California Legal Handicapped Parking Signs, Custom Parking Signs and Guide Signs from ADA Sign Depot:
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California Handicapped/Disabled Parking Signs Requirements
In July 2008, California revamped its handicapped parking signage, making changes in sizes, wording, colors, and which signs would be required.
For example, the R100B California Disabled Parking Tow-Away sign
was changed from an 18x24 to an 24x24 size, from white text on a blue background to black text on a white background, and key changes were made in the wording of the sign, including using the phrase “persons with disabilities.” While there were no changes made to the R99 sign
used to reserve a parking space, it was now required that every parking space include the Minimum Fine $250
wording. A new sign, the R99B Fine Sign
would allow people to upgrade existing R99 signs to comply with the new standard. Another new sign, the R99C sign
, included the fine information and allows a non-van accessible disabled parking space to be reserved using just this one sign. While these changes were begun and carried forward mostly by CalTrans, and they were at odds with other accessibility agency’s requirements, these new California Disabled Parking signs have become the accepted method for reserving disabled parking in California. In most cases signs in place before that July 2008--if compliant with the laws at that time--did not need to be changed to the newer designs unless or until any changes were made to the parking area, such as an expansion or re-striping (painting) of the parking lot. As always, we recommend you consult your local accessibility authority to determine what steps your particular property needs to take to be in compliance.
Effective 1 July 2008, most California businesses which provide parking for customers or visitors needed to make changes to their disabled parking areas. Thousands of lawsuits have now been filed against business which should have made these changes, or made them improperly. Without looking carefully, the new standards will rarely be noticed by the casual observer, but there are groups looking for even small problems, and if they find them, a lawsuit seeking minimum damages of $4,000, plus attorneys’ fees, may be filed without notice per Cal. Civil Code §52(a) and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the “ADA”). No business is “grandfathered” or exempt from compliance.
1. Must you provide disabled parking?
If you provide even just a “customers only” parking area—whether it has marked spaces or not— you are almost certainly required to provide a compliant wheelchair-accessible parking area.
Page 4 of 4 ©2012LawyersAgainstLawsuitAbuse.com 2. Must you provide a larger “van accessible” disabled parking space? If you are required to provide a parking for people with disabilities — and you probably are, unless each space in your parking area is marked and enforced as “employees only” – you are normally required to provide no fewer than one of the larger “van accessible” disabled parking spaces.
2. Must you provide a larger “van accessible” disabled parking space?
If you are required to provide a parking for people with disabilities — and you probably are, unless each space in your parking area is marked and enforced as “employees only” – you are normally required to provide no fewer than one of the larger “van accessible” disabled parking spaces.
3. Why are “van accessible” spaces necessary?
A “van accessible” space is larger than most regular disabled parking spaces, because the diagonally-striped “access aisle” (depicted in Figure 3, above) must be at least 8 feet wide, rather than the 5 foot width of the more common “regular” disabled spaces. The reason the additional width is required for some spaces is that many people use ramp vans (Figure 7), which deploy a power lift or ramp and a larger area is needed for the “no parking” zone (Figures 3 and 11) to prevent another vehicle from parking in a manner which could prevent the lift from deploying, preventing the user from returning to their vehicle.
Summary of the new 2008 requirements:
1. Disabled Parking Enforcement Signage
: If you have (or should have) a parking area reserved for people with disabilities, you should post properly completed signs like the one in Figure 1, above, warning drivers that their vehicles may be towed if not displaying evidence of disabled parking privileges; if appropriate enforcement signage is not posted, many tow truck drivers will not tow improperly parked vehicles. Most existing enforcement signage will not meet the new standards. Ordinary “customers only” tow away signs are not sufficient for this purpose. The blanks in these signs must be properly completed with the address where towed vehicles may be reclaimed and the phone number to call for information about the vehicle.
