How To Find Disability Parking Spots In Your Local Area

Wondering how to find disability parking spots in your local area? We get you. There are few things more frustrating than driving around in circles, hoping to find a disabled parking spot on a busy day. Luckily, modern technology has come to the rescue and made finding your nearest disabled parking spot easy.

So, what are the best ways to find disabled parking in your locality? What are the best USA disability parking maps? How do you know if a spot is a disabled parking spot? And how can you request a residential disabled parking spot outside your home? Read on to find out.

What Laws Deal With Disabled Parking Space Locations?

The location and number of disabled parking spaces that must exist in any jurisdiction in the US is stipulated in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA is a federal law that all US states must adhere to.

How To Find Disability Parking Spots In Your Local Area

So, what are the best ways to find disabled parking in your locality? The most effective way to find disabled spots in any locality is to use a disabled parking space map. The best USA disability parking maps are digital, meaning they’re easy to access on your smartphone and are constantly updated.

disability parking spot signpost
Image by Nicolas Torres on Unsplash: How do you find disability parking spots in your local area?

Best Apps For Finding Disability Parking Spaces

Blue Badge Parking

Blue Badge Parking is an app that allows its user to pinpoint their nearest disabled parking spaces, wherever they may be in the world. The app gives its user detailed directions to any disabled space they choose.

Blue Badge Parking is available at the App Store and Google Play.

Google Maps

Google Maps is a great source of information for disabled drivers. Users can update information about any location – for example, a disabled parking space. This information can then be seen by other users.

To update Google Maps, tap the “Your Contributions” tab and go to “Uncover Missing Info”. Here you can add the location of disabled spaces that will help you and other disabled drivers to find them when they need to.


WheelMate allows users to find the nearest wheelchair-friendly parking spaces and also disabled restrooms in their vicinity.

WheelMate works in 45 countries and is updated by its users, so its database of disabled spaces and restrooms is growing all the time. The app currently has over 35,000 locations.

Parking Mobility

You can make finding a disabled space easier for yourself and your fellow disabled permit holders by flagging up illegal disabled parking space usage. This helps to keep spaces free for people who really need them. An excellent app for this is Parking Mobility.

This free app allows users to photograph vehicles that are parked illegally in disabled spaces. The offending drivers are then contacted by authorities and given the chance to complete the Parking Education course instead of paying a fine.

How Do You Know If A Spot Is For Disabled Parking?

Under the ADA, all disabled parking spots in the US must be clearly marked with a signpost containing the International Symbol of Access. These parking spaces are reserved for people who are in current possession of an official disabled parking permit in their name.

Can I Request Disability Parking Locations Near Me?

You can request that a residential disabled parking space be installed near your home. You can also request that a business you work for has a disabled parking space, or extra disabled parking spaces if necessary, installed near the business. However, you cannot reserve these disabled parking spaces for yourself. Any disabled parking permit holder is entitled to park in any designated disabled parking space.

How To Apply For A Residential Parking Space

How you apply for a residential space will depend on where you live. Some places have an official Residential Disabled Parking program, while others don’t.

You can request that a residential space be installed either by applying to your jurisdiction’s Residential Disabled Parking program or, in jurisdictions that don’t have an official program, applying to your local council. Residential disabled parking spaces will be installed as near to your home as possible. They will be available for use by any person who holds a disabled parking permit.

disabled parking signs on ground
Image by gregroose on Pixabay: How do you know if a spot is for disabled parking?

Where Can You Park With A Disabled Parking Permit?

A disabled parking permit entitles its holder to park in any designated disabled parking space. In most jurisdictions, disabled permit holders are also entitled to park in metered, on-street, restricted parking spaces for free and for either unlimited or extended periods of time.

Permit holders are not entitled to park in places that are signposted “No Parking”. Permit holders are also not entitled to park in spaces reserved for commercial loading or emergency service vehicles.

How To Apply For A Disabled Parking Permit

To apply for a disabled parking permit, you must first have a telemedicine consultation with a medical professional. This can be arranged through the Dr. Handicap online clinic. Once your suitability for disabled parking has been certified, the medical professional will sign a DMV application and email it to you. You will then complete the application and submit it, either online or by mail, to your local disabled parking authorities.

Where Can You Use Your Disabled Parking Permit?

A disabled parking permit issued by any state is valid in the following places:

  • All US states
  • All US overseas territories
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • EU
  • UK
  • Japan
  • Australia
  • New Zealand

Featured image by Jakub Pabis on Unsplash

Is There Anywhere I Can’t Park With My Disabled Parking Permit?

Can you park anywhere with a disability placard? This is a question that gets asked a lot – especially by people who are relatively new to disabled parking, or who are about to apply for their very first disabled permit.

Today we will explore how disabled parking rules and regulations can vary state by state, and find out exactly where a disabled parking permit entitles its holder to park.

