Tag Archives: Accessible Parking Coalition

Which Accessibility Icon to Use

Accessible parking symbolBy Helen Sullivan

IPMI members have asked me which symbol to use to mark an accessible parking spot.

Good question! I strongly recommend—without hesitation—using the traditional, upright icon to mark accessible parking spots.

There is a movement to switch from the traditional accessibility icon for parking signs to one that features the icon angled forward. Several states and a few cities have adopted the forward leaning symbol, however, parking and mobility professionals should be aware that to meet federal guidelines, the traditional accessibility icon must be used.

I understand that to some, the forward leaning symbol connotes action, ability, and empowerment for people with disabilities, but there are other advocates for individuals who disagree. I understand the pros and cons. At the Accessible Parking Coalition, we originally incorporated the forward leaning icon into our logo, only to be advised by APC founding member and friend David Capozzi, executive director of the U.S. Access Board, that we needed to change that—and fast—to avoid confusion within the industry! In fact, the U.S. Access Board issued a news release in 2017 to clear up the issue definitively.

At this time, based on the current U.S. Access Board guidelines, the traditional icon of the International Symbol of Accessibility (ISA) is the one to use to ensure accessible spaces meet federal regulations, including those issued under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, this presents complications in cities and states that require use of the other symbol. Should anything change, I promise to let you know!

Helen Sullivan is director of the IPMI-led Accessible Parking Coalition.

Inconsiderate Defined

car parked on handicap space hashmarksBy Michelle W. Jones, CAE, CMP

Merriam-Webster provides a definition of “inconsiderate” as “heedless, thoughtless,” and “careless of the rights or feelings of others.”

On Sunday, my 22-year-old niece posted this photo with a poignant message on Facebook:

“Just because it is Super Bowl Sunday doesn’t mean it gives you the right to park on the lines in between handicap spaces. Those lines are for people who have medical equipment, so they can the room to get in and out of their cars. Not to mention that this car doesn’t have a handicap placard/license plate. Please be considerate of people with disabilities.”

She knows this well because she has Arthrogryposis and uses a motorized wheelchair herself. I was so proud of her for sharing her observation and for being concise and accurate, without being (justifiably) nasty.

I couldn’t help but think of the work the Accessible Parking Coalition (APC) is doing, and I shared the website with her. It is a powerful statement that, “Assuring independence is everyone’s fight.” If only everyone could and would read and heed the message that, “…using an accessible parking spot ‘for just five minutes’ or blocking the designated, cross-hatched loading zone for wheelchair accessible parking spots, can deny a person with disabilities the ability to shop,” as the violator in the photo has done.
We all should be vigilant and become citizen activists.

Michelle W. Jones, CAE, CMP, is IPMI’s director of convention and meeting services.

*Photo provided by Ciana Dassonville

The Accessible Parking Challenge

By Helen Sullivan, APR, Fellow PRSA

Parking and mobility professionals have the power to make a difference for 30 million (and growing) Americans with disabilities–people who need to park in our communities, campuses, and complexes to live an independent life, but who often circle, circle, circle and go home because accessible parking is not available.

People shared these comments with us in a recent survey:

  • “It all comes down to a lack of kindness and understanding.”
  • “I am a quadriplegic in a wheelchair. Parking is the biggest obstacle in my life!”
  • “Parking issues make me add 90 minutes to my morning commute.”
  • “Street-side accessible parking spaces always assume the disabled person is the passenger. Try having to upload a wheelchair from the driver’s side, getting in and shutting the door while traffic is going by!”
  • “I have no grip or finger dexterity so pulling out tickets at parking garages is impossible.”

Does your on- and off-street parking comply with 2010 ADA Standards and meet all accessibility guidelines? Try putting yourself in the position of a wheelchair user (figuratively and perhaps even literally) and someone with impaired manual dexterity as you take inventory:

  • Would you find it easy to park close to the building?
  • Do you provide the space needed to load and unload a wheelchair safety and easily?
  • Are there streetscape issues (e.g. honor boxes for newspapers, curbs, benches, planters, etc.) that could interfere with mobility?
  • Do your snow and ice removal polices/equipment present any obstacles that interfere with accessible spaces and access aisle markings?
  • Can someone in a wheelchair easily reach–and manipulate–your pay stations and meters using case and credit cards?

This inventory action item is just one of a dozen included in the IPMI-led Accessible Parking Coalition’s soon-to-be-published, Let’s Make Accessible Parking More Accessible: A Practical Guide to Addressing Disabled Placard Abuse and Other Parking Issues for People with Disabilities.

The 24-page guide will be published later this month and will be a practical starting point to help your organization begin to address this issue effectively. It’s full of ideas and real-world examples of how others are making parking more accessible.

