Home Opinions Why handicapped-accessible parking is not for you

Why handicapped-accessible parking is not for you

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Illustration by: Israel Gonzalez | Staff Illustrator

When living with a disability, close parking is a godsend.

For people with conditions that make walking excessively painful or even life-threatening, reserved parking near a store or building is necessary. The problem arises when people see open spots in a parking lot and decide they can get away with using one of these spaces reserved for the impaired.

Commandeering handicap-accessible parking spaces is not only simply wrong, but seriously immoral and offensive to people who find it necessary to have closer parking spots. It should be as simple as leaving a spot for someone who needs it, rather than taking up the space because someone is too lazy to walk an extra 50 feet.

One would believe it is common knowledge and, furthermore, a common courtesy to think of someone else’s needs above one’s own wants, but this kind of issue happens very often.

At Texas State, there has been a huge problem with students taking handicapped-accessible parking in an attempt to walk a shorter distance to their classes. This behavior, which is almost too ludicrous to believe, is said to be very true by University Police Officer Otto Glenewinkel.

“In the past, there has been a large amount of people that have used handicap parking spaces illegally,” Glenewinkel said. “I believe the amount of placards seized by us (Texas State UPD) is higher than anywhere else here in Texas.”

Aside from the immorality of the offense, stealing parking spaces from people who live with disabilities is also criminal. A person can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor for parking a car in a disability spot without having a placard given by a physician. Generally, UPD was called to deal with these kinds of disputes, but Parking Services has been in charge of spotting, responding to and dealing with anyone illegally parked in a handicap-accessible space.

One of the frequent complaints about this issue is misuse of parents’ placards. For example, say a person uses his or her parent’s car for a trip to the grocery store and parks in a reserved space because the parent’s vehicle has a placard—that is still illegal and immoral.

Those who use another person’s placard receive the same charges as those who park without one. Worse yet, those using their parent’s placard could have it confiscated.

A person’s laziness can cause something their parents may need to be taken away, which is wrong on so many levels.

Simply taking away a parking space from someone in need is deplorable and wrong, but it can also have some serious repercussions.

Before people take a handicap-accessible parking space, they should really evaluate what they are doing, as their actions can harm the people who depend on these reserved parking spaces. Compassion should overlook the laziness or discomfort of a few extra feet of walking.

1 COMMENT

  1. In addition to campus enforcement efforts, taking this kind of behavior off campus is being addressed by Hays County. The Parking Mobility program allows citizen volunteers to issue citations to people who illegally use accessible parking spaces using a smartphone app. In addition to providing support for citizen volunteers, the Parking Mobility program provides an offender education course aimed at reducing recidivism. Accessible parking is not a convenience. It helps protect the health, safety and right to access for people who have health or mobility issues. It is also an economic issue for communities. When people who need accessible parking can’t park safely they can’t spend money in local stores. To learn more about the program or to get involved, check out http://www.parkingmobility.com/volunteer

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