Is Disabled Parking A Federal Law?

Yes, disabled parking is a federal law. The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) specifies the main details that all states must adhere to in their disabled parking programs.

Disabled Parking Rules Vary By State

While all states’ disabled parking programs adhere to ADA rules, all states, and even jurisdictions within states, have their own disabled parking programs. Often, these different programs vary in their fine details. For this reason, it’s crucial that you research and understand the specific disabled parking rules in your area and in any area you intend to visit.

double lines parking space
Image by aitoff on Pixabay: Is there anywhere I can’t park with my disabled parking permit?

Is There Anywhere I Can’t Park With My Disabled Parking Permit?

So, can people with a disabled parking permit park anywhere? The short answer to this question is… no, they can’t. People who hold a disabled parking permit still need to adhere to local parking laws.

Disabled parking permits do not entitle their holder to disobey state or local parking laws – nor do they necessarily exempt their holder from paying parking fees.

It’s illegal for disabled permit-holders to park in the following places:

  • In a zone where the law or ordinance prohibits stopping, parking, or standing of all vehicles.
  • In a zone the law or ordinance reserves for special types of vehicles, such as vehicles involved in commercial loading or passenger loading.
  • In a zone the law or ordinance reserves for the parking of a vehicle that is involved in the operation of a street vending business.
  • In the loading and unloading area of a disabled space (these areas are marked by blue crosshatch striping).

Some states, such as California, operate a color-coded curb system. In California, disabled permit holders may not park:

  • In spaces marked with a crosshatched pattern next to a parking space with the International Symbol of Access (wheelchair symbol). These spaces are for wheelchair and wheelchair lift access.
  • Next to red curbs, which indicate no stopping, standing, or parking.
  • Next to yellow curbs, which are for commercial vehicles to load and unload passengers or freight.
  • Next to white curbs, which are for loading and unloading passengers or depositing mail in an adjacent mailbox.

Where Can You Park With A Disability Placard?

In all US states and jurisdictions, a disability placard holder can park for free and for an unlimited time in any designated disabled parking space. These spaces are signposted with the International Symbol of Access. In several jurisdictions, permit holders are also entitled to park in metered, on-street spaces for free for varying amounts of time.

Can You Park Free At A Meter With A Disability Placard?

Texas and Washington State are typical of most states in allowing disabled permit holders to park for free and for an unlimited time in metered, time-restricted on-street spaces. In several states, such as Virginia, permit holders can park for up to four hours in metered or time-restricted spaces without paying a fee.

Some states, such as Illinois, have different placards for people who are meter-exempt and people who are disabled but are not meter-exempt. In New York City, you can park for free at most curbsides on city streets if you have an NYC Parking Permit for People with Disabilities (PPPD). These permits are available to residents and visitors to New York City who are permanently disabled.

on street parking
Image by Yu on Unsplash: Can you park free at a meter with a disability placard?

Residential Disabled Parking Spaces

In all states, you can request a disabled parking space be installed near your home.

In some states, such as Pennsylvania, each local municipality is responsible for installing requested residential disabled spaces in front of homes.

In other jurisdictions, for example, the Chicago metropolitan area, there is an official program for applying for residential disabled spaces.

Check The Disabled Parking Rules In Your Jurisdiction

As you can see, disabled parking rules can be quite different in different jurisdictions. It’s important to always be sure you know the rules in your jurisdiction and in any jurisdiction you will be visiting.

How To Get A Disabled Parking Permit

You can get a disabled parking permit by visiting the Dr. Handicap online clinic. There, you’ll have a telemedicine consultation with a medical professional who will verify your suitability for disabled parking and complete a DMV application for your state.

Featured image by Erik Mclean on Pexels

Do Handicap Spots Have To Have Blue Lines?

Accessible parking is vital to many people, especially those with a disability that impacts mobility. If you’re new to the world of accessible parking, then you may have a lot of questions. “Do handicap spots have to have blue lines?” is just one of the many things that are important to know for those who utilize disabled parking. There are many things to understand about the different visual designation requirements for disabled parking spaces.

If you’re wondering how to know if a spot is a handicap parking spot, then keep reading. That and many other questions will be answered here!

The ADA and You

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), in conjunction with state laws, requires public agencies and private businesses to provide accessible parking. The number of spaces in each lot, as well as how they are marked, is dictated by the ADA, which is why signage is universal. Even older lots built before the law took effect to have to meet these requirements if lot is upgraded or a new one is built.

The location of disabled parking spots is also specified by law. They must be in a location that allows the most accessible and shortest route to a building. They also have to be a minimum of eight feet wide and have an aisle adjacent that is five feet wide; spots accessible for handicap vans must be 11 feet wide. A path to the building must also be provided.

disabled parking symbols and signage
Image by Robert Ruggiero on Unsplash: What do blue lines in a parking lot mean? It means you shouldn’t park there!

