Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Why Aren't Handicapped Parking Spots Always the Best Place To Park?

I don't get out a lot these days, other than for doctor's appointments.

But my internist did do the paperwork for me to get a handicapped parking pass, and I occasionally make use of it for things like pharmacy runs, particularly at stores that are generous enough to provide those motorized scooters for those of us with mobility issues, or the occasional small errand.

But I'm routinely surprised that the handicapped parking places often are farther away from the door of a retail establishment than "normal" ones.

Of course, I never noticed that before I could legally park in them. In my healthy days, it often seemed like the only good spots were handicapped spots, although that was mostly because they often were empty while the close-in regular spots were full.

I know that for some folks who need those handicapped spots, the key for them is the extra room around the parking space that makes it easier for them to load and unload a wheelchair or other assistive device. For them, maybe it doesn't matter if the closest handicapped space is 8-10 slots away from the door instead of directly in front of it.

But for me, the extra steps involved to get to the door often impact whether I can actually run my errand or not. And how bad I feel afterwards.

When I visited the Comcast Cable office in Beaverton recently, I was amazed that there were literally no handicapped spots near the customer service entrance of the building. The other end of the building, where I assume employees enter, had a couple spots, but none where I needed to go.

I was just there to pick up a digital cable box, which I thought was an in-and-out errand since I'd set it all up on the telephone. But no. It was like going to the DMV and waiting a long time for my number to be called. To top everything else off, although there were chairs to wait for your number to be called, once it was your turn, you had to stand at a high counter while being served. And of course, nothing had been done over the phone like I thought, so by the time I was done, I thought I was going to pass out and had to sit down in the lobby again before I could hike out to my car. Ugh.

Meanwhile, I'm learning to be more observant in parking lots. Scott and I recently drove separately to a doctor's appointment for Ellie since he was coming from work and I was coming from home. We followed each other from the daycare center, and I of course headed for the handicapped spot in the crowded parking lot. Scott took his time, looked around a bit and found a spot just two slots down from the door. My spot, the nearest marked handicapped to the door, was at least eight slots the other direction.

I've also noticed that at Ellie's daycare center. There's five or six really good spots for loading/unloading the kids directly in front of the door. But if you park in one of their handicapped spots, you've got a much longer walk to the door.


Anonymous said...

Oh give me a break. Soccer Moms like you are what is KILLING this country. What is WRONG with someone who cant birth a child normally and needs cripple spots to park in and THEN bitches about them not being CLOSE enough.

Get a real life lady, I might just park in a crip spot just because of you

Aviva said...

Ok, so where did you get the idea I didn't birth a child normally? I had a normal vaginal birth, thanks for asking.

And it's a little hard to be a soccer mom when your only kid is 3 and too young for soccer.

But thanks so much for your meaningful insights. Gotta love it when people are abusive but hide their identity.

Anyway, read a little closer next time so you get your facts straight. And I sure hope you get a $500 ticket for parking illegally in a handicapped spot if you do so. :)

Jani said...

I wonder if Anonymous is related to the person who once left a note on my car's windshield reading "Leave these spaces for people who NEED them, lazy b****." The car was parked outside a music club. Anonymous apparently concluded that no one attending a show at this place and driving a red convertible would possibly have difficult health issues.

"Soccer Mom," apparently you and I are supposed to be huddling on park benches watching life pass us by.

Forgive me, Anonymous, for wanting to have a life!

Aviva said...

hey Jan! Thanks for your support and comment! I have to admit, I was taken aback the first time I saw a handicapped sticker on a motorcycle and wondered what could make you so sick or handicapped to qualify for the parking pass but still allow you to be able to control a Harley.

But even then in my healthy days, I knew full well that there are plenty of invisible illness that can leave you unable to walk very far. I think I was just jealous because my old shoulder injury made it impossible for me to have my own motorcycle like I always wanted. I took the motorcycle safety class, but it was just too hard on my shoulder and wasn't confident I wouldn't find myself somewhere out and about with my shoulder too tired and sore to be able to ride home safely.

Jani said...

My pleasure, Aviva. I stumbled on your blog while looking for info on placing HC spaces near residences for a community issue. After reading another blog in which a wheelchair user ranted about perfectly healthy-looking, but overweight, people "scamming" to get tags because they were lazy, I had enough adrenalin running to get really ticked at "Anonymous."

Keep posting!