I'm sure this has been discussed before but I have to say...I am sick and tired of trying to get a handicapp VAN Acessible parking spot and finding a car..with no lift device or ramp...in that parking spot! Do you guys have the same problem and if so, any advice?

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You've hit the nail on the head Cliff. The issue should not be about who has more rights in the disabled sector, the issue should be that the disabled are being overlooked in ADA figures, and this is a matter for lobbying and I'm afraid to say, letter writing.

National census figures must be giving an indication of where the population is at as far as special needs, but all the time we sit quietly and accept that a mere 2% of the bays need to be allocated for special needs, the problems will not go away. In an era where the baby boomers are getting older, and a larger percentage of elderly and disabled are having to be supported by the work force parking has been one area that has been neglected/overlooked.

I have no idea how you would go about it in an effective way, but I am confident that Cliff would be an endless resource of the correct (and most effective) way to get this matter addressed in problem area's (or nationally if need be).

No-one should be made to feel guilty about using a disabled bay if they have a placard, but all the time the spots are as rare as hens teeth there are always going to parents that have their day made a little bit worse because of the lack of safe parking available to them.

Following this discussion I actively sought to have some of the issues addressed regarding disabled parking at our local shops, and as luck would have it I happened to walk in when the owner himself (who I always thought was a mythical creature as no-one had ever seen him) was in attendence. Needless to say, ten minutes later, and after assessing the situation he gave his personal assurance (and mobile number) that the issues would be addressed - and sooner rather than later.

I guess the moral of the story is unless we let the powers that be know of our dilemma, they are going to go home to their perfect little worlds patting themselves on the back about what a wonderful job they did today. It means wearing your heart on your sleeve, and putting your life and woes out in the public forum, but I think it is a worthy investment to make if it means your days run smoother from thereon in.

Paul Cliff said:
I'm embarassed to admit that I never realized that there were two kinds of handicapped spaces; I usually grab the first available, and if none I'll grab a loading, short term or reserved space, whatever's closest so that I don't have to worry about him falling down if he's working or getting run over if he's on his scooter. Obviously, I'll stay out of the van accessible spaces, hopefully forever. More likely, when Alex needs a chair full time, I'll have no compunction about parking cross wise over as many spaces as I need to unload him.

I think the real problem is that the ADA standard is too low for some locations, for example shopping and entertainment. The law only requires 2% of the total parking (rounded up the closest whole number) be designated as accessible and of those accessible parking spaces, only 1 in 8 (rounded up to the closest whole number) need be van accessible. I've never actually found an open space at a ballgame or amusement park or any place where one would expect to see grandma and grandpa with the grandkids. On the other hand the spaces in my office complex are empty about 95% of the time. Moreover the signage requirement on van accessible spaces is inadequate since there's nothing about it that puts people on notice that the parking space should be reserved for vans only.
I understand that the Township Council or City Council or City Hall is a place to begin. Locally, there has been success in increasing the number of accessible parking spaces, even street side parking.
One boy went to a Town Council meeting to say that the pedestrian walk/don't walk button was at the height for someone who could stand, but not for someone who used a wheelchair. He was successful in having these lowered in the downtown village. He really felt empowered!

Any success stories?
But Tracie we should not have to. Is the point, I feel we need to start a petition or something to send into the the state department, because I feel if a car gets a ticket for parking in a van accessible parking spot that more people will pay attention to it, but there will still be some that won't. But we all need to understand that at times we all feel like it is us against the rest of the world and this is just another issue not many people even think about, we have to help people to understand it is a big one for us.
Tanya

tracie said:
I will keep you and your son in my prayers, Linda. My son is 19 and we have a side-access wheelchair accessible mini-van. When I encounter the situation you're talking about, I pull up to the parking space sideways and let the ramp down in to the spot...then, when Christopher rolls over to a safer area, I pull in and park in the spot. Finding a safer area to wait, while I'm parking the van is not always the easiest task, but we've managed it. Good luck with the surgery....Tracie
I have talked to a few police officers in the past about the whole van accessible and van accessible only signs. According to them (officers in different cities in Texas) it is legal to park anywhere(even in a van only space) if you have the placard. The ONLY is just a suggestion but not the law. They will not write tickets for a car parked in a van only space if they have a placard. My pet peeve is the people who park in the loading and unloading zone. We live in a small town and cars pack our wal-marts accessible spots like sardines!

We bought a rear entry van to avoid these problems. We park in regular spots more than handicapped spots.

As for the people with younger kids not understanding. I agree that alot of times they dont understand, but like someone said, we need to help them understand and guide them. they will understand all too soon. I think alot of times, people with younger kids, are afraid to really think about what is ahead for them and their family. I lived in denial for many years thay my family would have to deal with any of the bad stuff. I just knew a cure would be found in time so we didnt need to think about powerchairs and accessibility and more equipment and so on. Then that time gets here and you dont have a choice anymore. Dont get me wrong, I still hope and pray for that cure, but, unlike alot of parents of younger kids, i dont think about it often or read all the latest research and so on. I have to live with the reality of whats happening in our life now, today......... i dont think my son has another 5 or 10yrs to wait for a cure....

