The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires places of public accommodation to provide a certain number of accessible parking spaces based on the total number of parking spaces in a parking facility.  There are two primary types of accessible parking spaces: (i) car accessible parking spaces; and (ii) van accessible parking spaces.

What is the difference between “car accessible parking spaces” and “van accessible parking spaces”?  The primary difference between accessible car parking spaces and accessible van parking spaces is width.  Accessible car parking spaces must be at least 96 inches wide and adjacent to an access aisle that is at least 60 inches wide.  Accessible van parking spaces must be: (i) at least 132 inches wide and adjacent to an access aisle that is at least 60 inches wide; or (ii) at least 96 inches wide and adjacent to an access aisle that is at least 96 inches wide.  Two accessible parking spaces may share a common access aisle.

How many van accessible parking spaces are required by the ADA?  The U.S. Department of Justice’s 2010 ADA Standards of Accessible Design states that for every six (or fraction of six) accessible parking spaces required by the ADA, at least one of those parking spaces must be a van accessible parking space.  Under this rule, if only one accessible parking space is required, it must be a van accessible parking space.

Takeaway:  Places of public accommodation with parking facilities should ensure not only that they have the required number of accessible parking spaces under the ADA, but also that they have the required number of van accessible parking spaces.