Accessible parking spaces to be  9’-0” wide with adjacent 5’-0” wide aisle on passenger side.  Perimeter of access aisle to be painted blue.  Within border hatched lines at 36” on center.  “NO PARKING” to be painted in each access aisle in 12” high letters.
CBC 1129B.3.1

About Dwight Ashdown

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95 Responses to Parking

  1. Sam says:

    Are there any additional regulations for covered parking? For example, is it required that the area covered be equal to the area of the stall. If the stall is sticking out of the cover, will that be in violation of ADA regulations?

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      I don’t believe there’s any ADA requirement for cover over accessible stalls or loading aisles – other than a height requirement to provide vertical clearance.

  2. Mike says:

    Hi Dwight,
    The ADA website says that it is up to state and local agencies to determine color/markings for the area. Do you know if the parking bumper has a specific color requirement for California?

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      I never seen anything specific re: the color of the wheel stop. Quite often they are painted blue.
      The only color requirement is for the perimeter of the loading aisle, which should be blue on all 4 sides – and also the International Symbol of Accessibility (wheelchair symbol) on the paving should be blue w/ a white wheelchair.

  3. glyn shelton says:

    hello. the required signs designating handicap and van accessible stalls, do they NEED to be on poles directly in front of the stall or can i mount them on a fence 5 feet in front of the stalls? thanks

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      Parking signs do not need to be mounted on a pole directly in front of the accessible stall. The signs can be mounted on a fence or building in front of the stall. If the signs do not intrude on a pedestrian walkway – the bottom of the signs can be mounted at 60″. If intruding on a pedestrian walkway, the bottom of the signs must be at 80″.

      • Mary Lisa says:

        What about the height of “Entrance Contract Signs”? These are the large signs at the entrances of a commercial & retail properties that typically have the handicap info at the top, then fire lane verbiage and lastly the private property info. Because of the handicap info at the top is there a state regulated height requirement for post?
        Orange County

        • Dwight Ashdown says:

          Our digital book ADA4CA (available on itunes, Amazon & Barnes & Nobel) has a chart and diagram with required letter heights and viewing distances.

  4. emi sherman says:

    Hi Dwight, is the 4′ walkway always required? Can the parking spaces be closer to the wall?

    • Dwight Ashdown says:


      Typically walkways are required to be 4′-0″ wide. There is an exception CBC 11B-302.1- which allows the walkway to be reduced to 3′ if 4′ creates a hazard – upon approval of the enforcing agency.

  5. Jim Kelly says:

    Can anyone tell me how to figure the required number of accessible parking spaces for a condominium?


    • Anne Romano says:

      I live in an active senior living community. There are 5 – 4 story buildings. I just moved in, so I’m not sure of the amount of apartments, but there are many. There is only One (1) handicap space per building, if I counted correctly, at the most two. However, they have a rule that this space is temporary and may not be used for overnight parking and you could be towed. This doesn’t sound right to me. They also charge each resident $25 a month for their space. I do want to remain anonymous. We’re located in Westminster, CA.

  6. michael says:

    is the 18′ stall depth measured from the front bumper or from the front of the wheel base?

  7. Joe McKnight says:

    I live in Laguna Woods Village. They tell me I can’t park my truck with utility box on it in the village because they have declared it a “utility vehicle”. Is my handicap plackard no longer valid because I have box on my truck?

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      It does seem a bit unusual for a truck / utility vehicle to have an accessibility placard, but I suppose it’s not outside the realm of possibility – so it doesn’t seem appropriate for them to say that you can’t use your placard. It seems like something they might like to discuss with your attorney.

  8. cari says:

    I am the president of my home owners association…we have two handicap parking spots on our property. These spaces are always used by the same two people, they do not drive these vehicles they sit there for weeks without moving. We all have a two car garage to use all outer parking is for guest parking. Both owners have at least 4 cars. Our normal parking rules state that owners vehicles would be towed if parked in guest parking more than 4 days in a rolling 30 day time period….are these cars exempt from this rule, even if they are using the spots a storage and not allowing actual guest to use these spots

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      It sounds as though the spaces are being used for vehicle storage. Even if they have handicap placards, that’s not the intent. Tell them to get the cars out of there.

  9. Beth Bjorklund says:

    We just striped parking lot and I have 25 regular spaces and one van accessible space. Do we now have too many spaces????

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      Both the CBC and the ADA indicate that if you have 26 parking spaces, you need 2 accessible parking spaces, one of which needs to be van accessible. If you only have 25 spaces, then you only need 1 accessible space, which needs to be van accessible.

