day activities. According to Title II of the ADA, local and state governments, as well as public entities, programs, departments, and agencies within them, must be accessible to those with disabilities.

Cities and towns must be compliant with ADA requirements or they can face consequences from the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and even the Department of Transportation in their state.

Disabled Parking - department of justice
Image by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash: ADA accessibility requirements are enforced by the Department of Justice.

What Is Compliance With The ADA?

So, what does it mean for a city or town to be compliant with the ADA? It means that when cities are planned, they adhere to specific policies on ADA accommodations such as parking and service animals. For new construction projects, there are ADA Standards for Accessible Design that must be adhered to.

Doing all of these things has been shown to help those with disabilities feel more included socially.

Non-discrimination policies also help to protect the rights of those with disabilities when it comes to housing, employment, information, and services. After all, accessibility is key to an inclusive place to live for everyone, because those who are excluded will have fewer opportunities for employment, involvement, and education.

What Makes A City Accessible?

When urban planners plan a city, then they must ensure it’s accessible to all. A city is seen as accessible when it’s easy for people to move around in the ways they wish, such as in wheelchairs, on bikes, or by walking. Good city planning also promotes accessible public transportation to reduce the use of cars, but still provides adequate parking, including disabled parking, for those who choose to drive.

It is also important to make public spaces, such as sports centers and libraries, accessible. People of all abilities and ages should be able to adequately access these public spaces in a safe way.

In cities with older buildings, they can be retrofitted to be more accessible. Often ramps or elevators can be installed to make older venues easier to navigate for those with disabilities.

How Many Accessible Parking Spots Are Required?

In any public place that provides parking, a formula is included in the ADA that lets city planners know exactly how many parking spaces are required. This formula is:

  • Garage or parking lot with up to 25 spaces: 1 disabled parking spot, 1 van-accessible spot
  • Garage or parking lot with up 26 to 50 spaces: 2 disabled parking spots and 1 van-accessible spot
  • Garage or parking lot with between 51 and 75 spaces: 3 disabled parking spots and 1 van-accessible spot

This formula increases the number of disabled parking spots by one for every 25 parking spots, and increases the number of van accessible spots by one for every 200 parking spots. Once the spots in the lot or garage go above 500, disabled parking spots must account for at least 2% of the total spots.

At medical facilities, such as hospital outpatient offices, 10% of the spots must be for disabled drivers with valid handicap parking permits. For rehabilitation facilities, 20% of the parking must be accessible to disabled drivers.

Disabled Parking - city planner
Image by Daniel McCullough on Unsplash: There are parking problems in cities, but city planners are trying to address these problems.

Other Things To Note About City Planning And Disabled Parking

Disabled parking spaces in a city must be provided in specific locations. For example, a parking lot that services multiple buildings must put the spots accessible to disabled drivers as close to accessible entrances as possible.

In places such as sports stadiums, where separate parking areas service one large facility, the disabled parking can be grouped together as long as it has the correct number of spaces available for the number of overall spaces in the lot.

There are other requirements that can impact your life when you have a disability. If you feel that someplace in your town or city isn’t accessible, bring it to the attention of the city and urge them to make changes.

Featured image by Andrea Cau on Unsplash