U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section
Americans with Disabilities Act
Updates from the U.S. Department of Justice
Readily Achievable Barrier Removal
Van Accessible Parking Spaces
(illustration of a sign for a van accessible
(inside front cover)
Reproduction of this document is encouraged.
The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice
to provide technical assistance to individuals and entities that
have rights or responsibilities under the Act. This document
provides informal guidance to assist you in understanding the
ADA and the Department's regulation. However, this technical
assistance does not constitute a legal interpretation of the
(page 1) Introduction
ADA-TA, a series of technical assistance (TA) updates from
the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division of
the Department of Justice, provides practical information on how
to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Each
ADA-TA highlights specific topics of interest to business owners
and managers, State and local government officials, architects,
engineers, contractors, product designers and manufacturers, and
all others who seek a better understanding of accessible design
and the ADA. The goal of the series is to clarify potential
about the requirements of the ADA, and to highlight its flexible,
common sense approach to accessibility.
Each ADA-TA has two standard features: Common Questions
Design Details. Common Questions answers questions
that have been brought to our attention through complaints,
reviews, calls to our information line, or letters from the
Design Details provides supplemental information and
of specific design requirements.
ADA-TA complements the Department's ADA documents, including the regulations issued under titles II and III of the ADA and the Department's technical assistance manuals. ADA-TA is not a legal interpretation of the ADA. Instead it provides practical solutions on how to comply with the ADA while avoiding costly and common mistakes.
Obtaining additional ADA information may be as easy as a trip
to your local library. The Department of Justice has sent an
ADA Information File containing 70 technical assistance documents
to 15,000 libraries across the country. Most libraries maintain
this file at the reference desk.
To order copies of the Department's regulations, technical assistance manuals and other publications, or obtain answers to specific questions, CALL: (800) 514-0301 (voice) (800) 514-0383 (TDD).
The Department's ADA publications are also available electronically, including ADA regulations and technical assistance materials, through the Internet or by calling the Department's electronic bulletin board (BBS). Materials can be accessed on the World Wide Web at http://www.ada.gov/index.html or by using The materials can be also downloaded from the Department of Justice ADA-BBS by dialing (202) 514-6193. You can also reach this BBS through the Internet using the telenet fedworld gateway (telenet fedworld.gov). At the main menu, choose "U" (Utilities/Files/Mail), then choose "D" (gateway system) followed by "D" (connect to gov't sys/database) and then #9 ADA-BBS (DOJ).
(page 2) Common Questions
Illustration: three lavatories in a public
toilet room. One lavatory has been made accessible.
Title: Selected Examples of Barrier Removal
notes for illustration:
Replacing round faucet handles with lever
Repositioning the paper towel dispenser
Installing a full-length bathroom mirror or lowering lavatory mirror
Modifying the front of the counter at the accessible lavatory to provide wheelchair access
Insulating lavatory pipes under sinks to prevent burns
(page 3) Common Questions
Common Questions: Readily Achievable Barrier Removal
The ADA requires companies providing goods and services to the
public to take certain limited steps to improve access to
places of business. This mandate includes the obligation
to remove barriers from existing buildings when it is readily
achievable to do so. Readily achievable means easily
and able to be carried out without much difficulty or
Many building features that are common in older facilities such
as narrow doors, a step or a round door knob at an entrance door,
or a crowded check-out or store aisle are barriers to access by
people with disabilities. Removing barriers by ramping a curb,
widening an entrance door, installing visual alarms, or
an accessible parking space is often essential to ensure equal
opportunity for people with disabilities. Because removing these
and other common barriers can be simple and inexpensive in some
cases and difficult and costly in others, the regulations for
the ADA provide a flexible approach to compliance. This
approach requires that barriers be removed in existing facilities
only when it is readily achievable to do so. The ADA does not
require existing buildings to meet the ADA's standards for newly
The ADA states that individuals with disabilities may not be
the full and equal enjoyment of the ìgoods, services,
privileges, advantages, or accommodationsî that the
provides -- in other words, whatever type of good or service a
business provides to its customers or clients. A business or
other private entity that serves the public must ensure equal
opportunity for people with disabilities.
