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Parking for Multi-Family Housing with Public Funding or Public Programs

Parking for Multi-Family Housing with Public Funding or Public Programs

Janis Kent, FAIA Architect, CASp © September, 2019 (modified December 2019)

Parking for multi-family housing can be one of the more perplexing items for scoping. The easy part is, if you have one space per unit, then you need one accessible parking space per mobility feature dwelling unit which should be located as close as feasible to each of the mobility units. But how to determine the requirements in other situations is not laid out as clearly. 

If you have less than one parking space per unit there is no specific direction, but a recommendation would be to use Table 208.2 to determine the requirements. California has adopted this method for calculation. 

If you have more than one space per unit, you would provide the requirements of one accessible space for mobility unit and then calculate 2% on the number of spaces in excess of one per unit. 

Once you determine the number of accessible spaces you would apply the 1 out of 6 requirement for van accessible spaces. But this is a minimum. If you have some spaces that are in a carport vs open space on-grade vs a garage, you would need to scope the van requirement for each of these areas. In other words you would need to scope each parking type separately with one van accessible space per type minimum. This is also true if you have different parking facilities. So although you would not need more than the required number of accessible spaces you might need more van accessible spaces. 


Related: Read more articles about accessibility for multi-family residential and site elements

Signage and demarcations are also an issue. If an accessible space is reserved for a specific tenant then the typical accessible signs are not required – this is an exception. If accessible signage was placed on the space or an ISA striped on-grade, then anyone with a placard could park there. If state required on-grade markings are placed, they can be seen as delineating an accessible parking space that is not fully compliant and still park there. So provide tenant identification on an accessible space saying it is reserved for that tenant. The space and access aisle should be the compliant width and meet the requirements for slope, height clearance, adjacency to an accessible route, and state requirements for length.

The above is for tenant parking only, not guest, not public, not common space, nor employee parking which each use the Table for scoping purposes, and if located in separate parking facilities or are separately designated, are to be scoped separately. The other item to be aware of is, the above is a minimum calculation. If the multi-family housing project meets the requirements for covered housing under FHA, then more accessible parking may be required as a reasonable accommodation. This is by request of a tenant and may be a space near their entrance, or it may mean a slightly wider standard space, or could be a full-on Accessible van space depending on the needs of the specific tenant.

When reviewing what you need to provide, you will need to understand how the parking will actually be designated. This will have impact on the number of accessible spaces. If any of the shared spaces are designated as electric vehicle charging stations, these are not to be included in the parking count but rather are scoped separately with their own accessible charging station. And if we have a drop-off space, then there are requirements for access on this as well.

Be aware that your local City or County may have additional requirements that are more restrictive than the State or Federal requirements. Also, this article is an interpretation and opinion of the writer. It is meant as a summary – current original regulations should always be reviewed when making any decisions.

© Janis Kent, Architect, FAIA, CASp September, 2019


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