Tag Archives: disabilities

Accessible Parking Controversy Raises Questions

accessible parking sign on streetThe Barcelona at Beaverton apartment complex in Beaverton, Ore., offers residents a private parking lot behind the building. Several residents with disabilities recently approached the city asking for on-street spaces to be flagged as accessible and reserved for them by apartment number instead, saying the back lot is too far from their apartments, especially in inclement weather.  And that’s created some controversy: City officials say reserving spaces on the street amounts to privatizing public spots, while disabled residents say the property’s parking lot spaces aren’t really accessible.

The complex includes eight apartments designed for people with disabilities. Four such residents currently live there. They say the curb spaces are just 10 feet from the back door, but they have to travel 300 feet to get to the parking lot’s spots, and some say they then can’t protect their heavy, motorized chairs from the elements. And with a new complex being built across the street, they say they fear not being able to park in what spaces exist near the door.

Read the whole story here. For more information on accessible parking, download “Let’s Make Accessible Parking More Accessible: A Practical Guide to Addressing Disabled Placard Abuse and Other Parking Issues for People with Disabilities,” from the Accessible Parking Coalition.

Making Accessible Parking More Accessible

By Helen Sullivan, APR, Fellow PRSA

“I am a quadriplegic in a wheelchair. Parking is the biggest obstacle in my life.”
READ AND RE-READ THIS QUOTE from the 2018 Accessible Parking Coalition (APC) National Survey and take in the full meaning of what this survey respondent shared with us. A quadriplegic is someone without the use of all four limbs. And the biggest obstacle in this person’s life is parking.

I hope this realization inspires you to tap into the resources of the IPMI-led Ac­cessible Parking Coalition and develop a proactive plan to make accessible parking more accessible in your city, university, hospital, airport, corporate offices, shop­ping center, or stadium.
If you’re a consultant, are you counsel­ing your clients to be mindful of access for all when planning a project? If you’re an equipment manufacturer, you may be surprised to learn that many meters are impossible to use for those with manual dexterity issues and the screen of many meters is angled such that even if pay­ment can be made, a person in a wheel­chair cannot view it.

There are so many challenges, and not everything that can be done is un­der your direct control, but there are many actions you can take to make a positive difference.

Getting Started
IPMI and its APC are making it easy for you get started. APC has just published a 24-page publication, “Let’s Make Acces­sible Parking More Accessible: A Practical Guide to Addressing Disabled Placard Abuse and Other Parking Issues for Peo­ple with Disabilities.”
There is something of value in this new publication for parking lot and facilities designers, planners, managers, and operators. There are sections that will be illuminat­ing for parking meter, pay station, and access control equipment manufacturers, as well as for those in parking enforcement, policy-­making, community relations, and marketing.

Two of my favorite sections of this publication are where we share comments from people with disabil­ities—eye-opening!—and the sec­tion that summarizes a dozen action items you can take to make accessible parking more accessible. The publication has tons of real-world examples of what others in our industry are doing that works.

A strength of this new publication that should give you confidence in its ideas is the impressive list of reviewers: a stellar group of IPMI members on IPMI’s APC Advisory Council as well as the executive directors of the U.S. Access Board, the National Council of Independent Living, and Veterans of America, and, of course, APC spokesperson and citizen activist Chris Hinds, now a city council member in Denver, Colo., among others.

Download “Let’s Make Accessible Parking More Accessible: A Practical Guide to Addressing Disabled Placard Abuse and Other Parking Issues for People with Dis­abilities” at parking-mobility.org/APCguide or on the APC website at ac­cessibleparkingcoalition.org, where you’ll find a host of other resources.  Let’s work together to make parking more accessible.#

HELEN SULLIVAN, APR, Fellow PRSA, is IPMI’s communications counsel. She can be reached at sullivan@parking-mobility.org.

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.