      • John B says:

        Isn’t that a requirement for 2 accessible spaces, given you have 25 spaces total? The idea is one accessible space for each 13 spaces or FRACTION THEREOF?

        I’m not sure of the “13” number, but I’ve seen the “fraction thereof”…

  10. Jay Cart says:

    My private business is located in a City owned building. We have five parking stalls adjacent to the building , one of which is designated and marked as handicap. We are close to the beach and often have vehicles with placards park in this spot and walk away. Can we exclude these vehicles(not our customer) and allow only clients/guests for our business to park in this one handicap spot? Otherwise we do not have a handicap spot available to our clients/guests.

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      As an architect, my expertise typically involves three dimensional physical issues, quite often as they relate to accessibility. Your question is tending very close to something a lawyer should address. Having said that, it seems to me that, if the accessible stall is intended for use by your customers, you could put up an additional sign, saying the accessible parking space is available for use by customers of XYZ. You would want to avoid, however, any situations where someone might park in the stall, go to the beach and then claim that they intended to patronize your business at the end of the day. You would also want to review this w/ the City, given that it’s a City owned building, and presumably the parking lot is also owned by the City.

  11. Loretta Schweinsburg says:

    I live in a mobile home community we have 124 parking spaces and no handicap parking who do I contact about this issue?

  12. Kin says:

    Can the curb ramp be part of 5′-0″ accessible clearance space?
    The condition is that ADA stall is against curb. Thanks

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      What you are describing sounds as though the curb ramp is in the 5′-0″ loading aisle – which implies that it’s a built up curb ramp – which is not allowed. Also, note that if it’s a 5′-0″ loading aisle, and it’s a single accessible parking stall, then it needs to be a Van stall & the stall needs to be 12′-0″ wide. The total width of the stall and loading aisle needs to be 17′-0″.

  13. Reno Padilla says:

    In a Ada parking stall. When are the bollards required in front of the ADA PARKING STALL for the Ada signs and $250 fine?

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      Bollards are not really an ADA issue.
      They are sometimes used at the front end of parking stalls where there’s no curb or wheel stop to prevent cars from moving beyond the length of the stall. They are also sometimes used as a base support for required accessibility signs.

      • Edwin C says:

        Is there anything in writing stating the handicap stalls must have wheel stops? I manage a garage in the city of Santa Monica, California, and I’ve been told it is city requirement.

        • Dwight Ashdown says:

          The Santa Monica Municipal code 9.28.120 Parking Design and Development Standards states, “F. Wheel Stops. Concrete bumper guards or wheel stops shall be provided for all unenclosed parking spaces abutting landscaped areas, walls, or walkways.” Which appears to apply to unenclosed / landscape parking areas and not specifically to parking garages. It seems like good practice to have them in a parking garage, but not specifically required inside a garage.

  14. Scott Green, Green Engineering says:

    Can the required 5′ wide Handicap aisle on the passenger side also be part of a 4′ wide sidewalk for access to my apartment project? The parking space, aisle and sidewalk would all be at the same grade.

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      It sounds ok – but if everything is at the same level – at some point there needs to be detectable warnings to signal to visually impaired people that they are moving from a pedestrian area into a vehicular area.

  15. Deanna Chitwood says:

    We have diagonal parking in our downtown area. Recently bumpers have been placed in the handicapped parking space on the driver’s side exit. The bumpers come all the way to the left side of the marked space. A person has to step over them to get to the sidewalk. Are these legal? They should be on the right side of the space because that’s the tire that will get to the curb first. How much space is supposed to be the driver’s side of the parking space. If a car is parked in the next space the car door won’t open all the way and it makes it difficult to get out of the car if the driver has any kind of disability. Yesterday I almost tripped over the bumper because there’s only about 2 feet between the car.

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      I would love to help you, but this is perilously close to “designing over the phone”, which I’ve learned over the years is never a good idea. If you can send me a photo, perhaps I can be more helpful.

  16. Wanda Guibert says:

    As a Planning Commissioner for a very small, historic California mission town, I am drafting a “Historic Downtown Streetscape Guidelines.” Is the ADA specific about the intensity of color used to designate accessible street parking? For example, can we use a muted shade of blue rather than a bold shade? Also, are there guidelines for color of detectable warning pads/tactile domes/tactile paving? We want to be ADA compliant without detracting from the historic ambiance of town.

  17. David Allen says:

    Our HOA has two handicapped marked spaces adjacent to each other. The access area is to the right of the first space and the second space has no additional access area. I know two spots can share one access area but wouldn’t the access space need to be adjacent to each space such as between them?

