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Photo of accessible on-street parking spaceIn an earlier post, we discussed accessibility requirements for off-street parking. Now, this post will address the provision of accessible on-street parking. While the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board (MAAB) and the 1991 and 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design (1991/2010 ADA Standards) have very specific regulations regarding off-street accessible parking, these regulations do not extend their jurisdiction to on-street accessible parking spaces.

Does accessible on-street parking have to be provided?
Yes. Since we cannot look to the MAAB or the 1991/2010 ADA Standards for the technical requirements, we must look to the overarching obligations of a Title II entity (State or Local Government) covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Title II of the ADA requires that covered entities must ensure that their programs and services are accessible to, and usable by, persons with disabilities. On-street parking is a service offered to everyone; therefore it must be ensured that there is accessible on-street parking provided as well. Currently, a minimum of 5% of the on-street parking should be accessible.

What does accessible on-street parking look like?
Currently, accessible on-street parking spaces don’t look much different than your standard on-street parking spaces. The difference is subtle; however, the placement of accessible on-street parking spaces is crucial. First, signage must be provided at the head of the parking space to reserve it for people using HP plates or Placards; much like you would find in a parking lot. Second, if there is a sidewalk adjacent to the location of the accessible on-street parking space, it should be located close to a curb cut so someone exiting on the driver’s side of the vehicle can travel the shortest distance to get onto the sidewalk. Third, if there is a sidewalk adjacent to the space, there should be enough space for a lift to lower onto the sidewalk without hitting an obstruction, like a tree, waste barrel, sign or other piece of street furniture. That’s it. Simple right?

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the Public Rights of Way Accessibility Guidelines (PROWAG) that are currently being considered for adoption by the Department of Justice. These regulations (currently unenforceable but regarded as a best practice), provide standards for how streetscapes will look when renovated and incorporate a lot of great accessible design features including accessible on-street parking. PROWAG, with some exceptions, would require a set number of accessible on-street parking spaces based on the number of on-street parking spaces provided in a block radius—roughly 5%. It also discusses the look, location and design of said spaces.

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Assistant Director, Community Services Program

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