Parking Courtesy in Areas for Drivers with Disabilities

Press Release from the United Spinal Association, Release: Monday, June 18, 2007

Photo of a car illegally parked in van accessible aisle
Example of a disabled access minivan with a passenger-side access ramp access that is blocked by a sedan parked illegally in the required access aisle.
Photo credit: United Spinal Association.

If you have wondered about the purpose of those blue diagonal-lined areas adjacent to, or between, accessible parking spaces for drivers with disabilities, they are there for a number of important reasons. The United Spinal Association, a national membership organization for individuals of all ages with spinal cord injuries or disorders, urges summer vacation travelers to steer clear of these "access aisles" because parking unlawfully in them can compromise safe use of accessible parking spaces.

Since enactment of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, accessible parking spaces must have access aisles, and two accessible parking spaces can share a common access aisle. In many cases, the access aisle is 60 inches wide minimum—not nearly enough space to squeeze in an additional vehicle. However, the Americans with Disabilities Act added a provision that one in every eight accessible spaces, but not less than one, must be served by an access aisle that is 96 inches wide minimum, so that drivers with disabilities using vans or minivans equipped with side-loading lifts or ramps would have enough space to exit/enter their vehicle safely. These 96-inch wide access aisles have become more the norm since 1990. Although parking in a 96-inch wide access aisle is illegal, it is used all too often as just another parking space.

In addition, a blocked access aisle of any size can make it unsafe for a wheelchair user, a scooter user, or anyone with impaired mobility to transfer to and from their vehicle. The parking access aisle is also part of the disabled driver's accessible "path of travel" to the building or facility served by the parking area; block the access aisle illegally with your vehicle, and you prevent the driver with a disability from living their life to the fullest.

Photo of disabled person exiting his van using a wheelchair ramp in accessible aisle
Jerome Kleckley of New City, New York, exits his van easily to an access aisle. Kleckley reports numerous occasions when he has returned to his van to find access to it blocked by an unlawfully parked vehicle.
Photo credit: United Spinal Association.

Want to help, or to become an advocate for drivers with disabilities? Download the PDF from https://unitedspinal.org/pdf/parkingpad.pdf to print out a flyer(s) which can be placed under the windshield wiper of access aisle blockers as a simple reminder of why accessible parking spaces and adjoining access aisles are the law of the land.

United Spinal Association Tel 718 803 3782 exts. 283 & 282
National Headquarters Fax 718 803 0414
75-20 Astoria Boulevard email hidden; JavaScript is required
Jackson Heights, NY 11370-1177  

Accessibility Literature

  • Accessibility Blogs Roundup maintained by Digital A11Y.
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  • U.S. Access Board Information and Communication Technology Revised 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines  New
  • Bibliography—literature in relation to Design for All (299 K .pdf) edited by Greta Olsson & Thomas Lyhne. This Bibliography is a part of CEN/CENELEC Guide 6 "Guidelines for standards developers to address the needs of older persons and persons with disabilities". The Guide addresses relevant aspects relating to the needs of older persons and persons with disabilities to be considered when drafting standards. Both documents are part of the Mandate 283 on the safety and usability of products by persons with special needs given by the Commission of the European Communities.
  • Books of the Boston University Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation
  • Disability Etiquette (.pdf). The United Spinal Association offers a free publication about etiquette. You don't have to feel awkward when interacting with, or when you meet, a person who has a disability. This booklet provides some basic tips for you to follow. And if you are ever unsure about what to do or say with a person who has a disability, just ask!
  • Disability Graphics
    • Downloadable Disability Access Symbols provided by the Graphic Artists Guild
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      Browse 30,148 disability stock illustrations and vector graphics available royalty-free, or search for special needs children or disability icon. From iStock by Getty Images.
  • Guide to Accessible Web Design & Development of Section508.gov
  • Health and Disability in North Carolina 2003: a joint report from the Office on Disability and Health and the State Center for Health Statistics (.pdf) collection of publications about removing barriers from health, meeting, and recreation facilities from the North Carolina Office on Disability and Health (NCODH)
  • New Harbinger Publications specializes in psychology and self-help books for medical conditions
  • H-Disability Discussion Network from H-Net: Humanities & Social Sciences Online
  • WaSP Interact Curriculum WaSP InterAct is a living, open curriculum based upon web standards and best practices, designed to teach students the skills of the web professional. Adapt and reuse our resources. Contribute your own content and ideas.
  • Literature relating to women and technology:
    • Women With Disabilities: Essays in Psychology, Culture, and Politics. Introduction: Beyond Pedestals. Ed: Michelle Fine and Adrienne Asch. Temple University Press. Philadelphia. 1988. ISBN 0-87722-474-9.
    • "On the Margin of the Myth: Exploring the Landscape of Disabled Women's Lives." May 1997 Mainstream Magazine.
    • Saxton, Marsha, and Florence Howe, editors. "With wings: An anthology of
      literature by and about women with disabilities". NY: Feminist Press, 1987.
    • Schultz, Kara. "Every Implanted Child a Star (and Some Other Failures): Guilt and Shame in the Cochlear Implant Debates." Quarterly Journal of Speech 86.3(2000): 251-75.
    • Women's Health (.pdf). The United Spinal Association has a publication about health for women. For many women with spinal cord injuries or disorders (SCI/D) knowledgeable physicians and the right facilities are often hard to find. Use this checklist, not only for your own personal information, but also for educating your primary health care provider on what he or she needs to know about the unique needs and concerns of women with SCI/D.
  • Substance Abuse Library and Information Studies (SALIS Journal) SALIS (Substance Abuse Librarians & Information Specialists) is an international association of individuals and organizations with special interests in the exchange and dissemination of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) information.
  • Parking Etiquette and Rules
    • ADA Handicapped Parking Rules—Access Signs Regulations access sign regulations, parking space size, location how many parking spaces are required. Updated PDF version (.pdf)
    • Parking Etiquette Notices for Windshields (.pdf). The United Spinal Association offers a free publication about disabled parking etiquette. Have you ever discovered someone illegally parked in a handicapped zone and wished you could say or do something? Now you can! Take action with our handy "Just a Minute…" is 60 Seconds too long parking pad. Simply slip one of these informative reminders under the offender's windshield wiper and you've made your point.
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  • The Taxicab Driver Customer Service Pocket Guide is a reference tool developed by Easterseals' Project ACTION with assistance from the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA) [renamed the Transportation Alliance in 2019] to provide important tips and guidelines for taxicab drivers on communicating with and providing transportation service to customers with disabilities. The laminated brochure outlines the responsibilities of taxicab drivers and the rights of passengers with disabilities. It reviews general guidelines on serving customers with disabilities and provides drivers with specific tips on serving customers who are hard of hearing, who use wheelchairs, who use service animals, and who have visual disabilities. [Download a PDF or RTF of the Taxi Operator's Pocket Guide from the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC)]
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (.pdf). The United Spinal Association offers a free publication about the ADA. Many regard the ADA as the most sweeping piece of civil rights legislation since the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Others believe that because of the many structural and communication barriers the ADA will remove, it is the farthest-reaching civil rights law ever enacted.
  • The Fair Housing Amendment Act (.pdf). The United Spinal Association offers a free publication about the FHA Act. This law is intended to increase housing opportunities for people with disabilities. However, individual citizens must come forward with concerns, file complaints or sue if they believe their rights have been violated. The government has no other way of detecting discrimination as it occurs. As a result, it is important to understand this legislation and how to make it work for you.