Tag Archives: handicap parking

Real-life Experience with Van-accessible Parking Stalls

By Diane Santiago, CAPP

As a paraplegic who drives a ramp van, whether I am driving to a hospital, college, airport, or shopping area, one of my biggest anxieties is driving to a parking facility and looking for a van-accessible ADA stall–especially if I am driving alone. Many lots do not have sufficient accessible stalls in general, let alone van-accessible stalls.

The difference between a regular ADA stall and a van stall is the size of the access area. Van-accessible stalls have an 8-foot access area and regular ADA stalls have 4-foot access areas. I’ve even been in parking lots that have no access areas next to the stall (what are the parking lot managers thinking?). In case you are unaware, the access area is important to give customers with walking disabilities extra room to open the car door or, in the case of ramp vans, an area for the 5-foot ramp to deploy and then space for the person to exit the ramp in their wheelchair without running into the neighboring parked car. Without the access area, I am unable to exit or enter my van.

Keep this in mind when restriping your lot with ADA stalls. I’m sure many of you have lots with the exact amount of regular and van-accessible ADA parking stalls required by law, but keep in mind you can always go above and beyond by adding a few extra stalls or at least additional van-accessible stalls. The ADA community will really appreciate it.

Here is a U.S. Department of Justice download explaining the required number of ADA stalls, size of the stalls and access area next to the stalls.

Diane Santiago, CAPP, is manager, landside operations, at the Port of Seattle.

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

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.