October 1, 2008
PARKING LOTS AND HANDICAPPED PARKING SPACES
By: Kevin E. McCarthy, Principal Analyst
You asked for a description of the law regarding the provision of handicapped parking spaces in public and private parking lots. You also wanted to know whether there are there any requirements regarding (1) the maintenance of parking lots and (2) how often parking lots are inspected for safety.
CGS § 14-253a imposes requirements for handicapped parking spaces for both public and private parking lots. The State Traffic Commission and local traffic authorities must establish handicapped parking spaces on any highways under their respective jurisdiction. Private parking areas (lots or garages) with more than 200 spaces must also have handicapped parking spaces, according to the following schedule:
Total Number Of
Number of Handicapped
Parking Spaces Required
201 – 1,000
1,001 – 2,000
10 plus 0.8% of spaces over 1,000
2,001 – 3,000
18 plus 0.6% of spaces over 2,000
3,001 - 4000
24 plus 0.4% of spaces over 3,000
4,001 or more
28 plus 0.2% of spacesover 4,000
The section imposes requirements regarding the size of the spaces, how that are marked and signed, and access to the spaces. In the case of spaces in garages constructed on or after October 1, 1985, there are also minimum vertical clearance requirements (to accommodate handicapped vans and similar vehicles). The state building code and municipal ordinances can impose more stringent requirements regarding the size and number of spaces. The state building code, which generally applies to new construction and substantial renovations, imposes more stringent standards regarding the number of spaces. Section 1106.1 of the code requires parking areas with fewer than 200 spaces to have one to six handicapped spaces, depending on the total number of spaces. It also requires areas with more than 200 to provide more handicapped spaces than would be required under CGS § 14-253a. For example, a newly constructed lot with 1,000 spaces would be required to have 20 handicapped spaces under the building code, compared to 10 under CGS § 14-253a.
There are no statutory requirements regarding the maintenance or inspection of parking lots. Section 3401 of the building code requires that buildings and structures be maintained in a safe and sanitary condition, and assigns this responsibility to the owner or the owner's agent. The code allows building inspectors to require that a building or structure be reinspected to determine compliance with these provisions. It appears that these provisions apply to garages, which are structures, but not to parking lots.
In addition, under common law, property owners have various responsibilities with respect to people who they invite onto their property, e.g., the owner of a shopping mall with respect to customers who park in the mall's parking lots. If the property owner fails to meet these duties, he or she may be liable to people who are injured or whose property is damaged as a result of their failure.