In the following section, we answer some of the most commonly
asked questions we receive from our toll-free ADA Information
Line about the barrier removal requirement and how it differs
from those requirements that apply to new construction and
Individuals with disabilities may not be denied the full and
equal enjoyment of the ìgoods, services, facilities,
advantages, or accommodationsî
(page 4) Common Questions
I own three buildings, two of which were designed and constructed prior to the enactment of the ADA. I have been told I have to make them all accessible. Is this true? Does the ADA require me to make them all accessible?
The ADA establishes different requirements for existing
and new construction. In existing facilities where retrofitting
may be expensive, the requirement to provide access through
removal is less than it is in new construction where
can be incorporated in the initial stages of design and
without a significant increase in cost.
The requirement to remove barriers in existing buildings applies only to a private entity that owns, leases, leases to or operates a ìplace of public accommodation.î Further, barriers must be removed only where it is ìreadily achievableî to do so. Readily achievable means easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense.
The ADA establishes different requirements for existing
and new construction.
Is my business required to remove barriers?
If your business provides goods and services to the public, you
are required to remove barriers if doing so is readily
Such a business is called a public accommodation because it
the public. If your business is not open to the public but is
only a place of employment like a warehouse, manufacturing
or office building, then there is no requirement to remove
Such a facility is called a commercial facility. While the
of a commercial facility is not required to remove barriers, you
must comply with the ADA Standards for Accessible Design when
you alter, renovate or expand your facility.
What is a ìplace of public accommodationî?
A place of public accommodation is a facility whose operations
affect commerce and fall within at least one of the following
12 categories set out in the ADA:
1) Places of lodging (e.g., inns, hotels, motels) (except for owner-occupied establishments renting fewer than six rooms);
2) Establishments serving food or drink (e.g., restaurants and bars);
3) Places of exhibition or entertainment (e.g., motion picture houses, theaters, concert halls, stadiums);
4) Places of public gathering (e.g., auditoriums, convention centers, lecture halls);
5) Sales or rental establishments (e.g., bakeries, grocery stores, hardware stores, shopping centers);
6) Service establishments (e.g., laundromats, dry-cleaners,
barber shops, beauty shops, travel services, shoe repair
funeral parlors, gas stations, offices of accountants or lawyers,
(page 5) Common Questions
pharmacies, insurance offices, professional offices of health care providers, hospitals);
7) Public transportation terminals, depots, or stations (not including facilities relating to air transportation);
8) Places of public display or collection (e.g., museums, libraries, galleries);
9) Places of recreation (e.g., parks, zoos, amusement parks);
10) Places of education (e.g., nursery schools, elementary, secondary, undergraduate, or postgraduate private schools);
11) Social service center establishments (e.g., day care centers, senior citizen centers, homeless shelters, food banks, adoption agencies); and
12) Places of exercise or recreation (e.g., gymnasiums, health
spas, bowling alleys, golf courses).
The types of facilities listed in each category are examples
ó they are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all
I operate a restaurant that opened in 1991. The city required that the restaurant comply with the local accessibility code. Is the restaurant "grandfathered" and not required to remove barriers as required by the ADA?
No. A restaurant is a public accommodation and a place of public
accommodation must remove barriers when it is readily achievable
to do so. Although the facility may be "grandfathered"
according to the local building code, the ADA does not have a
provision to "grandfather" a facility. While a local
building authority may not require any modifications to bring
a building "up to code" until a renovation or major
alteration is done, the ADA requires that a place of public
remove barriers that are readily achievable even when no
or renovations are planned.
...the ADA does not have a provision to
Do I, as the owner, have to pay for removing barriers?
Yes, but tenants and management companies also have an
Any private entity who owns, leases, leases to, or operates a
place of public accommodation shares in the obligation to remove
If I do remove barriers, is my business entitled to any tax benefit to help pay for the cost of compliance?
As amended in 1990, the Internal Revenue Code allows a deduction
of up to $15,000 per year for expenses associated with the
of qualified architectural and transportation barriers (Section
(page 6) Common Questions
The 1990 amendment also permits eligible small
businesses to receive a tax credit (Section 44) for certain costs
of compliance with the ADA. An eligible small business is one
whose gross receipts do not exceed $1,000,000 or whose workforce
does not consist of more than 30 full-time workers. Qualifying
businesses may claim a credit of up to 50 percent of eligible
access expenditures that exceed $250 but do not exceed $10,250.
