Monday, October 25, 2010

A Major Inconvenience Is Really Against the Law.

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(Courtesy of United Spinal Association)
One would assume that the blue and white accessible parking signs would alert most drivers to NOT park in these spaces; however, Travis County Texas suggests that some do not. Within a six month period, a total of 578 tickets were issued to vehicles parked in accessible parking spaces for various violations. Since 1990 federal guidelines (thanks to the ADA) require businesses and governmental entities to make accommodations for persons with disabilities to allocate a certain number of accessible parking and van unloading spaces. Federal guidelines also require the blue, yellow, or white stripping, but parking on these hash lines is not a punishable violation.

Travis County is not the only locality monitoring and working to address this issue. One man from St. Charles, Illinois is working to educate the public on the importance of accessible spaces, especially those marked for van access. David Huesing, 62, and chairman of the Citizens with Disabilities Advisory Board lives with multiple sclerosis and uses a power wheelchair to overcome mobility issues. Huesing experiences frequent logistic issues when getting in and out of his van when drivers park too closely or on spaces designated for van access. These spaces are typically wider than a standard parking space and include a diagonal stripped extension.

Some websites and blogs also exist to raise awareness by “busting” drivers who park in accessible spaces maintaining that “to some, those blue and white signs mean easy, convenient parking, but to those they're designed for, those spaces are a necessity.” But perhaps, the most effective advocates for educating the public about this issue come directly from the words and images of persons affected, like David Huesing. "See those stripes? Don’t park there.”

Have you experienced the same issues as Mr. Huesing?Are you addressing accessible parking in your community? If so, share what you are doing individually or with a community group.
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