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California Building Code Excerpt

Section 11B-503 Passenger Drop-Off and Loading Zones

Code excerpt regarding technical requirements for passenger drop-off and loading zones: general, vehicle pull-up space, access aisle, floor and ground surfaces, and vertical clearance.

11B-503 Passenger drop-off and loading zones

11B-503.1 General. Passenger drop-off and loading zones shall comply with Section 11B-503.

11B-503.2 Vehicle pull-up space. Passenger drop-off and loading zones shall provide a vehicular pull-up space 96 inches (2438 mm) wide minimum and 20 feet (6096 mm) long minimum.

11B-503.3 Access aisle. Passenger drop-off and loading zones shall provide access aisles complying with Section 11B-503 adjacent and parallel to the vehicle pull-up space. Access aisles shall adjoin an accessible route and shall not overlap the vehicular way.

Access aisles cannot overlap the vehicular way, so there must be some physical means of preventing vehicles from driving across the access aisle from the end where vehicles approach the passenger drop-off and loading zone. (No physical obstructions are allowed between the vehicle pull-up space and the access aisle.) This could be a curb, either as an inlet as shown in Figure 11B-503.3 or as a projecting curb that forces vehicles to change lanes to align with the vehicle pull-up space. Other options include permanently installed bollards or planters. In contrast, painted stripes or easily moved/taken obstructions such as traffic cones are not acceptable means separating the access aisle from the vehicular way.

11B-503.3.1 Width. Access aisles serving vehicle pull-up spaces shall be 60 inches (1524 mm) wide minimum.

11B-503.3.2 Length. Access aisles shall extend the full required length of the vehicle pull-up spaces they serve.

11B-503.3.3 Marking. Access aisles shall be marked with a painted borderline around their perimeter. The area within the 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.

Figure 11B-503.3 Passenger Drop-Off and Loading Zone Access Aisle
Figure 11B-503.3 Passenger Drop-Off and Loading Zone Access Aisle

No signage is required by the CBC, but local vehicle regulations or project standards may require signs of a particular content and style. Note that the use of an International Symbol of Accessibility (ISA) on signs or surface markings is discouraged because it implies that the accessible pasenger drop-off and loading zone is reserved for disabled drivers or disabled passengers in the same way the ISA is used at accessible parking spaces. However, the actual intent of providing accessible passenger drop-off and loading zones is more like providing accessible water closet compartments in toilet rooms: the size and feature set is designed to assist persons with disabilities, but anyone is allowed to use the facility. Accessible passenger drop-off and loading zones are not reserved or restricted-access elements.

11B-503.4 Floor and ground surfaces. Vehicle pull-up spaces and access aisles serving them shall comply with Section 11B-302. Access aisles shall be at the same level as the vehicle pull-up space they serve. Changes in level are not permitted.

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

11B-503.5 Vertical clearance. Vehicle pull-up spaces, access aisles serving them, and a vehicular route from an entrance to the passenger drop-off and loading zone and from the passenger drop-off and loading zone to a vehicular exit shall provide a vertical clearance of 114 inches (2896 mm) minimum.

Advisory 11B-503.5 Vertical clearance. The minimum vertical clearance at designated passenger drop-off and loading zones, and along at least one vehicle access route to the area from site entrances and exits, is 114 inches. This differs from the 98 inch vertical clearance requirement for accessible parking spaces. Commercial vans used for accessible transit may be taller than passenger vans.