Examples of eligible access expenditures include the necessary
and reasonable costs of removing architectural, physical,
and transportation barriers; providing readers, interpreters,
and other auxiliary aids; and acquiring or modifying equipment
To learn more about tax credits and deductions for barrier removal and providing accessibility contact the IRS at (800) 829-1040 (voice) or (800) 829-4059 (TDD) or call the Department of Justice
ADA Information Line (800) 514-0301 voice,
(800) 514-0383 TDD.
What design standards apply when Iím removing barriers?
When you undertake to remove a barrier, you should use the
provisions of the ADA Standards for Accessible Design
These Standards were published in Appendix A to the Department
of Justice's Title III regulations, 28 CFR Part 36,
on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations and in
Facilities. Deviations from the Standards are acceptable
when full compliance with those requirements is not
achievableî. In such cases, barrier removal measures may
be taken that do not fully comply with the Standards, so long
as the measures do not pose a significant risk to the health or
safety of individuals with disabilities or others.
ILLUSTRATION: As a first step toward removing architectural
the owner of a small shop decides to widen the shopís
wide front door. Because of space constraints the shop owner
can only widen the door to provide a 30-inch clear width, not
the full 32-inch clearance required for alterations under the
Standards. Full compliance with the Standards is not in this
case readily achievable. The 30-inch clear width will allow most
people who use crutches or wheelchairs to get through the door
and will not pose a significant risk to their health or safety.
How can I get a copy of the ADA Standards for Accessible Design?
Copies of the regulations, which include the Standards, are
from the Department of Justice's ADA Information Line and may
also be available in your local library. The Department of
distributed an ADA Information File containing regulations and
technical assistance materials to over 15,000 libraries
Copies of the regulations can be ordered 24 hours a day from
the Departmentís ADA Information line (1-800-514-0301
or 1-800-514-0383 TDD).
Copies of the regulations, which include the Standards can
be ordered 24 hours a day from the Departmentís ADA
(page 7) Common Questions
How do I determine what is readily achievable?
ìReadily achievableî means easily accomplishable
and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense.
Determining if barrier removal is readily achievable is, by
a case-by-case judgment. Factors to consider include:
1) The nature and cost of the action;
2) The overall financial resources of the site or sites involved;
the number of persons employed at the site; the effect on
and resources; legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe
operation, including crime prevention measures; or any other
of the action on the operation of the site;
3) The geographic separateness, and the administrative or fiscal
relationship of the site or sites in question to any parent
4) If applicable, the overall financial resources of any parent
corporation or entity; the overall size of the parent corporation
or entity with respect to the number of its employees; the
type, and location of its facilities; and
5) If applicable, the type of operation or operations of any
corporation or entity, including the composition, structure, and
functions of the workforce of the parent corporation or entity.
..readily achievable will have to be determined on a
basis in light of the nature and cost of the barrier removal and
the resources available.
If the public accommodation is a facility that is owned or
by a parent entity that conducts operations at many different
sites, you must consider the resources of both the local facility
and the parent entity to determine if removal of a particular
barrier is ìreadily achievable.î The
and fiscal relationship between the local facility and the parent
entity must also be considered in evaluating what resources are
available for any particular act of barrier removal.
Can you tell me what barriers it will be ìreadily achievableî to remove?
The Departmentís regulation contains a list of 21 examples
of modifications that may be readily achievable. These include
installing ramps, making curb cuts in sidewalks and at entrances,
repositioning telephones, adding raised markings on elevator
buttons, installing visual alarms, widening doors, installing
offset hinges to widen doorways, insulating lavatory pipes under
sinks, repositioning a paper towel dispenser, installing a
mirror, rearranging toilet partitions to increase maneuvering
space or installing an accessible toilet stall. The list is not
exhaustive and is only intended to be illustrative. Each of
modifications will be readily achievable in many instances, but
not in all. Whether or not any of these measures is readily
will have to be determined on a case-by-case basis in light of
the nature and cost of the barrier removal and the resources
(page 8) Common Questions
Does the ADA permit me to consider the effect of a modification on the operation on my business?
Yes. The ADA permits consideration of factors
other than the initial cost of the physical removal of a barrier.
ILLUSTRATION: CDE convenience store determines that it would
be inexpensive to remove shelves to provide access to wheelchair
users throughout the store. However, this change would result
in a significant loss of selling space that would have an adverse
effect on its business. In this case, the removal of all the
shelves is not readily achievable and, thus, is not required by
the ADA. However, it may be readily achievable to remove some
If an area of my store is reachable only by a flight of steps, would I be required to add an elevator?