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      If I understand your statement correctly, yes, the access aisle should be between the two accessible parking spaces.

  18. Seth pearl says:

    Can ada parking spaces still be at an angle like the rest of my shopping center spaces. I’m in Sacramento County. Do I need to have the ada spaces at 90 degrees?

  19. Jay Huston says:

    I recently purchased a condo in the Santa Barbara area. When I did there were 2 handicap spots on the street marked with blue curbs and all markings. It was a big deciding point for me to buy as 1 of the spots was directly in front of my unit (but no ramp). Last week while I was away, my wife called to tell me that the HOA took away the spots and made them no parking (painted red). When questioned they replied that they “don’t have to follow the ADA’s rules”…?

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      It’s difficult to respond to this without knowing more about the project, whether it’s publicly or privately financed, and whether there are facilities within the complex, such as a swimming pool to which you might invite guests. I suspect that the condo complex is privately owned (which is where they think they don’t need to comply with the ADA), but if there are facilities to which you might invite guests, then those facilities and required accessible parking spaces all need to comply.

  20. baffled says:

    Where “exactly” should the wheel stops be placed. I have seen them centered over two adjoining spaces, the end placed on the edge of the painted HC space line, and centered in the middle of the space ?

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      I’ve never seen an “exact” indication of where the wheelstops should be placed. They should be placed so that they “stop” one wheel of the vehicle & prevent the bumper from extending beyond the parking stall into a walkway in front of the parking stall.

      • Billy Yates says:

        Should they be placed to prevent you from bumping handicap parking sign (post )? Which is on the blue line marking parking space.

        • Dwight Ashdown says:

          I presume you are talking about the wheelstops. Yes they should be place to prevent cars from bumping into the parking sign post.

          • Billy Yates says:

            Well I’m having a problem with Home Depot Insurance provider. Told me that is not what they ( wheel stops ) are for. That Home Depot Handicap parking space are to code and told him the wheel stop is to close. I said , I’ll sent you a pic of space then he said don’t pull my truck in space and dent again. So I take pic with my 98 eclipse RS in space showing nose of car against post , front wheel against wheel stop. He said I should have pulled that far into space. Deny claim. Words he used in last email called wheel stop a parking stop. I texted him back and said that’s exactly what it is. Need help

  21. DAG says:

    During a special event, like a concert or road race, can a handicapped parking space be blocked off and posted “no parking”?

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      Only if you’re providing other accessible parking to take the place of the accessible parking you are blocking off.

  22. Ram ela says:

    Great wealth of information & resouces here. Thanks! I have this question on the parking space between the two Disabled parking slots. In the figure on this page (CBC 1129B.3.1) it says: […“NO PARKING” to be painted in each access aisle in 12” high letters…] Well, it was 3am and dark so I parked in this such space. The paints and lettering on the ground was not clear and the “hash marks” and the blue lines were not visible at all. My car was towed away. So, I would like to ask this: Is it not a law that this space *must be* properly & clearly painted and labeled? If not, can the Tow company or the property owner can tow the car? Any advice and/or comments will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      I’m an architect & certified access specilist, and as such, I can tell you what the dimensions of the parking stall / loading aisle / color of paint etc.. Your question is entirely a question of legality. If you would like a reference for an attorney, I would be happy to help you.

      • John B says:

        Can you please vouch for the current accuracy of the parking diagram you supplied in 2010, which remains visible on your website? I believe the first van accessible parking stall must be 12 feet wide now, while the striped lane remains 5 feet. That’s seventeen feet, overall. CBC 11B-502.2 , year 2013.

  23. Collette Leonard says:

    My boyfriend is disabled and has a handicapped placard for parking. My apartment building is on a hill so he needs to park undergorund on a falt surface. My buidling does not have any designated handicapped spaces so we have parked his car overnight in the spaces that are used by office employees during the day and he has left before the office opens to vacate the spaces for employees. I also left a note on the dash board with my phone number and apartment unit. The building put tow sticker on the windshield of the car and claimed it was in a fire lane (it’s all the way in the back of the garage and again the same spaces employees use all day every day and unmarked so clearly not a fire lane) and when I explained the situation they did nothing. What can we do? I am moving but it should be rectified for future tenants. Thank you

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      This is an issue that requires and attorney to address. There are several attorney’s listed on our web page & I can make a direct recommendation if you would like.

  24. We are in the business of asphalt, concrete and striping of accessible stalls and work with property managers in Orange County Ca. What is the ratio requirement of van accessible to standard accessible stalls for a large complex with 10 accessible stalls?

