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California Building Code Excerpt

Section 11B-502 Parking Spaces

Code excerpt regarding technical requirements for parking spaces: general, vehicle spaces, access aisle, floor or ground surfaces, vertical clearance, identification, relationship to accessible routes, and additional signs.

11B-502 Parking spaces

11B-502.1 General. Car and van parking spaces shall comply with Section 11B-502. Where parking spaces are marked with lines, width measurements of parking spaces and access aisles shall be made from the centerline of the markings.

Exception: Where parking spaces or access aisles are not adjacent to another parking space or access aisle, measurements shall be permitted to include the full width of the line defining the parking space or access aisle.

11B-502.2 Vehicle spaces. Car and van parking spaces shall be 216 inches (5486 mm) long minimum. Car parking spaces shall be 108 inches (2743 mm) wide minimum and van parking spaces shall be 144 inches (3658 mm) wide minimum, shall be marked to define the width, and shall have an adjacent access aisle complying with Section 11B-502.3.

Exception: Van parking spaces shall be permitted to be 108 inches (2743 mm) wide minimum where the access aisle is 96 inches (2438 mm) wide minimum.

Figure 11b-502.2(a) Perpendicular Vehicle Parking Spaces Figure 11b-502.2(b) Angled Vehicle Parking Spaces
Figure 11B-502.2 Vehicle Parking Spaces

11B-502.3 Access aisles. Access aisles serving parking spaces shall comply with Section 11B-502.3. Access aisles shall adjoin an accessible route. Two parking spaces shall be permitted to share a common access aisle.

Advisory 11B-502.3 Access aisle. Accessible routes must connect parking spaces to accessible entrances. In parking facilities where the accessible route must cross vehicular traffic lanes, marked crossings enhance pedestrian safety, particularly for people using wheelchairs and other mobility aids. Where possible, it is preferable that the accessible route not pass behind parked vehicles.

Figure 11B-502.3(a) Perpendicular Parking Space Access Aisle Figure 11B-502.3(b) Angled Parking Space Access Aisle
Figure 11B-502.3 Parking Space Access Aisle

11B-502.3.1 Width. Access aisles serving car and van parking spaces shall be 60 inches (1524 mm) wide minimum.

11B-502.3.2 Length. Access aisles shall extend the full required length of the parking spaces they serve.

11B-502.3.3 Marking. Access aisles shall be marked with a blue painted borderline around their perimeter. The area within the blue borderlines shall be marked with hatched lines a maximum of 36 inches (914 mm) on center in a color contrasting with that of the aisle surface, preferably blue or white. The words “NO PARKING” shall be painted on the surface within each access aisle in white letters a minimum of 12 inches (305 mm) in height and located to be visible from the adjacent vehicular way. Access aisle markings may extend beyond the minimum required length.

Advisory 11B-502.3.3 Marking. The requirement that the hatching at the loading and unloading access aisle be a suitable contrasting color to the parking space is intended to ensure that the hatching is visually distinct from the background to which it is applied, and thus can be more easily seen. As hatching is generally recognized as a no-parking area, this difference in contrast assists drivers by providing a conspicuous visual deterrent to parking in the loading and unloading access aisle.  Asphalt is often the parking surface material used at accessible parking spaces. Asphalt is generally considered to be fairly dark in appearance. In order to provide a suitable contrasting color at the hatched area of the loading and unloading access aisle, a light color hatching should be used at locations where asphalt is the parking surface material. Although white paint is preferred (and traditionally the color most often used), its use is not mandatory under the California Building Code (CBC).  In order to provide a suitable contrast at the hatched area of the loading and unloading access aisle in locations where light concrete is used as the parking surface material (such as at concrete parking garages), a dark color hatching should be used. Although blue paint is preferred, its use is not mandatory under the California Building Code (CBC).

Figure 11B-502.3.3(a) Perpendicular Parking Identification Figure 11B-502.3.3(b) Angled Parking Identification
Figure 11B-502.3.3 Angled and Perpendicular Parking Identification

11B-502.3.4 Location. Access aisles shall not overlap the vehicular way. Access aisles shall be permitted to be placed on either side of the parking space except for van parking spaces which shall have access aisles located on the passenger side of the parking spaces.