Usually no. A public accommodation generally
would not be required to remove a barrier to physical access
by a flight of steps, if removal would require extensive ramping
or an elevator. The readily achievable standard does not require
barrier removal that requires burdensome expense. Thus, where
it is not readily achievable to do so, the ADA would not require
a public accommodation to provide access to an area reachable
only by a flight of stairs.
I have a portable ramp that we use for deliveries - canít I just use that?
Yes, you could, but only if the installation of a permanent ramp
is not readily achievable. In order to promote safety, a
ramp should have railings, a firm, stable, nonslip surface and
the slope should not exceed one to twelve (one unit of rise for
every twelve units horizontal distance). It should also be
secured and staff should be trained in its safe use.
Because one of my buildings is very inaccessible, I donít know what to fix first. Is guidance available?
Yes. The Department recommends priorities
for removing barriers in existing facilities because you may not
have sufficient resources to remove all existing barriers at one
time. These priorities are not mandatory. You are free to
discretion in determining the most effective ìmixî
of barrier removal measures for your facilities.
(page 9) Common Questions
The first priority is enabling
with disabilities to enter the facility. This priority on
through the doorî recognizes that providing physical access
to a facility from public sidewalks, public transportation, or
parking is generally preferable to any alternative arrangements
in terms of both business efficiency and the dignity of
The second priority is providing access
to those areas where goods and services are made available to
the public. For example, in a hardware store these areas would
include the front desk and the retail display areas of the store.
The third priority is providing access
to restrooms (if restrooms are provided for use by customers or
The fourth priority is removing any
remaining barriers, for example, lowering telephones.
Our priorities for barrier removal are not mandatory. Public
accommodations are free to exercise discretion in determining
the most effective ìmixî of barrier removal measures
to undertake in their facilities.
What about my employee areas? Must I remove barriers in areas used only by employees?
No. The ìreadily achievableî obligation to remove
barriers in existing facilities does not extend to areas of a
facility that are used exclusively by employees. Of course, it
may be necessary to remove barriers in response to a request for
ìreasonable accommodationî by a qualified employee
or applicant as required by Title I of the ADA. For more
contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) which
enforces Title I of the ADA.
How can a public accommodation decide what needs to be done?
One effective approach is to conduct a
of the facility to identify existing barriers. While not
by the ADA, a serious effort at self-assessment and consultation
can save resources by identifying the most efficient means of
providing required access and can diminish the threat of
It serves as evidence of a good faith effort to comply with the
barrier removal requirements of the ADA. This process should
include consultation with individuals with disabilities or with
organizations representing them and procedures for annual
...public accommodations are urged to
procedures for an ongoing assessment of their compliance with
the ADAís barrier removal requirements
(page 10) Common Questions
If a public accommodation determines that its facilities have barriers that should be removed, but it is not readily achievable to undertake all of the modifications now, what should it do?
The Department recommends that a public
develop an implementation plan designed to achieve compliance
with the ADAís barrier removal requirements. Such a plan,
if appropriately designed and executed, could serve as evidence
of a good faith effort to comply with the ADAís barrier
...when barrier removal is not readily achievable, then goods
and services must be made available through alternative methods,
if such methods are readily achievable.
What if Iím not able to remove barriers at this time due to my
financial situation? Does that mean Iím relieved of current responsibilities?
No, when you can demonstrate that the removal
of barriers is not readily achievable, you must make your goods
and services available through alternative methods, if
such methods is readily achievable. Examples of alternative
include having clerks retrieve merchandise located on
shelves or delivering goods or services to the customers at
or in their homes. Of course, the obligation to remove barriers
when readily achievable is a continuing one. Over time, barrier
removal that initially was not readily achievable may later
so because of your changed circumstances.
If the obligation is continuing, do you mean there are no limits on what I must do to remove barriers?
No. There are limits. In removing barriers, a public
does not have to exceed the level of access required under the
alterations provisions contained in the Standards (or the new
construction provision where the Standards do not provide
provisions for alterations).
ILLUSTRATION 1: An office building that houses places of public
accommodation is removing barriers in public areas. The
provisions of the Standards explicitly state that areas of rescue
assistance are not required in buildings that are being altered.
