Last week I had to go downtown to conduct some business at my local city-county building. Normally I am able to find handicapped parking fairly close, and get in and out within an hour or so. Not so this time.
Due to construction (or should I say destruction) the majority of streets around the MAIN local government building are either torn up, or no longer have parking. So I ended up parking two blocks away, and got out my trusty, but getting worn, wheelchair. I went to feed the meter in the handicapped parking place, only to discover that the city has replaced all the meters with new electronic ones. Progress is good, and I think the meters will be an improvement overall.
However, when they replaced the old meters they did not take into account that the new meters have a LCD screen that is at a 45 degree angle to the sidewalk. This isn’t an issue if you are able to stand and look down at the screen, but if you are in a wheelchair, especially if you are of a shorter stature it is impossible to see the screen. Rather than using some common sense, we are talking government here, they simply mounted the new meters on the old poles.
The old meters were designed with the screen perpendicular to the sidewalk, thereby allowing a person to be able to read them from virtually any height. I did contact the city about these new meters and the difficulty they cause persons with mobility issues. The young woman I spoke with was very understanding, and advised that she would pass along my concerns to the contractor that installed the new meters. She also sent me an application to be “parking meter” exempt. I wonder how many of those exemptions will be handed out before the city realizes that if they had simply cut the existing pole down 18-24 inches, it would have prevented the problem in the first place.
While I am on the subject of parking, I went to a local strip mall the other day, and noticed that the handicapped parking was on the opposite side of the parking lot from the stores. I asked the manager of the store I stopped in at if the parking was always like that, and was told, “No.” He told me that handicapped parking once was along the store front curb, right next to the curb ramp, but the property management moved the spots a year ago.
So here you have handicapped parking available to customers, but you are going to require persons that may have difficulty walking, or are in a wheelchair to navigate across a busy parking lot so they can spend money in your client’s business. Makes sense to me – no it doesn’t.