While you may be aware how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to your property, did you know that electric vehicle charging stations (EVCS) are considered a new site element and need to be accessible to all users?
Increased demand for electric vehicle charging stations
Sales of hybrid and electric vehicles are on the rise. A combination of efforts to reduce emissions and the absurd price of gas will certainly accelerate the number of these vehicles that we see on the road. As a result, there is a demand for more charging stations almost everywhere – including multifamily apartment complexes, office parks, colleges/universities, shopping centers, restaurants, healthcare facilities, and hotels.
Incentives and requirements to install charging stations
Fueling this demand even more, there is money available to many property owners to add charging stations. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes $7.5 Billion to build new stations across the country. Pennsylvania’s Driving PA Forward Campaign and the King of Prussia District’s Placemaking Partner Initiative also offer incentives.
We are even seeing municipalities include EVCS requirements in their local Zoning Ordinances. With both incentives and requirements in place, increasing the number of charging stations on commercial properties is almost essential.
One municipality where we’re working, Whitemarsh Township in Montgomery County, PA, recently changed their parking ordinance. They amended the off-street parking section of their zoning code to include requirements for electric vehicle charging stations. The addition of an EVCS is no longer just a voluntary or more sustainable choice. These charging stations are quickly becoming a municipal requirement for commercial property development and improvement projects. Even if you’re completing a simple parking lot improvement project, you may need to add one. Your planner or civil engineer can help you determine the requirements for your property!
ADA compliance and electric vehicle charging stations
While we are seeing municipal requirements to include them, the ADA Standards for Accessible Design do not specifically address EVCS. However, as separate site elements, accessibility must be considered in the design and placement of charging stations. Simply put, equal access for people with disabilities needs to be available to use these charging stations.
- Like other site elements or amenities, you want to provide an equitable experience for all people in the best way possible. The rule of thumb – If an able-bodied person can use it, it needs to be accessible to all.
- If you have multiple charging stations, at least one will need to be accessible. The space won’t need to be labeled ADA accessible, but it will have to meet all requirements.
- For an EVCS, you will need to consider dimensions of the parking spaces at the charging including a 3-foot wide approach and an appropriate slope of the space.
- There needs to be an accessible route to and from the parking space and charging station to the associated building or facility.
Are you compliant?
As a property manager or owner, you naturally want to do everything you can to provide a site that everyone can enjoy and safely navigate. This requires that your site be compliant with the ADA Standards for Accessible Design. If your building is older and you haven’t had a recent ADA evaluation, this may be a good time to look at the entire site. Also, every municipality handles ADA improvements differently. Whether they have Township inspectors and code officers, or an accessibility officer, there is always somebody looking. It’s better for you to have a civil engineer to help you plan these improvements.
Get ahead of the curve. Protect yourself and your business. If you’re adding an EVCS, consult an ADA expert to understand the requirements before you installation.
Nave Newell is a leading firm in providing ADA site evaluations. We have assessed and designed cost-effective improvements at over 300 commercial sites throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region. We can support the site evaluation, design, permitting, and construction.
Want to ensure you offer accessible vehicle charging?
Contact our ADA Compliance Expert – Jim Bannon at 610-265-8323 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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