Do Handicap Signs Have To Be Blue?

Under the ADA, every disabled parking space has to be properly designated with signage. These signs must have the “Universal Symbol of Accessibility” on them – the standard image that comes to mind when you think about disabled parking spaces of a person in a wheelchair: a blue sign with white letters and symbols.

These signs must be blue – it’s the universal color so that they are recognizable no matter where you are in the United States. Aside from color, they also must be at least five feet off the ground so they can be seen even when a car is parked in the space. Spaces for accessible vans must say “van accessible” on the sign.

What Are The Yellow Lines Next To Handicapped Parking?

You may also have noticed yellow or blue lines next to disabled parking spots. What are those? The explanation is fairly straightforward: these are stripes that denote no one should park there because the extra space is needed in order for wheelchair users to deploy a ramp to get out of their van, or to have easier access in and out of their vehicle when transferring to and from their wheelchair.

Remember, if you see yellow or blue stripes in parking lots, those are for the use of disabled persons who may need the extra space to get in and out of their vehicles. They are not parking spots, and they are not areas where you can leave shopping carts or otherwise block in any fashion.

What If There’s No Handicap Parking Sign?

You may come across parking spaces that have handicap symbols printed on the ground but no other signage denoting that it is a handicap parking spot. This is against the ADA rules, as every parking space for disabled persons is supposed to be marked by a sign. There are no regulations for symbols on the pavement.

There are exceptions to signage laws under the ADA for parking lots that have four or fewer parking spaces. Residential lots with assigned parking spots also do not need to have signage denoting spaces as handicap parking spaces.

disabled parking universal access symbol
Image by AbsolutVision on Unsplash: How do you know if a spot is handicap parking? This Universal Symbol is the key!

The Americans with Disabilities Act is enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice. Violations of the ADA rules when it comes to parking spots against both businesses and individuals who don’t comply with parking requirements can be severe. There are civil penalties for non-compliance up to $150,000 – and that’s just for a first violation. The best rule of thumb if you own or operate a business or other public facility under the purview of the ADA is to understand the laws and follow them to the letter.

Disabled parking is very important to those who need it, and luckily, it’s pretty easy to spot the signs that let those with disabilities know where they can park for the best access.

Featured image by Robert Ruggiero on Unsplash

5 Handicap Parking Sign Requirements

Prior to the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, Americans with disabilities had a lot more issues when it came to finding accessible parking. The ADA was designed to ensure that all Americans with disabilities were given equal rights in all areas of their lives, including parking.

Accessibility is a vital component to leading a normal life for those with mobility issues or those who have disabilities that make it difficult to gain access to certain public spaces without assistance. ADA guidelines state that every public area has to have accessible parking for people with disabilities so that they can make their way to and from their destination, and also so they can get around, in and out of their vehicle with ease. To make disabled parking places clear and visible, there are many different rules and regulations in place for handicap parking sign requirements.

What makes a handicap spot official?

There are handicap parking spots available all around the country, and each spot has to meet certain criteria for it to be considered an official disabled parking space. For example, according to the ADA, the spot needs to be designated with a clearly marked sign and proper identification that includes the international symbol of accessibility (the wheelchair symbol that is widely recognizable to the majority of people). For a spot to be official, it has to be signposted clearly with this symbol.

disabled parking sign near building
Image by Bernardo Lorena Ponte on Unsplash: How high do handicap parking signs need to be?

Does a handicap parking spot need a sign?

There are a few rules that need to be followed for spots to adhere to handicap parking regulations. For example, as well as handicap parking spots being clearly identified by signs that have the international symbol of accessibility, van-accessible spots need to have the same sign plus the phrase “van-accessible” clearly outlined.

There are couple exceptions to this rule, though. Parking lots that are small and have four or fewer spaces are required by law to have accessible spaces, but those spaces can be used by anyone with or without a disability and do not need a sign. Residential areas such as apartment buildings that have assigned parking spots do not have to have signs at their accessible spaces, either. In both instances, accessible parking is still required, though the spots just don’t need to be marked with signage.

What are the main handicap parking sign requirements?

Aside from the rule that states that public places are required to have accessible parking spaces, no matter how big or small their lots are, there are some requirements that need to be met for a disabled parking sign to be legal. The first requirement involves the height of the sign. To ensure that people with and without disabilities can see disabled parking spaces clearly, the signs must be mounted a certain way so that the lower edge of the sign is at least five feet off the ground.

Visibility is important when it comes to accessible handicap parking, and having the signs sit high enough makes them easier to see. The signs must also be clearly viewable and unobstructed. As mentioned above, if the spot is designated for those with vans, that must also be clearly stated in either text or as a symbol so that who can use that spot is specifically outlined.

parking lot with cars
Image by John Matychuk on Unsplash: All parking lots, both big and small, are required by law to have accessible parking spots.

