“Just a Minute…” is 60 seconds too long!
We all know that accessible parking is reserved for people with disabilities who have a permit, placard or accessible parking plates. We also know where accessible parking is typically located on level ground and close to an accessible entrance to a store, restaurant, or recreational event. Most accessible parking spaces have an extra “hashed off” area to the right or to the left of the parking space. This additional space serves as an access aisle. Those aisles are needed to permit a person using a wheelchair, electric scooter, or other mobility device to get in and out of their vehicle safely and independently.
Everyone knows if you don’t have a permit, it is illegal to park in accessible parking spaces; however, we all have witnessed someone without a permit parking in an accessible parking space. Let’s face it – it is so convenient to run into a store for just a minute to grab something quick. Yet, “just a minute” is 60 seconds too long. There is usually a person with a disability who is looking for an accessible parking space by the time that person runs in and out of the store. This scenario also applies for parking in the yellow striped access aisles. The most common issue usually happens when a wheelchair user is ready to leave but have no way getting into their vehicle due to the access aisles being blocked by a car, motorcycle, or shopping carts.
So when accessible parking and/or access aisles are used illegally, it forces people with disabilities who need those parking spaces to wait until parking is available or have to park at the very end of the parking lot. This can easily frustrate them because they have to use up more time and energy to get in to a store. It is especially difficult in times of bad weather such as rain or snow.
So let’s do the courteous thing by showing our respect and never parking in an accessible parking space unless you have a permit, placard or accessible parking plate. Also remember to never park in the striped access aisles next to accessible parking spaces even if you have a permit or plates.