Keeping your Parking Lot Safe and Inviting
Maximize accessibility and minimize liability on your property
By Tim Mears
One of the most important things property owners and managers are responsible for is ensuring that the property meets ADA Standards and remains a safe space for all. The Readily Achievable Barriers Removal Act mandates that all public spaces, regardless of when they were constructed, are accessible. Tim Mears, a Rose Paving National Account Executive says that accessibility begins with your parking lot.
Fix trip hazards and cracks
Cracked pavement, uneven surfaces and potholes can increase both your patrons’ and your business’ exposure to risk. Costly slip and fall injuries can be easily avoided through annual inspections and regular maintenance. Cracksealing and infrared asphalt technology can limit the occurrence of trip hazards on asphalt while concrete repair can minimize sidewalk cracks and broken curbs.
Poorly maintained parking lots don’t just put businesses at risk for accidents and lawsuits, but could also cost them more on insurance. According to Mears, insurance companies can issue penalties, raise premiums or even cancel policies for lots with unaddressed liabilities and hazard areas. An annual maintenance plan can help give you and your customers peace of mind by addressing problems before and as soon as they emerge.
Check for ADA compliance
Businesses owe it to the public to make their locations accessible to everyone. At an ADA training session, Mears met a woman who relied on her wheelchair and van equipped with a ramp for transport. She told him she chose her stores and restaurants based on ADA compliance, sometimes driving 5 to 10 miles further to find a store that had adequate unloading space and a safe path of travel with easily navigable ramps and doors.
While ADA compliance seems obvious, it goes beyond having handicapped parking spaces. Lot markings and signage has to be bright and clear, directing people along the path of travel to an ADA accessible entrance equipped with ramps and handrails. Tactile paving helps people who are visual impaired navigate the property safely and access goods and services. Download our guide to federal ADA compliance to ensure your lot is accessible and save you from hefty fines and lost business.
Research local building code
Federal code is the minimum standard when it comes to paving regulations, but there’s still room for state and local code to be more rigorous. “To assume that the federal code is the code that stands up is incorrect,” said Mears. For example, in Minnesota, all ADA handicapped stall unloading zones must be a minimum of 8 ft. wide, but the federal code mandates that only the first one has to be minimum 8 ft. wide while any others can be just 5 ft. wide.
Local building code also applies to details such as the number of parking stalls required for building size and building use. “Overall the local codes supersede state codes and state code supersedes federal code,” said Mears. He recommends treating local building officials as the first point of contact for local municipal zoning and ADA requirements.
Work with an established paving company
While there might be a designated office to answer any questions about zoning requirements, it can be difficult to get to the appropriate person and find the correct information. Avoid calling hundreds of local offices by working with an experienced paving company with national reach. An established national provider can conduct a site assessment and propose solutions to address any issues that might be a liability.
Rose Paving relies on their contacts in states and county zoning departments and continuous education to stay up to date with changes in regulation. Constant training empowers our network of pavers to deliver well-paved, legal parking lots our clients can depend on. Contact us today.