2. “MINIMUM FINE $250” Signage
: If you have (or should have) even one parking space designated for people with disabilities, you almost certainly need to add an appropriate sign which reads “MINIMUM FINE $250”, as shown in Figure 2, above.
3. Contrasting Striping: If the pavement in your parking area is black, dark blue paint may not be visible at night; if it is grey, light blue or white paint may not be visible at certain light levels, such as under fluorescent lights. The new law requires that the striping of diagonal lines in the “access aisle(s)” 1 (i.e., the diagonally-striped loading and unloading area immediately adjacent to a wheelchair-accessible parking space, as shown in Figure 3, above) be done in a
(An access aisle provides extra space so that those who use “ramp vans” can deploy their wheelchair lift mechanisms; if another car parks too close to a ramp van, it could prevent them from re-entering their vehicles.)California Disabled Parking Basics
If you have (or should have) even just one wheelchair-accessible parking space (for parking lots with 25 or fewer spaces for customers or visitors), it should meet the following standards to reduce lawsuit risk:
• Each wheelchair-accessible parking space should be 9’ x 18’, inside the lines
• Every wheelchair-accessible parking space requires an access aisle (Figure 3); if you have just one such space, the access aisle should be 8’ x 18’, inside lines2
• The entire disabled parking area and access aisle should have a slope no greater than 2% in any direction
• Each wheelchair-accessible space should be located on compliant path to the building entrance; experts suggest that the path should be 48” wide minimum and marked with appropriate directional signs (Figure 10); this is especially important if the entrance is not immediately apparent from the parking area or sidewalk
• Each wheelchair-accessible space should be located on shortest accessible route to the building entrance
• Wheelchair-accessible parking spaces should be appropriately dispersed throughout complex
• Wheelchair-accessible parking spaces should be located if possible so that users are not required to pass behind parked vehicles other than their own
• If reasonably possible, avoid requiring users to pass through a vehicular path to reach the building entrance or public sidewalk/way
• R99 “[wheelchair] Parking Only” signs (Figure 4) should be posted at each wheelchair-accessible parking space
• “Minimum Fine $250” sign (Figure 2) should be posted at each wheelchair-accessible parking space3
• A sign with the words “van accessible” (Figure 9) should be posted at each wheelchair-accessible parking space which is van accessible— the words “van accessible” should not be combined with any other sign
• Properly completed4R100b “tow away” enforcement sign (Figure 1) should be appropriately posted
• The lowest sign on a post should not be lower 5than 80” above finished surface in any walking area
• Diagonal stripes in access aisle should contrast with pavement, as discussed above
• The words “NO PARKING” should be painted in 12” high letters in the access aisle (Figure 12)
• The word “handicap” or any form of it should not be used on any sign (CVC § 22511.9)
• A wheelstop is required; the edge a vehicle’s front wheel will touch should be 24” from the front end of the space
California ADA Lawsuits: It Can Start in Your Parking Lot
Several times each week, I get a phone call from a California business or property owner who has been hit with an ADA compliance lawsuit.
Most times they tell me it started when the complainant noticed the disabled parking signs in the parking lot of the business were either not up to code, or not even there. Sometimes the person who brought the lawsuit simply looked over the parking lot and did not even enter the business.In just the past few years, over 14,000 such lawsuits have been filed in California.
It’s a lottery that no business owner wants to win. There are attorneys and serial plaintiffs who file hundreds of accessibility related lawsuits
, usually, but not always, targeting smaller businesses. Why? They may well be betting on the targeted small business owner not having the time, money and legal team necessary to litigate. And they are banking on that business owner choosing instead to pay them several thousands of dollars to withdraw the suit.
Many people consider these so-called “shakedown lawsuits” to be the equivalent of legalized extortion. They say the lawyers and serial plaintiffs are motivated by greed, not by a sincere desire to improve access for people with disabilities. According to an investigative report published by News10, “California has 40 percent of the nation's ADA lawsuits
, but only 12 percent of the country's disabled population.”
