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Parking Access Aisles

© Janis Kent, Architect, FAIA, CASp 2012. Updated February, 2020

Your facility is having a special event in front of the building and you want to display merchandise with refreshments right outside the entry so everyone coming in can participate. Since this is only a one day or weekend event it’s okay to use all of that extra space in front including the accessible stall’s access aisle, right? The answer is no.

Accessible parking spaces are sacrosanct. The number is based on the total parking at a site and they are meant to be located as close as possible to the entry. If you block off one or two for your event there no longer will be an adequate number of accessible spaces. If you block off even part of the access aisle, it would be difficult to impossible for someone who requires that space to use it. Other spaces can not be substituted.

So what do you do?

  • Use the spaces adjacent to the accessible space and access aisle.
  • Use the sidewalk in front as long as it does not block the path of travel to the entry.
  • If there is construction temporarily blocking the space, designate with signage temporary
  • spaces and access aisles – it will take up 2 parking spaces for one accessible stall

The areas in accessible parking spaces and their respective access aisles are sized to accommodate lifts, wheelchairs, and walkers so people can easily get in and out of their vehicles. This equipment can take up a lot of room and if this area is blocked even for a small amount it might make the difference between someone attending your event or not even being able to get out of their vehicle. You would probably loose the whole family attending, since people go to events with companions and if it is easy for the person who needs these spatial requirements, it also makes it easy for and welcoming to the whole group.

Be aware that your local City or County may have additional requirements that are more restrictive than the State or Federal requirements. Also, this article is an interpretation and opinion of the writer. It is meant as a summary – current original regulations should always be reviewed when making any decisions.

© Janis Kent, Architect, FAIA, CASp 2012. Updated February, 2020