The Americans with Disabilities Act requires business to provide facilities that enable people with disabilities to enter and exit.
It also requires that business make reasonable accommodations for people who suffer from a disability. The same act requires business to provide special spaces near the front of the store designated for use by handicapped parking.
Of all the changes a business might have to make to comply with this requirement, providing handicapped parking spaces is one of the easiest. In general, car parking spaces shall be a minimum of 96 inches wide (8 ft) minimum and van parking spaces should be 132 inches (11 ft) wide minimum. Width areas should be marked with a sufficient sized adjacent access aisle. Van parking spaces can be 96 inches wide minimum if the access aisle is a minimum of 96 inches wide.
A store or place of business must provide enough space so that a handicap vehicle parked in one of these spaces can use a lift to raise and lower a person in a wheel chair. Depending on the nature of the business’s parking lot, a business may not have to set aside additional room in the parking space for this.
Business Benefits of Handicap Parking
Providing parking spaces for people with limited mobility sends a message that the business is friendly to all potential customers. While providing handicapped parking spaces will not increase the volume a business does significantly, installing these spaces may prevent a store from losing the business of people who take up the causes of individuals with disabilities.
All parking lots require maintenance. Handicapped parking spaces require slightly more maintenance than the spaces in the rest of the parking lots in most businesses, but this is because they must be painted and marked as special spaces. The law also requires that business putting up signs explaining the fine for using the spaces without a proper disability parking permit. The signs last for a long time, but paint wears out at the normal rate, especially in areas of the country that experience extreme weather conditions of seasonal changes in temperature.
Much of the above information applies to stores that have a parking lot. Owners of store fronts in small towns may not be able to provide special parking spaces because it goes beyond the store’s financial capabilities. They still must provide easy access for customers with disabilities, but they will not get a fine if they do not set aside space in front of their stores. In many cases, the parking spaces are provided by the local community. The town has the responsibility for providing spaces in this case.