Parking for Persons with Disabilities

Obtaining a Disability Placard/License

Persons with temporary or long-term disabilities who do not already have a state-issued disability placard/license plate may submit an application to the California State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Parking & Transportation may periodically verify with the Department of Motor Vehicle the current status of the state-issued disabled parking placard/license and may also check to determine whether the name of the applicant for the campus parking permit is the same as the name to whom the state issued the state disabled parking placard (each one is uniquely numbered).

The State DMV office issues temporary red disability placards that the campus honors, which must be displayed in the vehicle in a manner so that the date of expiration is visible.

Campus Permit Required (No Exceptions!)

In addition to displaying a valid state-issued disabled parking placard, persons with disabilities must obtain a campus parking permit in order to park in a blue disabled parking (DP) space on campus. A vehicle parked in a campus blue disabled parking space is subject to citation and fines if displaying only a state-issued disabled parking placard/license, but no current campus permit. Persons with disabilities who already have a state-issued disability placard/license plate will generally use the same process to obtain a permit to park on campus as all other members of the Cal community.

A variety of types of campus permits are available, ranging from regular campus parking permits based on student or faculty-staff classification to one day visitor's campus permits. Faculty, staff, and students may apply for a campus parking permit online or at the Parking & Transportation Customer Service Center.

Where to Park

Vehicles displaying both a permit and disability placard/license plate are authorized to park in a campus blue DP disabled parking space or (if no blue DP space is open) to park in the nearest available campus parking space that is not restricted for use. In other words, all parking spaces in all campus lots (assigned to any type of permit holder) are available for parking a vehicle provided the vehicle displays both a disability placard/license and a current campus permit (of any permit type), except that the vehicle must comply with the terms of any posted notice of restricted use for that particular parking space. For example, some parking spaces are restricted for use (as indicated by a posted sign or ground instructions) to a particular individual or license plate holder, to a specific category of vehicles (academic department or campus unit such as Physical Plant service vehicles), to a certain type of use (loading/unloading), or to a limited period of time). Any vehicle (including one belonging to a person with a disability) parked in a parking space restricted for use is subject to a parking citation for failure to comply with the posted restriction.

“Blue” Parking Spaces

What is a “blue” space? Campus parking spaces reserved for persons with disabilities are called “blue spaces” and most, but not all, “blue spaces” meet access codes requirements. For example, due to the hilly terrain on which the campus sits, not all “blue” parking spaces are sufficiently level (or wide) to meet the needs of all persons with disabilities. To assist persons with the disability finding an appropriate DP parking space, a description of the specific measurement and slope of campus DP parking spaces is available online. In addition, hardcopy maps of DP parking spaces are available from Parking & Transportation Services Center and at the West Gate and East Gate kiosks.

It doesn’t seem like there are “enough” DP parking spaces! Because the campus places a high priority on ensuring that persons with mobility disabilities are able to park as close as possible to their destination, the campus actually reserves significantly more parking spaces for persons with disabilities than is required by law. Unfortunately, the campus has limited areas available for parking of any kind, and some areas are more impacted by high population density than others. However, remember that vehicles displaying a disability placard (and campus permit) are not limited to parking in blue parking spaces, but may park in any vacant campus parking space, with a few exceptions (see above). Finally, when it’s not possible to park immediately adjacent to the campus destination, a variety of transportation options are available to take drivers with disabilities from their parked car to their campus destination.

Parking Citations

Like other persons parking on campus in an improper manner, persons with disabilities who park improperly are subject to a parking citation. Vehicles parking in campus blue DP parking spaces without both a campus permit and display of a valid state/campus-issued disability placard/license plate are subject to citation for a parking violation. Similarly, those parking in a campus parking space not authorized by their campus parking permit (because no blue DP parking space was available) will also be subject to a parking citation, unless the vehicle displays both a valid state/campus-issued disability placard/license and a current campus permit (of the type for which the driver is eligible, e.g., student, faculty/staff). Finally, failure to comply with the terms of a parking space's posted notice of restricted use subjects a vehicle to citation, even if both a campus permit and state-issued disability placard/license are displayed.

