Re: Handicap parking

Author Subject: Re: Handicap parking
Del Information Services Posted At 14:47:14 06/30/2001
The Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA became federal law in 1991. The ADA outlines requirements for parking, commonly referred to as handicap parking, for those persons with walking disabilities. The handicap parking portion of the ADA applies to anyone who creates new parking lots and those that restripe existing lots. Each state and some municipalities have interpreted the ADA and instituted laws and ordinances to ensure compliance with the act.

There are two types of handicap parking spaces; van accessible and car accessible. The van accessible space is the larger of the two spaces to allow for wheelchair loading/unloading. The important thing to remember is that the first handicap space in every parking lot must be van accessible.

ADA is enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice. Examples of recent enforcement includes:

In Oregon, a group of citizens complained that their city hall and police station were inaccessible. The city agreed to allocate $60,000 to remove barriers and provide wheelchair access to city buildings and parking. The city also upgraded its speaker system to improve access for persons who are hard of hearing.

A wheelchair user and his wife complained that an Oregon doctor's office was inaccessible because the ramp was too narrow and had a six to eight inch step at the top, which resulted in the complainant falling. The doctor agreed to rebuild the ramp to be accessible.

Accessible Parking Spaces (ADA Design Guide)

When a business, state or local government agency, or other covered entity restripes a parking lot, it must provide accessible parking spaces as required by the ADA Standards for Accessible Design. Failure to do so
would violate the ADA.

In addition, businesses or privately owned facilities that provide goods or services to the public have a continuing ADA obligation to remove barriers to access in existing parking lots when it is readily achievable to do so. Because restriping is relatively inexpensive, it is readily achievable in most cases.

Complaints about violations of title II by units of State and local government or violations of title III by public accommodations and commercial facilities should be filed with --

Disability Rights Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
Post Office Box 66738
Washington, D.C. 20035-6738

If you wish the complaint to be referred to the Department’s ADA Mediation Program, please mark “Attention: Mediation” on the outside of the envelope.

ADA Web site -

The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund ADA Hotline is funded by the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to the public on all titles of the ADA.
ADA technical assistance: 800-466-4232 (voice & TTY)

For information regarding Oregon ADA requirements:
Bureau of Labor and Industries
Technical Assistance for Employers
800 NE Oregon St., #32, Suite 1010
Portland, OR 97232
Fax: 503-731-4069
TTY: 503-731-4106

Data on Disability Demographics is at

Some related history worth reading is at

Where People with Disabilities Live

Three-quarters (74.8%) of people with disabilities live in metropolitan areas-31.6% in central cities and 43.2% in suburbs, according to the 1992 National Health Interview Survey. Most of the remainder (24.0%) live in non-farm rural areas. This last group has the highest rate of disability, however, at 17.6%, compared to 13.6% in farm areas, 13.7% in suburbs, and 15.4% in central cities.

Rates of overall activity limitation are highest in the South (16.3%) and lowest in the Northeast (13.7%). The Midwest and West fall in between, at 14.7% and 14.5%, respectively. Geographical differences in disability rates are probably due to a combination of socio-economic factors and actual differences in functional status.

The 1990 Census reveals significant differences among the states in rates of work limitation (either inability to work or limitation in amount or kind of work, due to a chronic health problem or impairment). Some 12.6% of West Virginians had a work disability, twice the rate of the lowest-ranking state, New Jersey (6.2%). Other states with the highest work disability rates are in the South: Kentucky (11.4%), Arkansas (11.2%), Mississippi (11.0%), Louisiana (10.3%), and Oklahoma (10.2%). Maine (10.2%) and Oregon (10.0%) also have high rates, along with Tennessee (9.7%) and Montana (9.7%).

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