Because barrier removal is not required to exceed the
standard, the building owner need not establish areas of rescue
(page 11) Common Questions
ILLUSTRATION 2: A grocery store has more than 5000 square feet
of selling space and prior to the ADA had six inaccessible
aisles. Because the Standards do not contain specific provisions
applicable to the alteration of check-out aisles one must look
to the new construction provisions of the Standards for the upper
limit of the barrier removal obligation. These provisions require
only two of the six check-out aisles to be accessible. Because
the store found it readily achievable in 1993 and 1994 to remove
barriers and make two of check-out aisles accessible, the store
has fulfilled its obligation and is not required to make
more check-out aisles accessible.
What is the difference between barrier removal and alterations? Aren't they both very similar?
Not really . Under the ADA, barrier removal is done by a place
of public accommodation to remove specific barriers that limit
or prevent people with disabilities from obtaining access to the
goods and services offered to the public. This is an ongoing
obligation for the business that has limits determined by
size of the company and other factors (see pages 7 & 8).
An alteration is replacement, renovation or addition to an
or space of a facility. Generally alterations are done to
the function of the business, to accommodate a change or growth
in services, or as part of a general renovation. The
for alterations are greater than those for barrier removal
the alteration is part of a larger construction or replacement
One of the buildings that I own is a small factory with offices.
Do I have to make that accessible?
No, commercial facilities such as factories, warehouses, and
buildings that do not contain places of public accommodation are
considered ìcommercial facilitiesî and are
required to remove barriers in existing facilities. They are,
however, covered by the ADAís requirements for accessible
design in new construction or alterations.
Commercial facilities that do not contain places of public accommodation are not
required to remove barriers in existing facilities except to provide access to
(Page 12 blank)
(Page 13) Design Details
Design Details: Van Accessible Parking Spaces
Vans equipped with lifts are an essential mode
of transportation for many people who use wheelchairs and
scooters. The lift-equipped van permits people to enter and exit
the vehicle independently without having to leave their
The ADA creates new requirements for van
parking spaces. The ADA Standards for Accessible Design or
cover public accommodations, commercial facilities and certain
State and local governments. State and local governments may
choose between these Standards and the Uniform Federal
Standards (UFAS). Because UFAS does not specify how many van
accessible parking spaces are required, only those State and
governments that have chosen the Standards as their ADA
standard have specific, numerical requirements for van accessible
parking. Requirements for State and local government agencies
that have chosen the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standard
are not addressed by this document.
A van equipped with a side-mounted wheelchair
lift parked in a van-accessible parking space. A person using
a wheelchair is getting out of the van using the lift. The
route from the lift to the sidewalk is marked with a dashed line
and arrow leading to a curb ramp.
A Van Accessible Parking Space always has a minimum 96-inch
wide access aisle next to the van
The new requirement for van accessible parking
spaces is an important one for van users but its implementation
has caused some confusion among people responsible for providing
The following section provides information
about the design requirements for van accessible parking spaces
and explains when these spaces are required, what features are
required, and where to locate them on a site.
(page 14) Design Details
Design Requirements for Van Accessible Parking Spaces
Van accessible parking spaces are identical
to accessible parking spaces for cars except for the following:
ï the access aisle must be at least eight-feet wide (as
to five-feet wide) to accommodate a wheelchair lift mounted at
the side of a van;
ï vertical clearance of at least 98 inches is required along the vehicular route to the parking space, at the van parking space, and along the route from the space to the exit to accommodate the height of most vans; and
ï the required sign must have the words ìvan
below the international symbol of accessibility (see 4.6.4 of
Van with side-mounted wheelchair lift parked
in a van-accessible parking space. The wheelchair lift and a
person using a wheelchair are in the marked access aisle. Notes
(below) are provided for the sign identifying the accessible
space, the vertical clearance and the width of the access aisle.
Title: Unique Features of a Van Accessible
Sign with symbol of access and "Van Accessible"
98 inch min. vertical clearance for vans along route to space,
at the parking space and along route to exit the site
96 inch min. width access aisle provides space for lift
The other required features of van accessible parking spaces are
the same as those for accessible parking spaces for cars. These
ï the parking space for the vehicle must be at least 96
ï the parking space for the vehicle and the entire access
aisle must be level (with a maximum slope of 1:501 in all
ï the access aisle must have a firm, stable, non-slip
1 (footnote) A 1:50 slope is nearly level and is
adequate for drainage. The ratio means that a change in vertical
height of no more than one unit can occur for every fifty units
of distance. For example, a change of one inch in height over
a distance of fifty inches.
