Trying to find handicapped parking can be like finding a needle in a haystack. The Americans with Disabilities Act has regulations for the number of accessible spaces for a parking lot. Unfortunately, only one handicapped space is required for a parking lot with 25 spaces. At times, it’s nearly impossible to have a place to park with so few spaces available and the increased demand.When going to Walmart, it’s very likely that I won’t get a spot near the front of the store. I usually park farther away from the entrance. Often times, shopping carts are left in the access aisles, or even worse, people believe that they can park in those areas.
Access aisles provide additional space for people with wheelchairs and other mobility devices to have enough room to enter and exit their vehicles. If I see someone leave their shopping cart in the aisle or park their vehicle in the aisle, I’ll ask them not to park there.
A few months ago, I parked in a handicapped parking space at the hospital and was able to get my wheelchair out without any problems. However, when I returned, there was a car parked too close and I couldn’t get my chair back into the van. A public safety officer was able to look up the owner of the car by the license plate and located the driver. She was asked to re-position her vehicle within that space since she was properly using her handicapped placard.
South Carolina has implemented new legislation stating that placards will have a photo of the intended user. Fines have increased to deter potential violators from parking in these places simply because it’s more convenient. Please help spread the word about the importance of accessible parking for those who really need it.