Oh and this is just my .02 worth. please dont jump on me for it.....and just an fyi...my son will be 13 in two months.

--Samantha
I like the idea of calling in the "placard cheaters." There was a sports car with one of the temporary short term placards (which was expired) that kept parking in the only van accessible space in front of our son's PT's office. Also, it was very obvious from all the junk in the car there was no way a handicapped individual could get into or out of this car! I called it into the DMV and guess what, they acted immediately and it was gone 3 days later when we returned and I never saw it again.

I'm getting pretty frustrated with the community college right now also. The campus police are never around and do nothing about even those that park with no permit. There is wide-spread abuse of these handicapped parking spaces by people with placards that are obviously not handicapped. I know not all disabilities can be seen (asthma, joint problems, etc) but a young lady flew out of the car door the other day in 3-inch heeled boots so I feel pretty safe saying she was cheating. I really think some people believe that the "handicapped placard or plate goes with the car." A good friend of mine (who legitimately has a plate told me it was ok for her daughter to park the car in a handicapped space (she is not handicapped) because of the plate!! I gently told her no it wasn't. Now, does the daughter listen - I kinda think not!



Julie Gilmore said:
You raised some valid issues Cheryl, but I just wanted to add something (and I know we are going completely off topic, but hey thats the joy of discussion boards)

Yep the mums of the ambulant boys that don't have to deal with respirators and dressing and feeding have no idea how we feel. They don't know what its like to be so tired and frustrated at the whole situation that somedays you just don't know where to begin. But that is where we should be guiding them, helping them, mentoring them for the road ahead. Maybe if they have this support they will not burnout, as they will be prepared rather than shocked like we all were. Maybe we need to give more feedback on discussions that cover issues we no longer have to deal with, and give them the benefit of our experience - strive to make this a journey where they feel supported and encouraged by the many that have walked the path before them. Share our mistakes without feeling like the world will crucify us for them, so others don't have to learn that lesson the hard way too. And when they make comment on matters they don't even understand, rather than belittling them maybe we need to see it for what it is, a friend trying to offer help to someone in need. We don't always get it right, so it's unfair to expect them to.

As far as the parking bay issues go, even though these mums don't have EWC's and ramps/hoists, a lot of them are having to do manual transfers, and this also needs a wider bay, as you have to be able to get the car door open fully in order to do a correct lift (and not put your back out in the process). So they have perspectives on issues that we may have forgotton all about. I know it took this discussion to remind me of those horrible days when it was pouring with rain, and I had to first of all put the manual wheelchair together (whilst trying to hold an umbrella) and then get Mitchell out of the car, without the wheelchair seat getting too wet, and not poking him in the eye with the umbrella that was wedged precariously between us...... none of this can be done in a standard width parking bay, which is why I suspect some of the vehicles parked in van accessible spots are there.

Yes there will always be the inconsiderate people that think their needs are greater than anyone elses, we have huge issues here with non placard vehicles using disabled bays as "5 minute parking spots". For a long time it used to make my blood boil and I would find myself daydreaming about how great it would be to kick their headlights in, or let their tyres down so they could be as inconvenienced as I had been, but in the end I realised that the only person that was going to have their day ruined was me - they didn't care, that's why they parked there in the first place.

So now I just make the call and get them booked in the hopes they wont do it again. I used to also carry little cards that read: "I didn't know ignorance was now a recognised disability however please refrain from using the bays until your sticker (placard) arrives..." They probably screwed it up and threw it away, but it made me feel better that I had done something and shown them that not everyone is impressed with their selfish behaviour....
Tanya, I completely agree that we shouldn't have to. I was just responding to Linda's description of pulling in to a spot partially and letting her son out. I was suggesting letting the ramp down into the parking space from the side so that she's not having to let her son out in the traffic lane. This is just what I do when I have no other choice. I have made so many phone calls about illegal parking that I'm sure they see me on caller ID and roll their eyes. When Christopher was in high school, I would go to pick him up and have to get out of my car, walk up to parents parked in the handicapped spots, and ask them to move. They would react with total disgust and say that they were only there for a few minutes, waiting for their child to come out! One mom even told me to get a life. The campus security officers would go right by on their golf carts and never do a thing when they saw cars with no placards in the spots. I sometimes resorted to taking out my cell phone and very obviously taking pictures of the car and license plate. At one of Christopher's doctor's offices, the owner of the building would park in the hash-marked area of the handicapped spot. I spoke to him and the doctor spoke to him and he continued to do it. One day, I backed into the spot as close as I could to his car and deployed the ramp on the other side. I had to get out on the passenger side of the van. He couldn't get into his car while we were in the office. I finally filed a complaint with the office of disability services. They sent someone out to take photographs and they cited him for all sorts of violations. He was an architect and said that he didn't have to comply with their order. They fought back and forth and I don't know what ever happened because Christopher stopped seeing that doctor. I have little notes that I put on the windshields of people parked in handicapped spots without placards. They have the little blue wheelchair graphic and they say, "You took my parking spot, would you like to have my disability too?"