In summary, handicap parking signs must follow these five requirements:

  1. Be clear and visible by motorists
  2. The bottom of the sign must be at least five feet off the ground
  3. Have the international symbol of accessibility
  4. Cannot be obstructed by vehicles or any other objects
  5. Van-accessible signs must be clearly marked with text or a symbol

When it comes to accessibility, handicap parking spaces are crucial for helping people with disabilities get around to where they need to go with ease. Without clearly marked signs that have all the official markers, it would be more difficult for people to find the parking they need. That’s why strict handicap parking sign requirements are enforced by law.

Featured image by Nicolas Torres on Unsplash

Is A Handicap Spot Legal Without A Sign?

Handicap parking infrastructure across America helps millions of disabled people and makes their lives easier. Handicap parking spaces are located in every jurisdiction in the US. Their purpose is to make amenities, buildings, residences, and public areas accessible to disabled people.

In order to use handicap parking infrastructure, you need to be a disabled parking permit holder. For handicap parking programs to work well, it is crucial that everybody understands the rules and knows how to avail of the program effectively.

Handicap parking space signage is a crucial part of handicap parking infrastructure. Signage makes it clear to handicap permit holders and non–permit holders exactly which spaces and areas are reserved for disabled people.

The rules around handicap parking space signs are enshrined in federal law, and it is important that all road users are aware of them. People tend to have several questions about handicap parking signs, such as… Is a handicap spot legal without a sign? What happens if a handicap spot doesn’t have a sign? What makes a handicap sign legal? How tall does a handicap sign need to be? Do handicap signs have to be blue?

Let’s answer these important questions today.

What Law Deals With Handicap Parking Signs?

The federal law that deals with handicap parking space sign requirements, rules, and regulations is the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

legal handicap parking sign
Image by JoeBreuer on Pixabay: Is a handicap spot legal without a sign?

Are Handicap Parking Laws The Same In Every State?

Certain handicap parking rules, such as handicap space sign requirements and how many disabled spaces should be in a parking lot, are federal laws. Federal laws apply nationwide. Other aspects of handicap parking laws, such as exact qualifying conditions and the types of permits that are available, vary slightly state by state.

Is A Handicap Spot Legal Without A Sign?

No, a handicap parking space is not legal without a sign. The ADA states that all handicap spaces must be denoted by a handicap parking sign.

What Happens If A Handicap Spot Doesn’t Have A Sign?

Some handicap spots will only have the wheelchair symbol painted on the ground. These spaces, while quite clearly marked as disabled spaces, should still have a sign according to the ADA. If you see a spot without a sign, you should contact your local disabled parking authorities and ask them to install a sign.

What Makes A Handicap Sign Legal?

What are the legal handicap parking signage requirements? The requirements for handicap parking signs are that they must be the correct design and they must be positioned correctly in relation to the space they are denoting.

How Tall Does A Handicap Sign Need To Be?

A handicap parking space sign must be mounted at least five feet above the ground.

Do Handicap Signs Have To Be Blue?

No, handicap parking signs do not need to be blue. However, a blue sign with the International Symbol of Accessibility in white is the most common sign design.

Where Are Handicap Parking Spaces Located?

Handicap parking spaces are located in all public places. They are located on-street and in parking lots in numbers dictated by federal law in accordance with the ADA.

How Do You Get A Handicap Parking Permit?

The easiest way to get a handicap parking permit is to have a telemedicine consultation with a medical professional at the Dr. Handicap online clinic. Once the medical professional has verified your disability, they will sign a handicap parking application form that you can submit to your local handicap parking authorities, which, in most states, is the local Department of Motor Vehicles.

parking spaces with no signage
Image by Pexels on Pixabay: What happens if a handicap spot doesn’t have a sign? In that case, it isn’t up to ADA standard.

What Medical Professionals Can Sign A Handicap Parking Application?

The specific medical professionals that can sign a handicap parking application vary state by state. In most states, any one of the following can sign your application:

  • Licensed physician
  • Physician’s assistant
  • Advanced nurse practitioner
  • Chiropractor

What Are The Qualifying Conditions For A Handicap Parking Permit?

The following medical conditions will qualify you for a disabled parking permit in all states:

  • An inability to walk 200 feet without needing to stop to rest
  • An inability to walk without the aid of an assistive device such as a cane, crutch, wheelchair, Zimmer frame, or another person.
  • A heart condition classified as Class III or IV by the American Heart Association
  • Lung disease
  • A condition that necessitates the use of portable oxygen
  • Lung disease
  • Legal blindness
  • Any arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition that seriously curtails mobility

Featured image by MichaelGaida on Pixabay