On the state level, in May 2012 Senate Bill 1186
was passed. As reported in LegalNewsline.com:
Senate Bill 1186 would ban "demand for money" letters. In these letters, lawyers often order businesses to pay a set amount, plus their exorbitant legal fees, in exchange for dropping the case.
SB 1186 also would require attorneys to send a notice letter, listing any alleged construction-related violations, at least 30 days before filing a lawsuit.
In addition, the measure would require landlords to disclose whether their buildings or properties are state certified and in compliance with ADA laws.
But many people also believe that making our businesses and public properties accessible to all Americans is the right thing to do. And, given that the US Census reports over 19% of the civilian non-institutionalized population—54 million people—have disabilities,
ADA compliance makes good business sense.
Even Assemblywoman Beth Gaines, R-Rocklin, who introduced two measures to counter the tide of ADA lawsuits noted, about 98 percent of California businesses are out of compliance with state and/or federal disability access laws.
This, despite the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) having been the law of the land for over 20 years.What can you, as a business owner or property owner, do? How can you protect yourself from an ADA related lawsuit?The ideal protection from accessibility lawsuits is to make your business and property compliant with ADA laws.
This might mean hiring a Certified Access Specialist (CASp)
licensed by the State of California to perform a comprehensive survey of your property. It could also necessitate purchasing and installing the correct California disabled parking signs, Braille signs, any required ramps, as well as making restrooms wheelchair accessible. Not to mention documenting, documenting, documenting. Just in case you do wind up in court.
Like it or not, so-called “shakedown lawsuits” are a real feature of the California business landscape. Why count only on good luck to protect you from being hit with an ADA related lawsuit? Committing to making your business and property ADA compliant is an investment, as well as the law.
David Boyne is a principal at ADA Sign Depot in San DiegoLinks related to ADA Lawsuits and the CASp Program:http://www.dgs.ca.gov/dsa/Programs/programCert/casp.aspxhttp://www.legalnewsline.com/news/236315-calif.-bill-targeting-ada-lawsuits-passes-senatehttp://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/los_angeles&id=7655664http://www.callawyer.com/clstory.cfm?eid=919801http://www.adaabuse.com/http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/cb10-ff13.html
California Building Code, Appendix C
SECTION 1129B ACCESSIBLE PARKING REQUIRED
1129B.1 General. Each lot or parking structure where parking is provided for the public as clients, guests or employees, shall provide accessible parking as required by this section. Accessible parking spaces serving a particular building shall be located on the shortest accessible route of travel (complying with Section 1114B.1.2) from adjacent parking to an accessible entrance. In parking facilities that do not serve a particular building, accessible parking shall be located on the shortest accessible route of travel to an accessible pedestrian entrance of the parking facility. In buildings with multiple accessible entrances with adjacent parking, accessible parking spaces shall be dispersed and located closest to the accessible entrances. Table 11B-6 establishes the number of accessible parking spaces required. TABLE 11B-6 SPACES REQUIRED Establishes the number of accessible parking spaces required. C - 31
1129B.3 Parking space size. Accessible parking spaces shall be located as near as practical to a primary entrance and shall be sized as follows: 1. Dimensions. Where single spaces are provided, they shall be 14 feet (4267 mm) wide and lined to provide a 9-foot (2743 mm) parking area and a 5-foot (1524 mm) loading and unloading access aisle on the passenger side of the vehicle. When more than one space is provided in lieu of providing a 14-footwide (4267 mm) space for each parking space, two spaces can be provided within a 23-foot-wide (7010 mm) area lined to provide a 9-foot (2743 mm) parking area on each side of a 5-foot (1524 mm) loading and unloading access aisle in the center. The loading and unloading access aisle shall be marked by a border painted blue. Within the blue border, hatched lines a maximum of 36 inches (914 mm) on center shall be painted a color contrasting with the parking surface, preferably blue or white. See Figure 11B-18A. Parking access aisles shall be part of an accessible route of travel (complying with Section 1114B.1.2) to the building or facility entrance. Parked vehicle overhangs shall not reduce the clear width of an accessible route. The minimum length of each parking space shall be 18 feet (5486 mm). The words NO PARKING shall be painted on the ground within each five-foot (1524 mm) loading and unloading access aisle. This notice shall be painted in white letters no less than 12 inches (305 mm) high and located so that it is visible to traffic enforcement officials. See Figures 11B-18A, 11B-18B and 11B-18C. 2. Van space(s). One in every eight accessible spaces, but not less than one, shall be served by a loading and unloading access aisle 96 inches (2438 mm) wide minimum placed on the side opposite the driver’s side when the vehicle is going forward into the parking space and shall be designated van accessible as required by Section 1129B.4. All such spaces may be grouped on one level of a parking structure. The loading and unloading access aisle shall be marked by a border painted blue. Within the blue border, hatched lines a maximum of 36 inches (914 mm) on center shall be painted a color contrasting with the parking surface, preferably blue or white. The words NO PARKING shall be painted on the ground within each eight-foot (2438 mm) loading and unloading access aisle. This notice shall be painted in white letters no less than 12 inches (305 mm) high and located so that it is visible to traffic enforcement officials. See Figures 11B-18A, 11B-18B and 11B-18C. 3. Arrangement of parking space. In each parking area, a bumper or curb shall be provided and located to prevent encroachment of cars over the required width of walkways. Also, the space shall be so located that persons with disabilities are not compelled to wheel or walk behind parked cars other than their own. Pedestrian ways which are accessible to persons with disabilities shall be provided from each such parking space to related facilities, including curb cuts or ramps as needed. Ramps shall not encroach into any accessible parking space or the adjacent access aisle. The maximum cross slope in any direction of an accessible parking space and adjacent access aisle shall not exceed 2 percent.
1129B.4 Identification of parking spaces for off-street parking facilities. Each parking space reserved for persons with disabilities shall be identified by a reflectorized sign permanently posted immediately adjacent to and visible from each stall or space, consisting of the International Symbol of Accessibility in white on dark blue background. The sign shall not be smaller than 70 square inches (4516 mm2) in area and, when in a path of travel, shall be posted at a minimum height of 80 inches (2032 mm) from the bottom of the sign to the parking space finished grade. Signs may also be centered on the wall at the interior end of the parking space. An additional sign or additional language below the symbol of accessibility shall state “Minimum Fine $250”. Spaces complying with Section 1129B.3, Item 2 shall have an additional sign stating “Van-Accessible” mounted below the symbol of accessibility. Signs identifying accessible parking spaces shall be located so they cannot be obscured by a vehicle parked in the space. An additional sign shall also be posted in a conspicuous place at each entrance to off-street parking facilities, or immediately adjacent to and visible from each stall or space. The sign shall not be less than 17 inches by 22 inches (432 mm by 559 mm) in size with lettering not less than 1 inch (25 mm) in height, which clearly and conspicuously states the following: “Unauthorized vehicles parked in designated accessible spaces not displaying distinguishing placards or license plates issued for persons with disabilities may be towed away at owner’s expense. Towed vehicles may be reclaimed at____________________ or by telephoning ____________________. C - 34
Blank spaces are to be filled in with appropriate information as a permanent part of the sign. In addition to the above requirements, the surface of each accessible parking space or stall shall have a surface identification duplicating either of the following schemes: 1. By outlining or painting the stall or space in blue and outlining on the ground in the stall or space in white or suitable contrasting color a profile view depicting a wheelchair with occupant; or 2. By outlining a profile view of a wheelchair with occupant in white on blue background. The profile view shall be located so that it is visible to a traffic enforcement officer when a vehicle is properly parked in the space and shall be 36 inches high by 36 inches wide (914 mm by 914 mm). See Figures 11B-18A through 11B-18C.