Accessible parking spaces are designated parking spots for individuals with disabilities. They are essential for individuals with mobility impairments to access businesses, services and facilities. They play an important role in ensuring that businesses are inclusive and accessible to everyone, regardless of their ability. In this blog, we will explore the need for accessible parking spaces, the requirements for such spaces and the benefits they provide to businesses and patrons.
Who sets the regulations for accessible parking spaces?
In British Columbia, the accessible parking requirements are regulated by the BC Building Code and the BC Motor Vehicle Act and in some places, municipal regulations. The BC Building Code sets out the requirements for the design and construction of accessible parking spaces in new buildings, including the minimum number of spaces required, dimensions and signage. The BC Motor Vehicle Act outlines the provisions for the use of accessible parking spaces, including the requirement for a valid permit and the penalties for misuse of an accessible parking space.
The BC Motor Vehicle Act requires that individuals with disabilities have a valid permit to use accessible parking spaces. Misuse of an accessible parking space, such as parking in a space without a valid permit, can result in fines and penalties.
What does an Accessible Parking Space need?
Several requirements must be met for a parking space to be considered accessible. These requirements include:
- Location: Accessible parking spaces must be located close to the main entrance of the business or facility.
- Width: The minimum width of an accessible parking space must be 8 feet wide.
- Markings: Accessible parking spaces must be clearly marked with the International Symbol of Accessibility (ISA) and must have adjacent access aisles to provide enough space for individuals using mobility devices to get in and out of their vehicles.
- Signage: Accessible parking spaces must have proper signage indicating the spaces are for use by individuals with disabilities.
- Surfacing: The surface of an accessible parking space must be smooth and level, with no obstacles or barriers that would prevent access by individuals with mobility devices.
In recent years, there have been updates to the regulations regarding accessible parking spaces. For example, in British Columbia, the local bylaw requires that businesses with five or more parking spaces have at least one accessible parking space. This ensures that businesses are accessible to everyone and that individuals with disabilities have equal access to businesses and facilities.
What are the required dimensions for an Accessible Parking space?
The dimensions of an accessible parking space must meet certain requirements to ensure that individuals with disabilities have enough room to access and exit their vehicles. In Vancouver, the minimum dimensions for an accessible parking space are 4.0M wide by 5.5M long, van accessible spaces may vary and are available here. This allows for individuals using mobility devices to get in and out of their vehicles safely and comfortably.
Proper signage and markings are also essential to identify accessible parking spaces. The International Symbol of Accessibility must be displayed on the surface of the parking space and the adjacent access aisle. The ISA symbol is a recognizable and universally understood symbol that clearly indicates the space is for individuals with disabilities.