The Americans with Disabilities Act sets specific requirements in place for all types of businesses to be handicapped accessible. Those rules apply to all aspects of the business, including its parking garages and parking lots. Businesses in Maryland must provide their customers and employees with ADA compliant parking lots in order to open their doors to the public, and Maryland's Public Safety Code places strict penalties on those that do not.
So What are the ADA Requirements for Accessible Parking Lots?
Have the Right Number of Handicapped Spaces
First, the parking lot must have the right number of handicapped-accessible spaces. This is based on the number of total spaces in the lot. For every 25 spaces in the lot up to 100, the business must have one accessible space. After 100, the ratio drops. At 1,000 r more spaces, the lot must have 20 spaces plus one additional space per 100 after 1,000. All parking lots must have at least one van accessible parking space.
Design the Spaces Truly Accessible
To be considered accessible, the space must have the right signage, pavement markings, and dimensions. It also must have minimal pavement slope. These spaces must be at least 8 feet wide with an aisle next to the space that is also 5 feet wide. For van accessible spaces, the aisle must be 8 feet wide.
Mark the Space Clearly
The space must have a blue handicapped parking sign with a notice of the potential fine. This sign can be on a pole that is 7 feet high or on the side of the building at a height between 6 and 10 feet. This fine is specific to the Maryland county where the property is located.
On the pavement, the disability symbol should be visible within the parking space. The ADA requires the aisle to have markings that indicate they are not to be used for parking.
Citations for Non-Compliance
Because having ADA compliant parking lots is required by law, Maryland’s Public Safety Code allows for a fine of up to $500 and imprisonment of up to 3 months for violating the law. Most businesses are given a warning and a chance to comply, but refusal to comply leads to strict penalties. Violating the Public Safety Code is considered a misdemeanor.
Making your parking lot ADA compliant is not difficult, but you do need to know the rules. By following them, you can ensure that everyone who visits your facility has a safe and accessible place to park, while also protecting yourself from stiff penalties.