Accessible Parking Regulations For California Projects

ADA Accessible Parking Regulations  For the CSE for Landscape Architects

Accessible parking and complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is an important topic on the CSE. These guidelines were taken from the California state architect’s checklists for accessible parking.

  • Indicate location and layout of all accessible parking on site plan and connect dashed accessible route of travel to the access aisle.
  • Provide separate parking ratio for each parking lot on this site. Indicate name of lot, total number of stalls, van accessible stalls, and regular accessible stalls.
  • Indicate 5’ min wide access aisles adjacent to each accessible parking stall and 8’ min wide access aisles on the passenger side of all van accessible parking stalls.
  • Provide enlarged plan in 1/4” scale representing the actual layout, including associated sidewalks, curb ramps, curb cuts, and location of water drains, for all accessible parking under this contract.
  • One (1) of every eight (8) accessible spaces, but not less than one, is required to be van accessible.
  • Where parking lots serve accessible entrances of several buildings or different areas on site, accessible parking spaces must be dispersed and located closest to the accessible route of travel.

    ADA Accessible Parking Diagram with Center Access Isle

Requirements for Accessible Parking Stalls and Isles

ADA Accessible Parking Center Access Isle on an angle

Provide and indicate the following dimensions and elements on plans with accessible parking stalls and access aisles:

  • 8’ wide access aisles on the passenger side of each van accessible parking stall.
  • 5’ wide access aisles on the passenger side of each accessible parking stall. Two adjacent accessible parking stalls may share a common access aisle.
  • 18’ long parking stalls and access aisles.
  • Loading and unloading access aisles marked by a border 
painted blue. Within the blue border, hatched lines at 36 inches max on center painted a color contrasting with the parking surface, preferably blue or white.
  • 2% max slope in any direction at parking spaces and access aisles.
  • A 36” wide and 36” high International Symbol of Accessibility on pavement at rear of stall.
  • Provide the words “NO PARKING” in each access aisle, painted in 12” minimum high white letters.
  • Provide minimum vertical clearance of 98” at accessible parking spaces and along at least one vehicle access route to such spaces from site entrances and exits.
  • Curb ramps with slopes greater than 2% cannot be located within the parking space or adjacent access aisle. Provide parallel or perpendicular curb ramp instead of built-up curb ramp or redesign parking layout
  • The access aisle must either be level with the adjacent accessible route or have a curb ramp. Provide spot elevations.
  • Curb ramp opening must be located within the access aisle boundaries, not within the parking space boundaries.
  • Top landing at curb ramp must be level and 48” deep min.
  • Transitions from ramps to walks, gutters, or streets shall 
be flush and free of abrupt changes. (No 1/2” lip.)

Signage Requirements for Accessible Parking

Post or wall mounted accessible parking stall signs located at the interior end of the
accessible stall. Signs shall be located so they cannot be obscured by a vehicle parked in the space.

Signs must be reflectorized, 70 square inch min, with a white ISA on blue background.

An additional sign or additional language below the ISA must state, “Minimum Fine $250”. Van accessible spaces must have an additional sign or additional language below the ISA stating “Van Accessible”.

In addition to signage that identifies accessible parking spots, tow-away signage is required. Tow-away signs will be posted in a conspicuous place at each entrance to an off–street parking lot, or immediately adjacent to and visible from each designated stall. Sign must be 17” x 22” min, with letters 1” high min and must state “Sign must state: “Unauthorized vehicles parked in designated accessible spaces not displaying distinguishing placards or special license plates issued for persons with disabilities will be towed away at the owner’s expense. Towed vehicles may be reclaimed at _________ or by telephoning _________.”

ADA - Ramp for Accessible Parking


Accessible Parking Space Requirements

Total Parking Lot SpacesRequired AccessibleIncluding Van Accessible
1-25 spaces1 space1 space
26-50 spaces2 spaces1 space
51-75 spaces3 spaces1 space
76-100 spaces4 spaces1 space
101-150 spaces5 spaces1 space
151-200 spaces6 spaces1 space
201-300 spaces7 spaces1 space
301-400 spaces8 spaces1 space
401-500 spaces9 spaces2 spaces
501-1,000 spaces2% of total1 out of every 8 spaces
1,001 and over20 plus for for each additional 100 or fraction thereof1 out of every 8 spaces

Passenger Loading Zones

  • Indicate type, location, and layout of all passenger drop-off and loading zones on site plan. Where provided, one passenger drop-off and loading zone must be made accessible. Connect dashed accessible route of travel to area.
  • Provide enlarged plan in 1/4” scale representing the actual layout, including associated sidewalks and curb ramps, for all accessible passenger loading zones. Provide and indicate:
  • 5’ x 20’ access aisle adjacent and parallel to the vehicle pull–up space.
  • Level access aisle and vehicle pull–up space (2% max in any direction).
  • Indicate a curb ramp if there is a curb between the access aisle and the vehicle pull–up space, or if there is a curb between the access aisle and the accessible route.
  • Identifying signage with the ISA and stating “Passenger Loading Zone Only”, in white on a dark blue background.
  • Detectable warning surface at blended transitions and curb ramps.

On-Street Parking

Additional information for on-street parking, see also Caltrans Standard Plans A90A and A90B.

 Final Thoughts

Passing the California Supplemental Exam is doable. With a little studying, you can ace the CSE and become license in California. If you want to keep up to date on the CSE for landscape architects, sign up for the CSE Landscape Architect mailing list to get periodic updates on the exam.

Good luck preparing for the CSE. You can do it.


John is a landscape architect who is currently preparing to take the California Supplemental Exam to become licensed in California. He is currently a licensed professional landscape architect in Georgia and Florida. John graduated from California State University, Pomona with a BSLA degree in landscape architecture in 1997 and has extensive practice experience in residential and commercial landscape design.

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