(page 15) Design Details
ï the access aisle must be part of an accessible route to
a facility or building entrance(s), and
ï a sign that complies with 4.6.4 of the Standards must be
mounted in front of where the vehicle parks to designate the
plan view of a van accessible parking space
which highlights the common features of accessible parking spaces
(van and car)
Common Features of all Accessible Parking
(van and car)
parked vehicle overhangs shall not reduce the clear width of the
sign with international symbol of accessibility mounted high
so view is not obstructed by parked vehicle
wide access aisle is part of the accessible route to the
entrance and has a firm, stable, non-slip surface
level access aisle and vehicle parking space (max. 1:50 slope
in all directions)
accessible parking spaces are min. 96 inches wide
The access aisle must be located on a 36-inch-wide accessible
route to the building entrance(s). Section 4.3 of the Standards
contains requirements for accessible routes and includes
for width, passing space to permit two people using wheelchairs
to pass, head room, ground surfaces along the route, slope,
in levels, and doors. The accessible route must not be
by any objects including vehicles that may extend into the
route, a curb, outdoor furniture, or shrubbery.
If an accessible route crosses a curb, a curb ramp must be used.
However, a built-up curb ramp may not project into the minimum
required space for the access aisle at an accessible parking
When an accessible route crosses a vehicular way, a marked
may be part of the accessible route.
Example of a sign for a van accessible parking space
Sample sign for a van accessible parking space
(page 16) Design Details
Location and Dispersion of Parking Spaces
Section 4.6.2 of the Standards requires that
accessible parking spaces, including van accessible spaces, be
located on the shortest accessible route from adjacent parking
to the accessible entrance of the building or facility.
parking spaces and the required accessible route should be
where individuals with disabilities do not have to cross a
lane. When parking cannot be located immediately adjacent to
a building and the accessible route must cross a vehicular route,
then it is recommended that a marked crossing must be used where
the accessible route crosses the vehicular route. In facilities
that have multiple accessible entrances with adjacent parking
spaces, the accessible parking spaces must be dispersed.
When parking spaces are located in a parking
garage, the Standards permit the van accessible parking spaces
to be grouped on one floor (Standards 4.1.2 (5) (b)).
Multi-story building with a circular driveway
adjacent to the front entrance and a three level parking garage
located across the street. The accessible route from the parking
garage to the building entrance is identified. A note also
a possible location for van accessible parking spaces on the
van accessible parking spaces may be grouped on one level of a
possible location for van accessible parking spaces if inadequate
vertical clearance exists in parking garage
(page 17) Design Details
When Van Accessible Spaces are Required
When you provide parking at a newly
place of public accommodation or at a commercial facility you
must provide accessible parking spaces including van accessible
When you alter or renovate a parking lot or
facility the following may apply.
ï If you repave or otherwise alter the parking lot, you must
add as many accessible parking spaces, including van spaces, as
needed to comply.
ï If you restripe the parking area, you must restripe so
that you provide the correct number of accessible parking spaces,
including van accessible parking.
ï Existing physical site constraints may make it
infeasibleî to comply fully with the Standards. However,
in most cases a ìtechnically infeasibleî condition
exists only in a portion of a lot, and other suitable locations
for accessible parking spaces are often available.
Number of Van Accessible Spaces Required
Section 4.1.2 (5) of the Standards specifies
the minimum number of accessible parking spaces to be provided
including van accessible parking spaces. One out of every eight
accessible spaces provided must be a van accessible space.
When only one accessible parking space is required, the space
provided must be a van accessible parking space. Van accessible
spaces can serve vans and cars because they are not designated
for vans only.
In larger parking lots, both van accessible
and accessible car spaces must be provided. For example, in a
parking lot for 250 spaces where seven accessible parking spaces
are required, one van accessible space would be required along
with six accessible car parking spaces. In a parking lot for
450 spaces where nine accessible spaces are required, then two
van accessible spaces would be required along with seven
car parking spaces.
Two van accessible parking spaces may share
an access aisle.
When accessible spaces are required for new construction and
during alterations, van accessible parking spaces must always
(page 18) Design Details
Readily Achievable Barrier Removal: Van Accessible Parking
Public accommodations must remove
barriers that are structural in nature in existing facilities
when it is ìreadily achievableî to do so. Readily
achievable means easily accomplishable and able to be carried
out without much difficulty or expense.
