We brought up the issue of the parking spaces in New Jersey downtowns with Joe Zesski, the program Manager of the Northeast ADA. This is what he emailed our group in response to the question:
There is an obligation for Title II entitles (state/local government) to provide access to their programs. As such, one could argue that where on-street parking is provided by a city, they should include accessible spaces/designations. There is a standard call the Public Rights of Way Accessible Guidelines (PROWAG), which is not yet enforceable but is expected to become so when it is eventually adopted by the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation. Here is what was said about parking:
The Public Rights of Way Accessibility Guidelines (PROWAG) contain scoping for on street parking and technical requirements for the design of the on street accessible parking spaces. They can be found via this link, https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/streets-sidewalks/public-rights-of-way/proposed-rights-of-way-guidelines in Section R214 (scoping) and R309 (design of on street accessible parking spaces).
Re: the PROWAG on street parking standard , the PROWAG is not yet enforceable under the ADA, however, they are absolutely viewed as the Best Practice stand currently. When it comes to on street parking, especially , The 2010 ADA standards of Accessible Design do not address on street parking at all, so Title II entities that provide on street parking have an obligation to provide access for people with disabilities (because of Program Accessibility Obligations) but no clear guidance on “how” to design accessible on street parking. Since the PROWAG does provide technical scoping and technical criteria on this issue, they are considered the Best Practice document to apply when entities want to achieve access but do not have an enforceable standard that tells them exactly “how” to do that. Many entities are applying the PROWAG as if it were enforceable already and I think that approach is smart. Eventually, DOJ will likely incorporate the PROWAG into the ADA standards but in the meantime given that you have this obligation to make your “programs” accessible (and parking is considered a “program”) applying the PROWAG’s on-street parking guidelines is absolutely the way to go and very much shows a good faith to meet your ADA obligations for program accessibility.
*Since this is not “Law” yet, the towns have to meet their obligations on their terms right now. Things will change when it adopted into the law.
*This was brought up when the question was asked of why there were rules to Mall parking but not to the downtown shopping districts of towns in New Jersey.