News from Northwest ADA Center – Idaho
How the ADA applies to parking facilities that predate it
There has been a great deal of confusion regarding older parking facilities and when they are required to come into compliance with the 2010 ADA requirements. This article will clear up this confusion and attempt to define alterations in existing parking facilities predating the ADA. Basically, if any accessible spaces don’t meet the ADA requirements, then it affects the usability of the facility. If the entity is a Title II (state and local government) then it is required to make their programs and services accessible by removing the barriers in the parking lot. Similarly, if the entity is Title III (Businesses and places of public accommodation) then it is required to remove barriers that are readily achievable.
This means even parking spaces predating the ADA would need barriers eliminated to meet the requirements of the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. Because restriping is easy and relatively inexpensive, it is readily achievable in most cases.There are a number of DOJ settlement agreements focusing on the lack of accessible parking at local and state government facilities and at places of business. They have recently developed publications that address this. For example, the compliance brief published in 2015 by DOJ https://www.ada.gov/restriping_parking/restriping2015.htmlstates, “When a business or State or local government restripes parking spaces in a parking lot or parking structure (parking facilities), it must provide accessible parking spaces as required by the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design”.
Businesses, State and local government facilities also have an ongoing ADA obligation to make their programs accessible, which can require providing accessible parking. This brief also provides information about the features of accessible car and van parking spaces and how many accessible spaces are required when parking facilities are restriped.
In a similar publication called Americans with Disabilities Act Title II Primer https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/titleII_2010/title_ii_primer.html#alterations explaining the parking regulations, an excerpt in the guide states, “accessible spaces are required where parking facilities are altered or added.”
So what is considered an alteration?
The term ‘alteration’ includes resurfacing of vehicular ways (§106.5), resurfacing or resealing. These must include accessible spaces as required in the scoping table. Normal maintenance is not considered an alteration except where it affects a facility’s usability.For example, if a lot is to be resurfaced or its plan reconfigured, accessible spaces must be provided. However, work that is primarily maintenance, such as surface patching, pothole repair, or repainting in place existing striping for a few spaces, does not trigger a requirement for accessible spaces.
However, when the work is not considered an alteration, providing accessible spaces is advisable where sufficient accessible parking is lacking and may be necessary in meeting obligations for program access by government entities and barrier removal by public accommodations as required by DOJ’s regulations. [Chapter 5: Parking Spaces – United States Access Board] https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/buildings-and-sites/about-the-ada-standards/guide-to-the-ada-standards/chapter-5-parking
Dana Gover, MPA, and ACTCP Certification, ADA Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator
Phone: Voice and Text 208-841-9422
Idaho Relay Service: 711