Town Planning: How Are Disabled Parking Spaces Determined?

A crucial aspect of the town planning process is making sure that people with disabilities have access to all public amenities. Disabled parking spaces are a vital lifeline for many people. A suitable amount of appropriately situated disabled spaces help to make a town accessible to people with mobility issues.

It is a central responsibility of local authorities and town planners to create wheelchair-friendly public spaces. Making a town fully accessible, in part by providing copious disabled parking spaces, is essential for the wellbeing of the town’s citizenry and for the economic success of the area.

Disability-Friendly Towns And Cities

Every town and city in America has a duty to make itself as disability-friendly as it possibly can. This means sensible, intelligent, and considerate town planning is essential.

Towns and cities that are optimally disability-friendly are more enjoyable places to live. These areas tend to have a better sense of community and to enjoy better economic prospects. For these reasons, towns and cities across the country should always be striving to make themselves as accessible and disability-friendly as possible.

Disabled Parking - handicap parking sign
Image by MichaelGaida on Pixabay: Towns must comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

What Makes A Town Accessible?

Several factors contribute to a town’s level of accessibility:

  • Are buildings and amenities fully wheelchair accessible?
  • Are staff working at public places well-trained?
  • Is there an abundance of high-quality, well-maintained disability infrastructure, such as disabled toilets, ramps, handrails, and appropriately located disabled parking spaces?

What Law Covers Disabled Parking Spaces And Town Planning?

The federal law that covers all disability access requirements, including disabled parking spaces, is the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Town planners must comply with the ADA when they are planning and overseeing the building and development of towns.

How Is The Positioning And Placement Of Disabled Parking Spaces Determined?

Disabled parking spaces must comply with the ADA in several ways. The positioning of disabled spaces is a factor of immense importance, because disabled drivers must be given the highest level of access to all public amenities.

According to the ADA, town planners must position disabled parking spaces on the shortest accessible route to an accessible entrance to the building or amenity they serve.

How Many Types Of Disabled Parking Spaces Are There?

There are three different types of disabled parking spaces:

  • Accessible parking spaces for cars
  • Accessible parking spaces for vans (one-sided entry)
  • Accessible parking spaces for vans (two-sided entry)

Are There Disabled Parking Spaces On Public Roads?

Under the ADA, any area of public on-street parking must include a number of accessible disabled parking spaces, distributed throughout the area.

What Are On-street Handicap Parking Requirements?

On-street handicap parking requirements include the following:

  • Disabled spaces must be clearly signposted.
  • Disabled spaces must make up a certain percentage of the total number of spaces in an area.
  • Disabled spaces must be evenly distributed throughout the area, located as close as possible to accessible entrances to buildings and amenities.
  • Disabled spaces must be located in places with minimum street and sidewalk slope.
  • Disabled spaces must have a 60-inch-wide aisle (for cars) or 96-inch-wide aisle (for vans).

How Many Disabled Spaces Should A Parking Lot Have?

Parking lots are required to contain a certain number of disabled parking spaces, including at least one van space. The amount of disabled spaces a parking lot must contain increases as the size of the lot increases.

Parking lots with 1–25 spaces must contain at least one accessible van space. This number then rises in line with the increasing size of a parking lot. Larger parking lots of between 501– 1,000 spaces must contain a number of disabled parking spaces that is not less than 2% of the total number of spaces in the lot.

Disabled Parking - town street
Image by Thought Catalog on Unsplash: Public on-street parking must include disabled parking spaces.

Who Can Use Disabled Parking Spaces?

Disabled parking spaces are reserved for people who hold a disabled parking permit.

What Types Of Disabled Parking Permit Are Available?

The most common types of disabled parking permit are:

  • Temporary disabled parking placard.
  • Permanent disabled parking placard or license plate.
  • Disabled Veterans license plate.
  • Organizational disabled parking placard or license plate.

How Can You Get A Disabled Parking Permit?

In order to get a disabled parking permit, you must have a consultation with a qualifying medical professional. This can be done in-person or online. The examining medical professional will verify your disability and fill in the relevant section of a disabled parking permit application form, which you must then submit to the disabled parking authorities in your local area.

Featured image by tmannis on Pixabay