Advisory 11B-502.3.4 Location. Wheelchair lifts typically are installed on the passenger side of vans. Many drivers, especially those who operate vans, find it more difficult to back into parking spaces than to back out into comparatively unrestricted vehicular lanes. Where a van and car share an access aisle, the van space must be located with the access aisle on the passenger side of the van space.

11B-502.4 Floor or ground surfaces. Parking spaces and access aisles serving them shall comply with Section 11B-302. Access aisles shall be at the same level as the parking spaces they serve. Changes in level are not permitted.

Exception: Slopes not steeper than 1:48 shall be permitted.

Advisory 11B-502.4 Floor or ground surfaces. Access aisles are required to be nearly level in all directions to provide a surface for wheelchair transfer to and from vehicles. The exception allows sufficient slope for drainage. Built-up curb ramps are not permitted to project into access aisles and parking spaces because they would create slopes greater than 1:48.

Advisory 11B-502.4 Floor or ground surfaces. Accessible parking spaces and access aisles are required to be level (maximum 1:48 slope) in all directions to provide a surface for wheelchair transfer to and from vehicles. The access aisle needs to be adjacent to, and the same required length as the accessible space it serves. Where two parking stalls share the same access aisle, a full depth aisle is required; in diagonal parking, the geometric layout will require additional access aisle depth to satisfy the loading area for both of the adjacent parking stalls as indicated in Figure 11B-502.3.3.

11B-502.5 Vertical clearance. Parking spaces, access aisles and vehicular routes serving them shall provide a vertical clearance of 98 inches (2489 mm) minimum.

Advisory 11B-502.5 Vertical clearance. Signs provided at entrances to parking facilities informing drivers of clearances and the location of van accessible parking spaces can provide useful customer assistance.

11B-502.6 Identification. Parking space identification signs shall include the International Symbol of Accessibility complying with Section 11B-703.7.2.1 in white on a blue background. Signs identifying van parking spaces shall contain additional language or an additional sign with the designation &ldqou;van accessible”. Signs shall be 60 inches (1524 mm) minimum above the finish floor or ground surface measured to the bottom of the sign.

Exception: Signs located within a circulation path shall be a minimum of 80 inches (2032 mm) above the finish floor or ground surface measured to the bottom of the sign.

Advisory 11B-502.6 Identification. The required “van accessible” designation is intended to be informative, not restrictive, in identifying those spaces that are better suited for van use. Enforcement of motor vehicle laws, including parking privileges, is a local matter.

Advisory 11B-502.6 Identification. This section requires that an additional “van accessible” sign or additional language be posted below the International Symbol of Accessibility when designating an accessible parking space that will accommodate a van. A single parking sign incorporating both the International Symbol of Accessibility and the language “van accessible” may be used.

11B-502.6.1 Finish and size. Parking identification signs shall be reflectorized with a minimum area of 70 square inches (45161 mm²).

11B-502.6.2 Minimum fine. Additional language or an additional sign below the International Symbol of Accessibility shall state “Minimum Fine $250”.

11B-502.6.3 Location. A parking space identification sign shall be visible from each parking space. Signs shall be permanently posted either immediately adjacent to the parking space or within the projected parking space width at the head end of the parking space. Signs may also be permanently posted on a wall at the interior end of the parking space.

11B-502.6.4 Marking. Each accessible car and van space shall have surface identification complying with either Section 11B-502.6.4.1 or 11B-502.6.4.2.

11B-502.6.4.1 The parking space shall be marked with an International Symbol of Accessibility complying with Section 11B-703.7.2.1 in white on a blue background a minimum 36 inches wide by 36 inches high (914 mm × 914 mm). The centerline of the International Symbol of Accessibility shall be a maximum of 6 inches (152 mm) from the centerline of the parking space, its sides parallel to the length of the parking space and its lower corner at, or lower side aligned with, the end of the parking space length.

11B-502.6.4.2 The parking space shall be outlined in blue or painted blue and shall be marked with an International Symbol of Accessibility complying with Section 11B-703.7.2.1 a minimum 36 inches wide by 36 inches high (914 mm × 914 mm) in white or a suitable contrasting color. The centerline of the International Symbol of Accessibility shall be a maximum of 6 inches (152 mm) from the centerline of the parking space, its sides parallel to the length of the parking space and its lower corner at, or lower side aligned with, the end of the parking space length.

