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DIANE SAUNDERS, San Juan Capistrano

On Monday, November 8, 2021, I notified the City of San Juan Capistrano that their ordinance which covers parking spaces for people with disabilities may not be in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), in that people who have mobility-equipped (chairlift or ramp) vans may not be able to find open van-accessible parking spaces in the city. This is because people who are disabled but do not drive a mobility-equipped vehicle are parking in the van-accessible spaces. This prohibits people who do drive mobility-equipped vans from gaining access to such parking, as required by the ADA. There also must be one van-accessible space for every 6 non-van or car parking space that is signed as disabled parking.  (2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design)

The width of the parking space must be at least 132 inches for the van-accessible space, with at least a 60-inch access aisle on the passenger side of the vehicle. Car access spaces must be at least 90 inches wide next to the access aisle for the van-accessible space or another car-accessible space. The width for the van-accessible space is designed such that a lift or ramp can be extended out from the side of the vehicle to allow egress of the disabled person.  Vans cannot park in car-accessible spaces, because there is not enough room for the ramp or lift to extend.

I hope the city will recognize this deficiency in their ordinance and fix it. 

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comments (1)

  • Thank you, Diane, for your article. In 2015 I purchased a new 2015 Toyota “Mobility Equipped” Sienna Van, with an electric wheelchair for $72,000. I year later I sold it for $35,000. In the course of the year, I was only able to gain access to a van-accessible space once. Every time I went out, every van accessible space I visited was taken by a disabled person driving a small car. In every parking lot, I found one or more regular handicapped spaces open.

    I complained about the problem on a number of occasions to local, county, and state departments, but my complaints fell on deaf ears. When I learned that Diane Saunders had submitted her article to the Capo Dispatch, I wrote Mayor Taylor, but I received no answer.

    Diane supplied me with a link to the US Attorney General’s ADA Complaint site, so I filed an official ADA complaint against San Juan Capistrano and the State of California. All I asked for was a change in the wording on the sign, “MOBILITY-EQUIPPED VAN ONLY”

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