Parking Wars

It’s always an adventure trying to find handicapped accessible parking at restaurants,  stores and other places. It’s even more of a challenge when the members of the local chapter of the South Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Association are convening for our monthly meetings and looking for places to park. There is a caravan of caravans every time we get together.

At Golden Corral this evening, we arrived early to scope out the next available spots. According to South Carolina law, only one handicapped space is required in a 25-space lot. The Golden Corral lot probably has 50 or more spaces with approximately six handicapped parking places.

In addition to not having enough spaces, there aren’t enough spaces designated as “van accessible”. Such spaces have larger access aisles allowing those of us in wheelchairs to have ample room to maneuver our wheelchairs in and out of the vehicles.

We use these opportunities going around town to educate the community on accessibility accommodations and to show the public that nothing is impossible when living with a disability. Hopefully, through our activism, the number of handicapped parking spaces will increase and allow others with disabilities to better socialize in the community.

About Tuesday Talk With Alex

Born in Charleston, SC, I was injured in a motor vehicle accident when I was nine months old. I acquired a C5-C6 spinal cord injury. I'm now 30 years old and I do not let my disability deter me from acheiving my goals and enjoying life. I will be sharing my experience of living with a spinal cord injury.
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7 Responses to Parking Wars

  1. Sarah Haislip says:

    Alex, I saw this on Facebook and was wondering about the handy-cap parking. It really infuriates me when I see capable people getting out of their cars and walking up to stores just fine. A lot of people (I feel) have the ability and don’t think about people who ARE handy-capped. A lot of people are so lazy and don’t want to walk. Of corse, they could always have bigger spaces and more of them as well. I have always admired you for being such a strong person and not ever letting it get in your way of life. I hope you are doing well! You have always been such a wonderful person and an inspiration to all.


    • Thanks, Sarah! There are some people who abuse the right to park in “handy-capped” spaces. However, there is a greater need for more spaces for legitimate situations. I’m hoping legislation to have more spaces availble for people with disabilities!


  2. This does not surprise me Alex!!!! There are a LOT of inequities that you are bringing to light!!!! Just continue doing so, and things WILL change!!!!!!! Am PROUD of you and Love you lots!!!!!
    Aunt Phyllis


  3. Good example of a new restaurant within code probably based on the number of spaces you described. The issue is that by 2030 something like 40% of our population will be of retirement age. Common sense would tell you that having only 4% designated as ‘ACCESSIBLE PARKING’ is not going to be enough. Our older population generally does not need ‘VAN ACCESSIBLE’ Parking. Most are clueless as to the purpose of the striped off area between spaces. Some think it is just another parking space. With the newer codes, VAN ACCESSIBLE is simply a parking space that is either 8′ wide with an 8′ wide striped aisle next to it or more PREFERABLY 11′ with a 5′ Aisle. (1 out of 6 are required to be VAN ACCESSIBLE and are required to be properly marked as such.) 2 spaces can share the aisle and it doesn’t have to be on the right, but should be for a VAN because that’s where the lift is usually. Another big issue is that often these ACCESSIBLE PARKING SPACES are too steep (more than 2%). Inspectors are now finally using Laser Levels to check! Progress! In the restaurant’s defense they did what they had to do. Often with advance notice, they could cone off extra spaces possibly. If the restaurant was wise they would add more ACCESSIBLE spaces. They often cater to an older population. Hospitals require a larger percentage! You should contact the restaurant with this issue but know that they’re probably within regulation first and convince them that it is the “right thing” to do! (Also there is a trick of taking two spaces and parking diagonally.) We should also advocate for more spaces at a federal level. NOW!


  4. celiadyer says:

    Had dinner with friends in Atlanta at an otherwise wonderful neighborhood Italian restaurant. I suppose it has “grandfathered” ADA compliance approval for wheelchair accessibility. My friend’s husband (high para, motorcycle accident at GA Tech 20 years ago) entered through the kitchen after wheeling across a ramp barely wider than his chair. No complaints from him, but just sayin’…

    Another friend and her husband recently flew to France from Atlanta’s brand new International Terminal — oops, no curb cuts! They got some TV coverage and the problem fixed. Hartsfield Jackson Int’l Airport said they assumed wheelchair travelers would be “dropped off” curbside. (This multi-million mile traveler drives his family to the airport like everyone else). #fail

    Keep up the good fight, Alex!


    • No such thing as “grandfathered”, a misconception by many. Barrier removal is an ongoing obligation. It’s even more frustrating when the entity has newly opened or recently been renovated! Yep, big fail with the airport. Keep noticing! Anyone can make a difference! Thanks!


  5. caleb ray says:

    Hey Alex i have been to that golden corral, and seen the spaces and your right their is not enough van assessble spaces how did it go did you talk to the anager what did they say? i think you guys showing up showed those folks that you guys are out in force.


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