WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield employment lawyer Fred Shahrooz Scampato wants to make sure that people with disabilities have equal access to what most of us take for granted. That’s why his office is teaming up with the law firm of Jacobson & Rooks in South New Jersey to bring lawsuits against the operators of parking lots and parking garages that fail to adhere to Americans with Disabilities Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination regarding provisions for handicap-accessible parking spots. 

“A number of my friends happen to be people with disabilities,” Shahrooz Scampato said. “Time and again, I have heard of stories how people who I care for have been ignored and locked out of places and events that the rest of us take for granted and don't even think about. As a lawyer and a supporter of the New Jersey disability community, it is my civil responsibility to work towards social justice on the issue of accessibility.”

Specifically, both firms share the community’s concern over the lack of handicap accessible parking spaces, Shahrooz Scampato said.

Sign Up for E-News

“This issue means nothing to most people, but to people with disabilities, enforcement of these laws really mean freedom and inclusion,” Shahrooz Scampato said. “And that is, after all, why I have made civil rights my profession and vocation.”

If you have a disability and are aware of parking lots and parking garages that fail to provide the handicap-accessible parking required under Federal and State law, you can contact Shahrooz Scampato in North Jersey at at 908-301-9095 or via email at scampato@njlaborlaw.com or Franklin J. Rooks Jr. in the South Jersey or Philadelphia area at 856-208-5748 or fjrooks@jacobsonrooks.com.

Shahrooz Scampato offered a brief overview of some of the handicap-accessible parking standards set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act and New Jersey Barrier Free Subcode regulations:

• Accessible parking spaces must be identified by a sign that includes the International Symbol of Accessibility and should include penalty information indicating fines for improperly parking in a handicap-accessible spot.

• Each handicap-accessible parking space must be served by an adjacent 60-inch wide access aisle.  For vans, the access aisle must be 96 inches wide. The access aisle must be marked so as to discourage parking in them. This is achieved by painting the spot and adjacent access aisle in a color (most often blue) contrasting that spot with other spaces. These access aisles ensure that people who use wheelchairs have room to transfer in and out of their vehicles.

• An accessible route must adjoin each access aisle serving accessible parking spaces. The accessible route connects each access aisle to accessible entrances.

• Accessible parking spaces must be located on the shortest accessible route of travel to an accessible entrance.

• Accessible parking spaces and the required accessible route should be located where individuals with disabilities do not have to cross vehicular lanes or pass behind parked vehicles to have access to an accessible entrance. If it is necessary to cross a vehicular lane because, for example, local fire engine access requirements prohibit parking immediately adjacent to a building, then a marked crossing running perpendicular to the vehicular route should be included as part of the accessible route to an accessible entrance.

• One in every six accessible parking spaces must be van accessible; this is an increase from the previous standard, which required one in every eight spaces to be van accessible:

 

Total Number of Parking Spaces in Parking Facility(Lot or Garage)

Minimum Number of Accessible Parking Spaces Required

1 - 25

1

26 - 50

2

51 - 75

3

76 - 100

4

101 - 150

5

151 - 200

6

201 - 300

7

301 - 400

8

401 - 500

9

501 - 1000

2% of total

1001 and over

20, plus 1 for each 100, or fraction there­of, over 1000

Learn more: Click here to watch an NBC10 investigative news report on this issue that aired July 12.