Have you ever had to walk into one of the buildings on the Taylorsville Redwood Campus from way back in the parking lot? That is what it’s like for a lot of handicapped people to go the shorter distance from a handicapped parking space to a building.
The problem for many of these people is that at any given time of day, cars that do not belong to handicapped people are parked in the spaces reserved for handicapped individuals. Most of the time the cars are parked there because people are just waiting to pick someone up, but that does not make it alright. Having a car there makes that parking space unavailable for a handicapped person to park in, so they have to find another place to park.
I have seen someone actually park across three handicapped parking spots to pick someone up. This was the situation almost every day when I had to park at the Lifetime Activities Center for a class. I can walk, but what about students who are in wheelchairs? They need the extra space that handicapped parking spaces provide so that they can safely get in and out of a vehicle.
What really gets to me is when someone who is obviously not handicapped in any way parks in a handicapped spot just because they have a handicapped placard to hang in the window. Some people have them for when they are with a handicapped person. Just because someone has access to one of these placards does not give them the right to take up a handicapped parking spot just so they won’t have to walk so far. Being someone who needs to park in handicapped spot, I would love to be able to just park anywhere.
Another problem that I run into as a handicapped person is when public places are not handicapped-ready like they’re supposed to be. About two weeks ago I spent a decent amount of money for an accessible hotel room. I need one of these rooms because I need bars and a shower bench in the shower. This hotel room that was supposed to be accessible did not have what was needed for me in it. On top of that the door to my room was hard to open, which is a challenge for me and many other handicapped people.
I face a third big challenge when I’m at the store or at a gas station. Sometimes when I am opening a door someone will come up behind me and pull the door out of my hand. This sometimes catches me by surprise and I often almost fall over from the door being pulled out of my hand. I figure that half the time it’s someone who thinks they are helping me, but the other half of the time it’s someone who is being impatient because I move kind of slowly.
These problems happen all over the city and everywhere else I go. I never noticed them before I was handicapped (one of my legs had to be amputated), but they are very noticeable now that they affect me. People need to take a minute and think about the problems they are making for handicapped people when they don’t respect their needs.