The ADA provides flexibility for public
undertaking barrier removal and does not require that the ADA
Standards for Accessible Design (Standards) be complied with
if it is not readily achievable to do so. Rather, the Standards
serve as guidelines for barrier removal that should be met if
physical conditions and cost permit. Deviation from the
is permitted unless it results in a safety hazard to people with
disabilities or others.
Because removing barriers to accessible
generally involves relatively low cost, it may be readily
for many public accommodations.
View of three parking spaces with a sidewalk
located at the front of the spaces. None of the parking spaces
Existing parking area without accessible spaces
(page 19) Design Details
If readily achievable, the first accessible
parking space that is provided as part of barrier removal
should be a van accessible space. This type of parking space
can be used by both vans and by cars and can be used by anyone
who needs accessible parking.
Examples of barrier removal related to
parking may include restriping a section or sections of a parking
lot to provide accessible parking spaces with designated access
aisles, installing signs that designate accessible parking
providing an accessible route from the accessible parking spaces
to the building entrance, and providing a marked crossing where
the accessible route crosses a vehicular way.
If readily achievable, the first accessible parking space that
is provided should be a van accessible space.
Where parking lot surfaces slope more than
1:50, select the most nearly level area that is available for
the accessible parking spaces. When selecting the area for the
accessible parking spaces, consider the location of the
route that must connect the access aisle to the facilityís
Same view of parking spaces after restriping
and installation of a curb ramp and sign. One of the three
spaces is now a 96 inch wide access aisle and a curb ramp is
adjacent to the access aisle.
Title: Same area with van accessible parking
sign with international symbol of accessibility and "van accessible"
designates van accessible parking
curb ramp installed outside access aisle area
accessible route to entrance
level access aisle
(Page 20) Design Details
Requirements for readily achievable barrier
removal permit businesses to consider the effect of barrier
on the operation of their businesses.
For example, a small independently owned store has only three
parking spaces for its customers. It determines that restriping
the parking area to provide an accessible parking space could
be easily accomplished without significant expense. However,
to provide a fully complying van accessible parking space would
reduce the available parking for other customers who do not have
disabilities from three spaces to one. This loss of parking (not
just the cost of the paint for restriping) can be considered in
determining whether the barrier removal is readily achievable.
The ADA provides flexibility for the store to implement a
that complies with the law but does not result in loss of
For example, if it is not readily achievable to provide a fully
compliant van accessible parking space, one can provide a space
that has an access aisle that is narrower than required by the
Standards if the result does not cause a safety hazard. Or, the
store may provide the service (to a customer with a disability)
in an alternative manner, such as curb service or home delivery.
In some cases, providing a van accessible parking space that
does not fully comply with the Standards will often be the
alternative approach, if doing so is readily achievable, because
many people with disabilities will benefit from having a
accessible parking space, even if it is not usable by everyone.
If an accessible parking space is provided with a narrow access
aisle, then a ìVan Accessibleî sign should not be
provided and the store should be prepared to offer service in
an alternative manner, if it is readily achievable to do so, to
van users who cannot park in the space.
Requirements for readily achievable barrier removal permit
businesses to consider the effect of barrier removal on the
of their businesses.
(Page 21) Information Sources
Information Sources: ADA Technical Assistance
The Department of Justice, through the Disability Rights Section,
has responsibility for coordinating government-wide ADA technical
assistance activities. Information and direct technical
are available from the agencies listed below. Use the list to
select the agency responsible for ADA requirements in your area
of interest. Some provide free publications in addition to other
For State and local government programs,
businesses and services, access to facilities, design standards
enforceable under the ADA, and information on tax credits and
U.S. Department of Justice
ADA Information Line
(800) 514-0383 (TDD)
For information about Tax Credits and Deductions, contact:
Internal Revenue Service
(800) 829-4059 (TDD)
For employment issues, contact:
Equal Employment Opportunity
(800) 669-6820 (TDD)
For transportation, contact:
(202) 366-4567 (TDD)
For information on the ADA Accessibility Guidelines, contact:
(800) 993-2822 (TDD)
For additional ADA information and referral sources from Federally funded grantees, contact:
Job Accommodation Network
(800) 526-7234 (V/TDD)
Disability and Business
Technical Assistance Centers
(800) 949-4232 (V/TDD)
Disability Rights Education
and Defense Fund (DREDF)
(800) 466-4232 (V/TDD)