The problems related to accessible parking can’t be fixed overnight. This is a complex issue and the APC is a multi-year, multi-platform initiative, but there’s a great deal we can do as an industry if we do it together. More soon!

Helen Sullivan, APR, Fellow PRSA, is IPMI’s communications counsel.

Gauging Handicap Parking Abuse at the Fair

For the second year, officials conducted handicap parking rules enforcement at the Los Angeles County Fair, and their findings were sobering: 17 percent of those parking in a lot reserved for those with ADA permits were there fraudulently.

Officers checked the placards of 1,955 cars parked in a reserved lot at the fair during four days, and issued 345 citations to drivers using the permits illegally. This was the second year checking permits at the fair; last year, 477 drivers were cited out of 2,754–also about 17 percent.

Read the whole story here. For resources, visit the Accessible Parking Coalition.

THE BUSINESS OF PARKING | LEGAL: Don’t Be Arbitrary and Capricious

By Michael J. Ash, Esq., CRE

HENRY “HANK” ROWAN JR.’S induction furnace design is used throughout the world to melt metal, but he is best known for his philanthropy. In 1991, Hank and Betty Rowan donated $100 million to Glassboro State College, which became Rowan University. Rowan University began an almost 30-year program of development that resulted in new education programs, departments, and facilities. The physical campus and student body have expanded tremendously, and its hometown of Glassboro, N.J., has also been transformed.

One of the typical controversies in a college town is the balance between student and resident parking. In Glass­boro, this recently reached the New Jersey appellate courts in the matter Glassboro Guardians v. Borough of Glassboro, Docket No. A-1670-16 (April 18, 2018).
In an attempt to control the use of on-street parking and restore a balance between student and resident on-street parking, the Glassboro Town Council adopted an ordinance requiring all rental properties within the municipality to “provide a minimum of one off-street parking space for every one authorized occupant 18 years of age or more.” This new parking regulation was challenged in court by the Glassboro Guardians, a nonprofit corporation comprised of indi­viduals who own rental properties within the municipality and presumably rent to students for off-campus housing.

The Guardians claimed the ordinance:

  • Was arbitrary and capricious.
  • Was improperly enacted under the municipality’s police power.
  • Violated the equal protection clause of the New Jersey Constitution and New Jersey Civil Rights Act.

After a three-day trial the judge struck down the ordinance.

Regulating Parking

While there is little doubt that on-street parking can be regulated throughout a municipality with the establishment of parking meters, signage, and a program of penalty enforcement, typical police powers must be implemented in such a way as to conform with the law. Some of the first residential permit parking programs were subjected to legal challenges alleging discrimination against non-residents and an improp­er allocation of the public resource of on-street parking. The U.S. Supreme Court, in upholding the legality of a residential parking permit program, can be interpreted to support addi­tional aspects of on- and off-street parking regulation.

In previous cases, the Supreme Court clearly identified the rational objectives of a residential permit parking program, including en­hancement of the quality of life for residents of a community, properly regulating the utilization and balance between off-street parking facilities and on-street parking resources, and promoting the flow of traffic by limiting the circling of non-residents searching for free on-street parking.

Judging Municipal Actions

In New Jersey and most states through­out the country, municipal actions are presumed to be valid, and an objector has a heavy burden in seeking to over­turn them. A challenger must clearly show that the municipal action is “arbi­trary, capricious, or unreasonable” be­cause the underlying policy and wisdom of an ordinance is assumed to reside with the governing body, not the courts, which are not as familiar with the issues in dispute. An ordinance will not be set aside if any set of reasonable facts jus­tifies it. Although a court will typically not investigate the motives behind an ordinance, the court will weigh evidence about the legislative purpose when the reasonableness of the enactment is not apparent on its face.

Here, it seems that the Glassboro Council sought to maintain the balance between student and resident parking through the adoption of the ordinance. However, the court observed the lack of any introductory language or statement of reasons justifying why it was enacted. Without any explanation included in the rule itself, the judge examined the legislative history but found no explanation for adoption of the ordinance. Glassboro failed to articulate any valid reason for the parking policy, and it was set aside after years of litigation.

Tips For Adopting Parking Regulations

  • Include detailed recitals or “whereas” provisions setting forth the factual basis for the parking regulation.
  • Accumulate and reference documents that support the reason for the parking regulation in the form of parking studies, correspondence, or internal analysis.
  • Make a record at the adoption of the policy through comment and discussion.

When considering the implementation of new parking regulations, the parking professional should be able to identify the rational basis for the policy. In addition to the desired regulatory changes, the legislation, whether by ordi­nance or resolution, should clearly articulate the objectives of the regulation.

Read the article here.

MICHAEL J. ASH, Esq., CRE, is a partner with Decotiis, Fitzpatrick, & Cole, LLP. He can be reached at mash@decotiislaw.com.