The Visitor Experience

By Kim Fernandez

Yesterday, I went with my mom to a doctor’s appointment. The doctor specializes in older patients, many of whom use wheelchairs or, like my mom, walkers to get around.

He had an easy-to-find parking lot behind the building, which was great to see, but the entrance to his office was around the opposite side, meaning a bit of a walk. Not ideal for an older person, but doable.

Here’s where I started wondering if he’d ever looked at his office with a patient’s eyes. While he had a gentle ramp up to his front door, there was no curb cut between the parking lot and it, meaning the only way to the ramp is up and over a high curb. A little extra support got my mom over but someone in a wheelchair would be stuck. Which left me curious as to whether he’d ever tried visiting his own office as a patient would.

I’m hopeful things will improve thanks to the new IPI-led Accessible Parking Coalition, but wonder how often people think through their properties’ accessibility–not whether it meets regulations, but whether it really works. Have you tried accessing the locations your parking serves as visitors would? How did it go—did you learn things? Let us know in the comments.

Kim Fernandez is IPI’s director of publications and editor of The Parking Professional.