The two options for markings are subtly different. Option 1 is to provide a 36″ square ISA “block” with the symbol in white against a square blue background that is aligned with the bottom center of the parking space; no other markings are required, including outlines or color fills. Option 2 is to provide a blue outline (stripe) or color fill (across entire extent of parking space) with a white or “suitably contrasting” ISA (only the symbol though an outline is acceptable) that is aligned with the bottom center of the parking space.

11B-502.7 Relationship to accessible routes. Parking spaces and access aisles shall be designed so that cars and vans, when parked, cannot obstruct the required clear width of adjacent accessible routes.

Advisory 11B-502.7 Relationship to accessible routes. Wheel stops are an effective way to prevent vehicle overhangs from reducing the clear width of accessible routes.

11B-502.7.1 Arrangement. Parking spaces and access aisles shall be designed so that persons using them are not required to travel behind parking spaces other than to pass behind the parking space in which they parked.

Advisory 11B-502.7.1 Arrangement. Accessible parking spaces located so that the accessible route passes behind parked vehicles create a safety hazard, especially for wheelchair users. Wheelchair users traveling behind parked vehicles may be obscured from the view of drivers backing out of parking spaces, especially when passing behind high-profile vehicles. This section requires that persons with disabilities not be required to travel behind parking spaces other than the one in which they have parked.

11B-502.7.2 Wheel stops. A curb or wheel stop shall be provided if required to prevent encroachment of vehicles over the required clear width of adjacent accessible routes.

11B-502.8 Additional signs. An additional sign shall be posted either; 1) in a conspicuous place at each entrance to an off-street parking facility or 2) immediately adjacent to on-site accessible parking and visible from each parking space.

11B-502.8.1 Size. The additional sign shall not be less than 17 inches (432 mm) wide by 22 inches (559 mm) high.

11B-502.8.2 Lettering. The additional sign shall clearly state in letters with a minimum height of 1 inch (25 mm) the following:

“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 _______________________.”

Blank spaces shall be filled in with appropriate information as a permanent part of the sign.

Design drawings should include the appropriate information to fill in the blank spaces of the additional sign required by Section 11B-502.8. Local ordinances or codes (e.g., LADBS Information Bulletin P/BC 2020-084) may require the appropriate information to be provided in the design drawings subject to their jurisdiction. See below for reference excerpts from LADBS Information Bulletin P/BC 2020-084 and Caltrans 2018 Standard Plan A90A, respectively.

Excerpt from LADBS P/BC 2020-084 Accessible Parking Sign Installed at Each Space R100B (CA) Sign Excerpt from 2018 Caltrans Standard Plan A90A
Regulatory Examples of “Additional Signs” Complying with Section 11B-502.8

Note the differences in overall (proportional) sizes. The baseline regulations establish content (wording) and minimum size, but they do not specify a maximum size or mandate a particular pattern of word flow or line breaks. Nor do the baseline regulations prohibit the inclusion of the “additional sign” content in other signs (such as general parking enforcement signs), or the inclusion of other information on the “additional sign” itself.

For example, as a matter of legal authorization to tow offending vehicles, it has been suggested to include reference to the appropriate California Vehicle Code (i.e., “C.V.C. §22511.8” or similar) at the bottom of the “additional sign” or as an additional sign with similar formatting that is placed immediately below it. This is not required by statute, but neither is it prohibited.

Also note that the CBC requirement merely require the blank spaces to be “filled in with appropriate information” whereas the actual text of CVC §22511.8 requires the telephone number to be that of the “local law enforcement agency.” Contrast this with the LADBS requirement that the information correspond to the “towing company’s name* and telephone nos.*” (the asterisks are referenced to the sign graphic). This distinction may be irrelevant for Title II entities (based on other statutory authority), but for Title III entities it is recommended (and for Title II entities it is suggested) that telephone numbers for both the local law enforcement agency and the towing company or agency (if separate) be provided.

For completeness of reference, the collection of accessible parking signs defined by the 2014 California edition (Revision 2) of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) are shown below. These signs can be specified by number (e.g., “R100B (CA)”).

Accessible Parking Signs excerpted from 2014 CA MUTCD (Revision 2 Sign Charts)