Thursday, February 5, 2009

Handicap Parking

With the redevelopment of a central city parking lot, regulations to supply handicap access took effect. It really is the right thing to do, jokes about "political correctness" and "too many rules" aside. Here, two parking spaces are specifically designated for specially equipped vans, with side lifts, for wheelchair using people to have room to get in and out of their vehicles. The curb of the sidewalk slopes down to accommodate them as well. I hope if I'm ever disabled, this kind of infrastructure will be in place, to allow me to interact with my community with a minimum dependence on others, with the self-determination that able-bodied people take for granted. I explain all this because readers from some other countries don't yet build this way.

This is another wall of the building you saw here and here.


Bibi said...

Hurrah for designated parking spaces for the disabled. My pet peeve is when other people park there.... I feel like letting the air out of their tires.

Hilda said...

This is so enviable! I don't think I've seen a single vehicle here driven by someone in a wheelchair, much less have a parking slot like this. We do have spaces designated for the disabled, but they're always with family — no independence whatsoever.

Halcyon said...

I am a firm believer in handicapped parking for people who have true handicaps/disabilities. But here in Mississippi, they hand out the stickers like there's no tomorrow. My former boss had one b/c he was so large he couldn't walk very far. It seems to me, the walking would have done him some good!

I must say, there doesn't look like there's much of interest in that building anyway. :-)

Kris said...

There is a bit of an issue with the criteria here in Tasmania. I figure that it must be pretty lax, because I see people with the stickers all the time climbing in and out of huge 4WDs, or jogging to and from their cars.

Some places have spots for parents too, and some people take that to the extreme too. I thought that it was more if you have to strap in babies/littlies, not that you had a baby in 1983!

That said, I'm not shy of asking people "aren't you ashamed of yourself?" when I spot 'em.

I always enjoy doing that!

USelaine said...

Bibi - The fines are pretty stiff for violators. I remember reading an article a long time ago that pointed out that not all disabilities are easy to spot, so if they have a placard, I don't think about it too much. I don't think I've seen an unmarked car abusing the system in a long time.

Hilda - Certainly there are many degrees of disability, and some can't be completely on their own. But most people, I think, would like to do for themselves as much as possible. Many of the adaptations on the vehicles can be pretty expensive, and not everything is covered by insurers, so I expect we still have quite a number of "shut-ins".

Halcyon - Well, the more I read about what science is learning about obesity, the less I judge the individuals. Genetics and thyroids and brain-wiring all have a role. If you're an ectomorph, it isn't because you are virtuous. Likewise, if you're an endomorph, it isn't because you are immoral. If your boss had a heart condition, he couldn't very well become an athlete or otherwise "get with it" to the satisfaction of others. Sorry to be on a bit of a soapbox here, but recent reports have expanded my awareness a bit. This article gives an overview of what we are up against.

Kris - Well then, Australia has us beat. I've never seen anything like "parent parking" here. Surely by the time kids are six or seven, that shouldn't be necessary.

Thanks for commenting everyone!

Halcyon said...

I don't mean to sound like I don't have sympathy for heavy people. I know no one *wants* to be overweight. But my boss came here from Georgia. He did not have any medical condition (besides being morbidly obese). Georgia would not give him a handicapped tag b/c he did not meet their criteria. He was happy to find that Mississippi rules are a bit more lax. Anyway... he's history now!