Featured Issue: Elevators & Elevators in Parking Garages

elevator doors with yellow warning tape across the doors






The Facts:

  1. What are the requirements under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) for a business to have a working elevator?

In this circumstance Florida law is more comprehensive than the ADA so we look to Florida Law.

For Florida, the applicable issue is Florida law, because it is broader than the ADA.  The Florida Accessibility Code requires all new or altered structures to have the duty to provide vertical accessibility to all levels.

  1. Is there a difference if the elevator is owned by a governmental entity such as a city/county or a private company?

No, the regulations are identical for a governmental entity and a private company.

  1. What happens if the elevator is broken or not working?

An entity has a duty to maintain in operable working condition all elements that are required to be accessible, but it does not prohibit isolated or temporary interruptions in service or access due to maintenance or repairs. Temporary obstructions or isolated instances of mechanical failure would not be considered violations of the ADA unless it persists beyond a reasonable period. This would include repeated mechanical failures due to improper or inadequate maintenance.

  1. How long can the elevator be broken before the business must provide an alternative option?

An alternative option should be provided immediately when an accessible element is not available. A governmental entity must make its programs or services, and a public accommodation must make its goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations, available through alternative methods such as (1) providing curb service or home delivery; (2) retrieving merchandise from inaccessible shelves or racks; and (3) relocating activities to accessible locations.

  1. Does a person have to request a reasonable accommodation or is the business required to automatically offer an alternative option?

This would not be considered an accommodation, but it would be a facilities obligation to make its goods or services available. In some circumstances, there may be a need to request assistance. For example, a person may need assistance to reach a product that is out of reach range for a person in a wheelchair, or a buzzer by the inaccessible element so the customer can be immediately helped.

  1. How does a person complain if this does not happen?

If the facility is owed by a governmental entity, each entity should have an ADA coordinator who is the person in charge of receiving and attempting to fix issues relating to access violations.  If it is a private business, then you should speak to a manager and explain how you would like to have access to a particular area, but do not have such access.

  1. How many accessible parking spaces are required in a parking garage?

The chart below shows the number of accessible spaces required by the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design.

Total Number of Parking Spaces Provided in a Parking Lot or Facility Minimum Number of Accessible Parking Spaces Permitted
1 to 25 1
26 to 50 2
51 to 75 3
76 to 100 4
101 to 150 5
151 to 200 6
201 to 300 7
301 to 400 8
401 to 500 9
501 to 1000 2 percent of total
1001 and over 20, plus 1 for each 100, or fraction thereof, over 1000
At least one of every six spaces must be van accessible.


  1. Under the ADA – Accessible Parking Spaces
  • This applies to state/local governments, businesses and non-profit organizations that provide parking lots or garages.
  • Parking Spaces
    • Accessible parking spaces must be provided for cars and vans.
  • Location
    • Accessible spaces must be located on the shortest accessible route to the accessible entrance.
  • Access Aisles
    • Accessible parking spaces must have access aisles.
    • The access aisle must be marked
    • The access aisle must be the same length as the space
    • The access aisle must be level with the parking space
    • Two accessible parking spaces can share an access aisle