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      Both the CBC and the ADA require that 1 in every 6 accessible stalls be van accessible. Also note that there is a new requirement for the dimensions of the stall, where the stall needs to be 12′-0″ wide and the loading aisle 5′-0″ wide.

  25. Cynthia M. says:

    I live in a privately owned condo in Southern Ca. We have a total of 3 handicap parking spaces next to visitor parking. Each owner/condo has a 2 car garage in which to park their vehicles. Owners/renters are not aloud to park in visitor spots overnight or during certain hours. Lately, we(the HOA) have had a issue with owners/renters parking in the handicap spaces night after night and appear to be young able body individuals who simply do not wish to park outside the complex and walk. Would the HOA be in the wrong to ask the owners/renters to utilize their garages for parking and refrain from using the handicap spot as a extra parking space? Also, can the HOA ask for proof/paperwork of the validity of their placard? Our complex has a pool.

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      This is something, that to be honest with you, would be better addressed by an attorney. Having said that, it seems to me, that if you already have rules about not allowing overnight parking in visitor spaces, then this could at least initially be addressed by sending a letter to the homeowners, reminding them of the rules about no overnight parking and that especially applies to the accessible parking spaces.

  26. George Beeman says:

    Im a concrete contractor in the state of California. My questions is if the entrance of the building in on the left side of the accesible ada parking. Can I stripe the hatch on the left side and the ada parking at the right side?

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      If you only have a single accessible parking stall – it needs to be van compliant, with the loading aisle on the right hand side of the parking stall. A van stall needs to be 12′-0″ wide, with a 5′-0″ loading aisle on the right hand side.

  27. Misha Russell says:

    Is it mandatory in CA to have handicap parking spots for all businesses? If so, how many do you have to have?

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      Basically – yes. The number of accessible parking stalls is dependent on the total number of parking spaces. If you only have 1 accessible parking stall, it needs to be van accessible.

  28. Wayne Byrd says:

    Are there any regulations or rules regarding placement of wheel stops within a handicap parking space? In my case the wheel stop was placed to the extreme left side and actually protruded onto the handicapped walk way that was marked with blue striping.. The tire stop was painted the same color blue.

    When I got out of my vehicle and walked along the driver side of the car, because the tire stop was also painted blue, I did not notice that it actually protruded about 1 foot beyond my driver side front tire. As I walked towards the front of my car. I tripped over this tire stop and was severely injured.

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      I’m sorry to hear that you were injured as a result of tripping over a wheel stop. There are no specific requirements re: the precise location of wheel stops. Typically they are located on the left / driver side of the parking stall so as to stop forward movement of the left front wheel. Wheel stops should never be positioned within the pedestrian access aisle.

  29. Peggy L. Reza says:

    Dear Mr. Ashdown: I need help! Are there state requirements for the height of signage postings for ADA accessible parking spaces? The City of Sonora (95370) recently put up a sign for temporary ADA parking, but the sign was only about 2.5 ft above the ground. As I pulled into the parking lot in a tall van, I was not able to see the sign. I received a ticket for parking in a handicapped space, but the signage was not clearly visible for this one-day event.

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      The bottom of the parking sign needs to be 60″ min. – and 80″ if adjacent to a walkway (where a visually impaired person could potentially bump into the bottom of the sign) – CBC 11B-502.6

  30. Benjamin Blaz says:

    Mr. Ashdown,
    I need to provide one ADA parking stall for my project (van). An eight foot aisle would be on the right side of the stall and a wall abuts the stall on the left. Can the ADA stall abut the wall or do I need to provide a gap? If a gap is required, what is the minimum dimension?

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      Short story is the van stall should be 12′-0″ wide – and the loading aisle should be 5′-0″. The loading aisle must be on the right hand side of the van stall. It shouldn’t be a problem to have the wall on the left side of the van stall.

  31. Becky says:

    If a business has a parking lot that is only for their large commercial trucks and not for customers or employees, are they still required to have an ADA parking stall striped in the lot? Both customers and employees park on the street next to the business and the lot is only for truck parking.


    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      I’m getting a little out on a limb – without seeing it / knowing more specifics, but from your description it sounds as though accessible parking would not be required in the truck parking lot. I question, however, what provisions you would be making to access by a disabled person, either from the street or from your parking lot.

  32. James Smith says:

    Is there a good checklist for commercial garages for ADA access? Minimum ADA spaces required? van spaces, etc.? For example, if a commercial garage has 2,585 total spaces (regular + ADA spaces). How many ADA spaces and van spaces are needed?

