Parking Thoughts

by Andrew Pulrang: For Complete Post, Follow This Link…

A recent Twitter exchange I participated in briefly got me thinking about Accessible Parking, once referred to as “Handicapped Parking.” The conversation started with a wheelchair user sharing frustration at not being able to find an empty Accessible Parking space. It developed into a discussion of whether there might be better ways to organize and allocate designated Accessible Parking.

The exchange didn’t last long. And it was pretty civil and thoughtful. I bring it up only because even though I use Accessible Parking myself, it’s always been one of the disability issues I am least interested in.

That’s probably because I rarely feel deprived of it, since I don’t go places very much. It’s easy to be blase about an advocacy issue when doesn’t directly affect you too often. When I still traveled a lot for work, especially to bigger cities and government buildings to attend meetings and rallies for disability issues, my need for Accessible parking was far more frequent and acute. But even then availability always felt to me more like luck than a matter of justice. Now, where I live, and given my tendency to stay home unless absolutely necessary, I usually find Accessible Parking when I need it. Plus, the combination of time and, frankly, the work of the Independent Living Center in my hometown, where I used to work and am not on the board, means that most of the Accessible Parking I see and need to use is properly laid out and marked.

Also, for a variety of reasons I have never even been all that upset by improper use of Accessible Parking spaces, or convinced that it is widely abused by people who shouldn’t be using them. It’s wrong of course. It causes problems for disabled people, including me occasionally. But I just can’t get angry about it the way some people do, and the way I get angry about other disability issues.

But this Twitter conversation helped me realize one thing about Accessible Parking as a disability issue: it’s at least unambiguous and fairly easy to understand. As an exercise, I tried to break all of it down into its component parts. For example:

Why do some disabled people need Accessible Parking?

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