Parking for Personal Attendants

Non-disabled personal attendants who serve persons with disabilities may park in a "blue" disabled parking space only if they are driving a vehicle in which the person with the disability is a passenger, and the vehicle they are driving has on display a campus permit and a disability placard belonging to the person with the disability.

One Day Visitor Parking Permit

Persons with disabilities who have current state issued disability parking placards/licenses and who need to park on campus on an occasional basis, may park in a campus blue disabled parking space provided that they display a one day campus permit (available at the standard price from campus parking permit vending dispensers) along with their state issued disabled placard/license.

It is strongly recommended that visitors with a disability arriving on campus for an activity that is especially time sensitive allow at least 45 minutes for parking. In highly unusual circumstances (e.g., one time guest lecturers, presenters, etc.), special parking arrangements may be available by contacting the campus Campus Access Services a minimum of three working days in advance of the event (in general special arrangements are not available to audience members of events).

Parking Spaces Dedicated to an Individual

On rare occasions, departments may request that a particular parking space be dedicated to the exclusive use of a named faculty or staff with a disability. Occasionally a student with a disability will request a dedicated parking space. Even when a request for a dedicated parking space from a faculty, staff, or student with a disability is granted, the individual’s vehicle must still display a valid campus permit and usually the parking space will be dedicated to the individual’s exclusive use for only a limited number of hours on certain days.

Campus Access Services reviews requests for a dedicated parking space to determine whether the needs of the person with a disability can be met within the existing transportation/parking system:

Determine whether the person’s destination is on the campus shuttle bus route stops. If so, the person with the disability will be instructed to park in a parking lot near a shuttle stop where there is ample parking for persons with disabilities (e.g., Lower Hearst, Underhill), and asked to use the campus shuttle to reach their destination.

If the person’s destination is not sufficiently near a shuttle bus stop or Loop golf cart services, alternative options may be explored, such as cab/van service or, when feasible, relocation of the event/classroom/workplace.

If alternative options are not feasible, an additional (non-dedicated) blue disabled parking space may be created in proximity to the destination. A trial period will ensue to ascertain if this additional “blue” parking space solves the parking needs of the person with a disability.

If adding a new non-dedicated “blue” disabled parking space does not solve the person’s parking needs (e.g., the additional DP parking space is frequently occupied when the person needs to park), a disabled parking space may be dedicated for the exclusive use of the person with a disability by posting a sign with license plate number(s), limiting use of the “blue” disabled parking space exclusively to the person with the disability during the necessary hours.

Campus Parking Permit as Student Accommodation

When the Disabled Students Program (DSP) determines that parking is a necessary, reasonable accommodation for a student in order to access the U.C. Berkeley academic curriculum, a campus parking permit may be provided by the Disabled Students Program (DSP) at no cost to the student provided that s/he is officially registered as a student at U.C. Berkeley and campus parking is listed in the student’s DSP Letter of Accommodation.

A student's DSP specialist will consider the student's request for a campus parking permit as a necessary, reasonable accommodation pursuant to the following criteria:

In general, travel to/from campus is a student's personal responsibility. Thus, students whose disability necessitates travel to/from campus via a personally owned vehicle are not ordinarily eligible (based solely on to/from campus travel needs) for a waiver of the campus parking permit fee.

Eligibility for waiver of the campus parking permit fee is limited to currently registered students needing a disabled parking space to access the U.C. Berkeley academic curriculum, rather than extra-curricular activities.

Other alternative solutions will be considered first, such as the viability of using the campus shuttle bus, Loop golf cart service, or other transportation options, and/or re-assignment of the course or activity to a more convenient location on campus.

In the event that parking is determined to be a necessary, reasonable accommodation in order to access the U.C. Berkeley academic curriculum, the campus parking permit issued (without cost) to the student will be limited to the specific days and times for which the accommodation is necessary and reasonable, as set forth in the student's Letter of Accommodation.