It is important for schools to ensure that they have adequate disabled parking facilities available. Usually, any addition of disabled parking spaces has very low financial impact, if any. Below are some requirements to be considered as 'best practice'.
For a number of wheelchair users and mobility impaired people it is very important that designated, well sized, accessible parking bays are provided as close as possible to the main Reception entrance.
As a general guideline in a school carpark, there is no specific guidance to follow, but we suggest that 5% of the overall parking provision should be made available for disabled use.
Having provided well designed accessible parking it is equally important to ensure that pedestrian routes to and from the main disabled entrance are accessible as well as routes for other pedestrians.
Routes should be level, free from steps, bollards and steep slopes which present difficulties for many disabled people. Moveable street furniture such as bins, seating and A-boards should be carefully located so as to not obstruct walking routes.
Well-designed dropped kerbs with appropriate tactile paving should be provided where necessary.
In addition, the hatched areas should allow a 1.2m access zone between bays at the side and 1.2m at the rear for easy boot access. Disabled users are likely to be more vulnerable to collision with traffic and a mobility impaired or elderly person is unlikely to be able to move as quickly as a disabled person. Equally a visually impaired person will be less aware of oncoming traffic. As a result, a safe route should be provided from accessible parking bays to the nearest exit or entrance.
Any new bays should be designed to meet the requirements of BS8300: 2001. In effect this design ensures that the surface is relatively level, have a hard finish and free from stones, gravel etc.
As well as a sign on the ground as provision for disabled drivers or passengers only, there should also be a sign immediately in front of the space, or to the side of the space, which is good practice. This is needed in case of snow or leaf covering on the ground. For wheelchair users, signs should be placed between 1000mm and 1100mm above floor level. The lettering should be in small case and should contrast with the sign board, and the sign should have a matt surface. Symbols can be used to supplement written signs.
Directions to the disabled car parking are required to be placed at the entrance to the site so any disabled visitors know which way to go to access the designated disabled car park space.