Accessible parallel parking is NOT ADA compliant. New Urbanism communities often minimize the importance of parking for people with disabilities.

Is Parallel Parking Accessible? Accessible New Urbanism

On Street Parallel Parking is NOT Recognized by the ADA Standards

Does anyone with a reasonable conscience believe that a person with a mobility disability should have to stand in traffic to enter and exit their car?

20% of the American population lives with a disability. In my opinion, a lack of accessible parking in redeveloping downtown districts,  perpetuates keeping people with disabilities “out of sight, out of mind” or NIMN, “Not in My Neighborhood.”

Fortunately, this lady in Asheville, NC had a friend to look out for oncoming traffic. The “Reserved Accessible Parking” space was the same width as all of the other parallel parking spaces. There was NO access aisle between the van and the sidewalk.  Having safe distributed accessible parking is crucial in redeveloping walkable cities.

Non-Accessible on street parallel  parking space.  The access aisle leads to a raised curb.. Downtown urban renewal.
Non-Accessible on street parallel parking space. The access aisle leads to a raised curb.. Downtown urban renewal. Main-street city.

The ADA Code requires all “Handicapped Parking Spaces” to have an access space next to a car or van for a lift for mobility devices.

In Florida, all Accessible Parking Spaces must be 12 feet wide plus a 5-foot access aisle for a total of 17 feet.

Nationally, ADA requires 8 feet for an accessible car plus an 8-foot access aisle or 11 feet for an accessible van plus 5 feet for an access aisle.   All of the Accessible parking spaces require a total of 16 feet in width.

A situation came to my attention today in the City Beautiful. A City that promotes itself as inclusive. A paraplegic, who uses a van with a full lift, purchased an in-fill condominium in a Historic District. The condominium building, a re-purposed award-winning historical retrofit, has individual car parking garages for each unit.

Accessible vans are often taller than a standard garage door.  In commercial buildings with parking garages, clearances are mandatory for accessible van parking. In a smaller unit residential building, standard car height individual garages are allowed.

The developer asked the city to allow them to build a van accessible parking space, with an accessible path, to this individuals condo unit door on their own property. The City Historical Board denied allowing the paraplegic woman building a parking space on her property.

The City Historical Boards solution was that they would add a PUBLIC “accessible parking” sign to one of their existing parallel parking spaces on the existing narrow public street.

Parallel on-street parking is NOT accessible, without the added side access aisle.  Since the accessible parking space requested was for a van, it would have required 17′ in clear width, which certainly wasn’t available on the street.

This City board saw their “Historical Code” as a priority over Equal Access .

The Department of Justice has worked tirelessly to create the ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act, to assure architectural access for all. It is possible to design historically relevant accessible features and I am available to show any agency how.

Please send your colleagues and Historical Boards in my direction, for Disability Smart Solutions to assist them in employee training and accessible urban solutions. Susan’s cell: 407-310-3663