Posts Tagged ‘handicap access’

For all of the “political correctness” going on the world today, it is still commonly accepted to say “handicapped parking” for some reason. I know I am super sensitive to this whole issue, and I know that taints my opinions and what I’m going to write here, but I’m kind of fired up about it at the moment. But the words are not the reason I’m writing; just the reality of the difficulty that people who have disabilities face when parking in public places.  

So even though I ran yesterday and today, continuing my training for the NJ Marathon and raising funds for Push to Walk and people with spinal cord injuries, I must digress for today’s topic.

I brought my new Audi to the dealership today for a defect I consider to be an inherent fault, but the people at Paul Miller Audi in Parsippany didn’t agree. They sent me on my way with an offer I considered less than substantial, and I have resolved not to buy another Audi in the future. But that is not why I am writing this either.

Upon arrival at the dealership, I notice a car parked in the handicapped access grid. I remember seeing this on my last visit as well, but did not speak up. Definitely wrong on my part, so I was determined to say something today. While waiting to see the service manager I had an appointment with, I strolled over to make casual conversation with my salesman. I told him why I was there: because the paint job on my Audi sucks and the Audi rep was going to take a look at it. But then I said, “there’s something else I want to talk with you about.” When he asks what that is, I ask him why there’s a dealership car parked in the handicapped parking access grid in front of the building. As we walk toward the door to see for ourselves, he says, “we were just talking this morning about where to put these 2 cars (motioning toward another car nearby as well).” I said that I know I may seem overly sensitive to the whole issue of handicapped parking and access since my son uses a wheelchair, but parking a dealership car in the access grid is really wrong!

This salesman, nice enough guy, says to me “you’re not supposed to park there? It’s not the space, it’s NEXT to the space.” After I closed my mouth, which had dropped open in disbelief, I said “are you kidding me? do you not know why there are ACCESS grids next to handicapped parking spaces?” We proceeded to have a conversation about WHY there are grids, what their purpose is, why they are placed between spaces, they provide access to the sidewalk, etc. He claimed “I never knew that!”

WHAT????? Are people really this ignorant? (Apparently yes) Do they just not care (I guess they don’t).  So I “enlightened” this guy, and maybe now when he goes to the supermarket, or the mall, or the movies, just MAYBE he’ll look at one of those grids and NOT park there himself. MAYBE. Maybe he’ll actually think about a person who uses a wheelchair and how they need a little extra space to manuever getting in and out of their car. MAYBE I “taught” someone something today.

The next time I drive by that dealership, though, I’ll be sure to look at those handicapped spaces and see who’s parked there. And maybe I should send them the pamphlet that this excerpt came from:

“The striped area next to the parking space is called an access aisle and is strictly off limits for parking to everyone, regardless of whether or not they have a handicapped parking plate or placard. The access aisle must be in place in order to ensure that people who use wheelchairs have room to transfer in and out of their vehicles. Only the handicapped parking space itself is reserved for those individuals who have proper identification on their vehicles (i.e., placard, tag, or plate) indicating that they are authorized to park in these designated areas. The access aisle or striped area next to the parking space is NOT a parking space. Anyone who parks in this area illegally should be reported to a local law enforcement officer.”

Perhaps I should get a lot of these pamphlets and give them out to everyone. Just MAYBE we can “enlighten” a few more people. Wanna help??? GRRRR





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