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      That’s a pretty impressive garage you’ve got there. Short story is that the California Building Code (CBC 11B-208.2) says that when you have over 1,000 parking spaces, you need 20 accessible stalls, plus 1 for each 100, or fraction thereof, over 1000. Also keep in mind that 1 in every 6 accessible stalls needs to be van accessible (12′-0″ wide w/ 5′-0″ loading aisle on the right hand side).

  33. Alan Irving says:

    Can a car be towed in a handicapped space of a condo property without being ticketed by a city Police Dept? The car is known to have a handicapped placard but owner states it fell off when she exited the car one night. Our private security service had it towed and now owner is threatening legal action if not re-compensated for the tow or should the police be called for ticketing on our private property?

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      I’m an architect – and this is clearly a question for an attorney. There are attorneys listed on our web page under ADA Legal Assistance – right hand side.

  34. Cristal caylor says:

    Can a apartment complex kick your van out of a handicap parking spot even if it has a lil oil leak but you have a place card

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      I think it depends on how much oil it’s leaking – but actually, this a question for an attorney, not an architect.

  35. Bryan Jones says:

    Can you park handicap cars and trucks on dirt with only a paper stapelled to a wood post that is only three feet off the ground ? and the ground has no blue markings.

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      Both the ADA & the California Bldg. Code require accessible parking stalls and loading aisles to be “firm & smooth” with a maximum slope of 2% in any direction – so, essentially not on dirt…

  36. Christina Leeper says:

    We have a parking lot with 20 spaces, We have the required Van accessible HC spot.
    Ramp is on Driver’s side so cross hatched lines are also on drivers side. I have read they should be on passenger side but have seen two HC spots next to each other with shared cross hatch lines and the van parked backwards. So my question is can we leave it as is?

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      The van stall should be 12′-0″ wide with a 5′-0″ loading aisle on the right hand side.
      It’s ok for 2 accessible stalls to share a loading aisle between them – but with only 20 parking spaces, you are only required to have 1 accessible / van parking space.

  37. Charles Murry says:

    Hello Dwight, What is the requirement for existing doctor’s offices to have designated handicapped parking in LA county? The building is approx. 50-60 years old, is one story, and houses two medical offices and a small pharmacy. We had great difficulty getting safe access to this building today. The building owner is an MD.

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      The number of accessible spaces is entirely dependent on the total number of available parking spaces. If you can tell me how many parking spaces you have, I can tell you how many need to be accessible.

  38. cheran behn says:

    Hello, I live in a complex with 390 units, 3 handicap spaces. Those spaces are always taken by the same tenants. None of the 3 are any where near my unit. How can I verify that we have the correct number of space and if there is any regulation citing distance of the existing spaces in relation to living spaces.

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      The number of accessible parking spaces is determined by the total number of parking spaces. Depending on the layout of your complex, I would think that there should be accessible parking spaces adjacent to each building – and as close as possible to the building entrance.

  39. Whit says:


    I am looking for your book. I don’t have a kindle, and need an analog version to review diagrams etc. Where can I find it?

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      Sorry – the book is only available in digital format. It’s available from iTunes, Amazon and Barnes & Nobel. You don’t need a kindle to access the book. It can be read on a computer, any tablet or a smartphone. I keep a copy on my phone, that I often reference when I’m out in the field.

  40. Christina says:

    If I am planning on re-stripping a parking lot for a medical office building that was built in the 60-70’s do I need to update anything in the parking lot, or can I re-stripe the current lines and be compliant?

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      The code requirements have changed multiple times since the 70’s. I would encourage you to have someone who’s familiar with the current codes layout the striping.

  41. Where should the ADA “wheel tire block” be placed in a “disabled parking only” parking lot space—on the right side of the space, on the left side, or on either side?

    • Dwight Ashdown says:

      Typically the wheel block is on the driver’s side – but there’s no code requirement for where it should be located.

  42. Manuel. Perez says:

    Hello, My Name is Mr. Manuel Perez. I’m a 59 yrs old. I’m in a wheelchair and have been for over 4 years. I live in this apt building for 34 yrs. I have sent letters to the property management Co names Cirrus Management Co. And was told anything that I needed to be done such as ramps, opening divices to open the front gate to get in the building would come out of my pocket? And I need a special Handycap parking in the parking lot due to I can’t get into my car because the cars are to close together for me to get into my car can you please help me these owners are not complying and said there attorney said NO. Thank you Mr. Manuel Perez. (818)554-7666.

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