What Parking Lot Managers Should Know About ADA Compliance

What Parking Lot Managers Should Know About ADA Compliance

Since 1990, commercial property owners and managers have struggled to comply with ADA. Many have faced costly lawsuits because they were confused or even ignorant about the legal requirements. But it’s not just about penalties.

Failure to comply with ADA means that you make it hard for disabled individuals to access your property. That’s why in today’s blog, we provide an overview of ADA so you can start making your parking lot safe and accessible for everyone. 

At National Pavement Partners, we provide a complete range of parking lot paving and management services (including ADA compliance) in Denver, ColoradoClick here to get a free estimate.

What is ADA?

ADA stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act. It was enacted in 1990 by George Bush and continues to be hailed as a landmark civil rights legislation. But while this law seeks to make life easier for people with disabilities, it does put pressure on property managers to structure (and restructure) their properties with the help of concrete/asphalt contractors and line striping companies.

Is ADA Compliance Mandatory?

Yes, compliance with ADA is mandatory for public and commercial properties. The law requires that companies provide ‘reasonable accommodations’ to people with disabilities, especially employees with disabilities.

But these reasonable accommodations go far beyond workplace practices; you also need to make structural changes to your property.   

Who Needs To Comply? 

Facilities and businesses that are open to the public must comply with ADA. The legislation requires removing ‘barriers to access’ that obstruct disabled individuals from enjoying ‘public accommodations’. By this definition, all businesses need to take affirmative steps to comply with ADA, even retail outlets.

Does ADA Apply To Older Constructions?

Federal law initially stipulated that all new construction after 1992 should be 100% compliant. The law was revised in 2010, and according to the new guidelines, any building constructed after March 2012 must fully meet the revised rules. 

But what about pre-1992 constructions? In these cases, the law requires changes to structures that are ‘reasonably achievable.’ Examples include:

  • Accessible parking spaces
  • Ramps
  • Wide doors
  • Raise toilet seats

Understandably, such changes can be costly and time-consuming. It is always best to consult the relevant authorities and asphalt contractors to work out an achievable plan. 

An ADA Checklist For Parking Lots

Here are some of the main guidelines for making parking lots accessible:

Parking Areas

  • An accessible parking space should be 8-feet wide
  • All accessible spaces should have an adjoining 5-foot access aisle
  • The number of accessible parking spaces depends on the total number of parking spaces in a lot:
  • At least 1 accessible space out of 1-25 total spaces
  • At least 2 accessible spaces out of 26-50 total spaces
  • At least 3 accessible spaces out of 51-75 total spaces
  • At least 4 accessible spaces out of 76-100 total spaces
  • At least 5 accessible spaces out of 101-150 total spaces
  • At least 6 accessible spaces out of 151-200 total spaces
  • At least 7 accessible spaces out of 201-300 total spaces
  • At least 8 accessible space out of 301-400 total spaces
  • At least 9 accessible space out of 401-500 total spaces
  • For parking lots with more than 500 spaces, 2% of the total area must be accessible
  • For parking lots with more than 1000 spaces, there should be at least 20 accessible spaces (plus 1 for each 100 over 1000)
  • All accessible spaces must be clearly striped


  • At least one entrance route should be safe and accessible for disabled individuals
  • This route(s) should not have stairs, and the surface should be stable and slip-resistant
  • The route(s) should be at least 36 inches wide
  • Any obstructions should be detectable for people with visual impairments
  • Curbs should have curb cuts are drives, parking, and pick-up/drop-off points


  • The ramps should be ideally flat
  • If there is a slope, it should have a height to length ratio of 1:12 or less (1-inch height for every 12 inches includes along the base of the ramp)
  • Ramps should have railings on both sides, at least 6 feet long and between 34-38 inches high
  • Railings should be sturdy and slip-resistant
  • Railings should be at least 36 inches wide
  • There should be level landings at the top and bottom of ramps and at switchbacks. The ratio is 5:30 (5-foot long level for every 30-foot horizontal length)
  • The ramps shouldn’t rise more than 30 inches between the landings

Finally, proper signage must be installed to denote accessible spaces.

These guidelines are by no means exhaustive. You should consult experts to assess your ADA requirements. 

At National Pavement Partners, we can help make your Denver, Colorado parking lot accessible. Click here to get a free estimate for our ADA compliance, parking lot paving, management, and line striping services.