Tanya Fleming said:
But Tracie we should not have to. Is the point, I feel we need to start a petition or something to send into the the state department, because I feel if a car gets a ticket for parking in a van accessible parking spot that more people will pay attention to it, but there will still be some that won't. But we all need to understand that at times we all feel like it is us against the rest of the world and this is just another issue not many people even think about, we have to help people to understand it is a big one for us.
Tanya

tracie said:
I will keep you and your son in my prayers, Linda. My son is 19 and we have a side-access wheelchair accessible mini-van. When I encounter the situation you're talking about, I pull up to the parking space sideways and let the ramp down in to the spot...then, when Christopher rolls over to a safer area, I pull in and park in the spot. Finding a safer area to wait, while I'm parking the van is not always the easiest task, but we've managed it. Good luck with the surgery....Tracie
Tracie

I love the wheelchair graphics you put on the cars. You should sell them. I know I would buy them.
Michelle
Michelle, I can't take credit for this little note...someone years ago had it available online for free. It may have even been someone on the Parent Project website, but I think it might have been from www.wheelchairjunkie.com. If you like, I can e-mail it to you and you can print some out for yourself. I have them in a Word document, 3 to a page. Tracie

Michelle Scaglione said:
Tracie

I love the wheelchair graphics you put on the cars. You should sell them. I know I would buy them.
Michelle
Tracie,

What a great web site. I thought the following was a good article and felt others here might enjoy it.

Janine

http://wheelchairjunkie.wordpress.com/2009/01/20/follow-andys-grand...
YOU GO GIRL!!! I WANT SOME OF THOSE NOTES.

tracie said:
Tanya, I completely agree that we shouldn't have to. I was just responding to Linda's description of pulling in to a spot partially and letting her son out. I was suggesting letting the ramp down into the parking space from the side so that she's not having to let her son out in the traffic lane. This is just what I do when I have no other choice. I have made so many phone calls about illegal parking that I'm sure they see me on caller ID and roll their eyes. When Christopher was in high school, I would go to pick him up and have to get out of my car, walk up to parents parked in the handicapped spots, and ask them to move. They would react with total disgust and say that they were only there for a few minutes, waiting for their child to come out! One mom even told me to get a life. The campus security officers would go right by on their golf carts and never do a thing when they saw cars with no placards in the spots. I sometimes resorted to taking out my cell phone and very obviously taking pictures of the car and license plate. At one of Christopher's doctor's offices, the owner of the building would park in the hash-marked area of the handicapped spot. I spoke to him and the doctor spoke to him and he continued to do it. One day, I backed into the spot as close as I could to his car and deployed the ramp on the other side. I had to get out on the passenger side of the van. He couldn't get into his car while we were in the office. I finally filed a complaint with the office of disability services. They sent someone out to take photographs and they cited him for all sorts of violations. He was an architect and said that he didn't have to comply with their order. They fought back and forth and I don't know what ever happened because Christopher stopped seeing that doctor. I have little notes that I put on the windshields of people parked in handicapped spots without placards. They have the little blue wheelchair graphic and they say, "You took my parking spot, would you like to have my disability too?"

Tanya Fleming said:
But Tracie we should not have to. Is the point, I feel we need to start a petition or something to send into the the state department, because I feel if a car gets a ticket for parking in a van accessible parking spot that more people will pay attention to it, but there will still be some that won't. But we all need to understand that at times we all feel like it is us against the rest of the world and this is just another issue not many people even think about, we have to help people to understand it is a big one for us.
Tanya

tracie said:
I will keep you and your son in my prayers, Linda. My son is 19 and we have a side-access wheelchair accessible mini-van. When I encounter the situation you're talking about, I pull up to the parking space sideways and let the ramp down in to the spot...then, when Christopher rolls over to a safer area, I pull in and park in the spot. Finding a safer area to wait, while I'm parking the van is not always the easiest task, but we've managed it. Good luck with the surgery....Tracie
Janine, I'm glad you enjoyed the site! The people there have been so helpful through the years. When we were looking at ordering Christopher's first wheelchair, years ago, I was able to learn so much about the different chairs and what the pros and cons were. Mark E. Smith, the developer of the site, is an amazing man and has an awesome perspective on life. He has cerebral palsy and and hasn't let it hold him back one bit.

Whoever would like the parking notes e-mailed to them, just e-mail me at Tracie@ChristophersCommunity.com and I'll send you the document.

Janine said:
Tracie,

What a great web site. I thought the following was a good article and felt others here might enjoy it.

Janine

http://wheelchairjunkie.wordpress.com/2009/01/20/follow-andys-grand...
Tracie,
They sound perfect...I'd like them, too.
Laurie


tracie said:
Michelle, I can't take credit for this little note...someone years ago had it available online for free. It may have even been someone on the Parent Project website, but I think it might have been from www.wheelchairjunkie.com. If you like, I can e-mail it to you and you can print some out for yourself. I have them in a Word document, 3 to a page. Tracie

Michelle Scaglione said:
Tracie

I love the wheelchair graphics you put on the cars. You should sell them. I know I would buy them.
Michelle

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