Making life better in disadvantaged communities - our thoughts on everything - from Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc.
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I have posed this question in a previous article I wrote in our local newspaper, some years ago in my small community (located on a Indian reservation). Much to my dismay, there was not much of a response, either from the disabled or non-disabled community. Which was somewhat discouraging, but not to the point that I would give up or stop discussing this issue.
For many years I have witnessed how individuals abuse the availability to apply for a mobility impaired parking permit. That allow them to park in designated areas (generally blue) with marked signs. From allowing a family member to use this permit, to agencies who transport disabled persons using the permit when a disabled person is not with them.
My main point in bringing out this issue is to focus attention that, a parking permit and those designated areas were faught hard and lobbied many years ago to allow disabled individuals proper access and independent mobility. For someone to park in these areas without considering the ramifications or problems they are creating by abusing this law, only speaks more loudly that disabled individuals, friends and family members need to enforce these violations by informing law enforcement officials and by educating the public.
My final point and concern in discussing this topic is this. Most communities have limited designated parking areas anyway, so for someone to mis-use this space, would only take away from a Bonified Mobility-Impaired persons access and independence. So think, before you park, you action can have a detrimental result for a disabled person.
Last edited by Willie (2007-03-27 00:32:11)
I think staff members who mis-use disabled parking permits should know better and should be ashamed of themselves.
However, I know that people do have disabilities that are not always visible. They may be able to walk only very short distances or have other problems. So, when I see a person who does not look disabled get out of a car with a permit, I try to give them the benefit of the doubt.
I know it gets cold in North Dakota in the winter, but come on, how hard can it be to walk a few more steps? And people who have a family member with a disability should understand about the difficult getting around in the ice and snow particularly and have better sense than to mis-use parking permits. Everyone always justifies it by "I'll only be a minute and there aren't that many people with disabilities who will need that space anyway"
Mobility parking is very much mecessary for people who are impaired.......Some people may have difficulty walking or troubles breathing such as COPD.......These people should be able to park as close to an entrance or exit as possible.......I t really is a shame when there are people who are not handicapped parking in a handicapped area........Its not easy getting around when your handicapped so special parking is necessary....
I hate to keep harping about this issue, but again today I witnessed a person pull up to a Mobility Impaired Parking space and it just so happens I knew him and yes from my personal experience he in my definition is the one who qualifies for the permit. Well, as I got ready to get out of my vehicle I noticed that he did not get out, but his significant other was the one to get out. This I feel is a violation of using the permit. It is intended for those who NEED and QUALIFY to use the permit.
For this person to allow himself and other persons to misuse this permit, I feel should require him to relinquish this permit. When you knowlingly abuse this document (because it does come with requirements to use, qualifications for eligibility to use, and penalties for violations of the permit).
My final point is that those who meet the eligibility requirements to use the permit should be afforded the benefits and space when they need it. Others who abuse or do not REALLY need the permit are ignorant of the mobility impaired persons independent lifestyle. I love to come and go places, but if I have to park a block away from a business or worry about who will block my doors when I need to get back into my vehicle, this puts a crimp on how I want to live, just as the GENERAL PUBLIC wants to live, without restrictions and barriers.
What do you think about individuals who are mobility impaired being allowed to hand out parking tickets? Well, actually the tviolaters who get the tickets refer them to the court for a hearing. This is being done in one of the Cities in ND. Does anyone know of similar cases in their neighborhood?
I have never heard of this. I think it would have to be controlled somehow so that people cannot just give a ticket to their neighbor who is a jerk they don't like. This is one of the areas we have not talked about too much in our training but some people have a stereotype that all folks with disabilities are somehow better than the rest of us (a sort of a positive stereotype). For example, my friend, Tina, who I think reads this forum, is blind. Tina is an awesome person but she has two faults. She is always late and she complains about everything. I was talking to someone else about her and said, "You know my friend Tina?" and the guy said, "Oh, yes, she's so inspirational. She works so hard, she supports her mother, she travels all over the country. It's so great what she does given her handicap." And I said, "Well, I was going to say that she's kind of a pain in the ass sometimes." (She had just shown up late and we were all waiting.)
Anyway, my point, and I do have one, is that people who are mobility impaired are no less likely to give that rotten neighbor a ticket than anyone else.
I would have to disagree, if I understand you right. For. most of us who are crusaders or coalition supporters for disability rights have no problem, placing a ticket on someone's vehicle if they are abusing the law. In fact my friend who is on the Mayors Committee in a city in ND has as one of his responsibilities serving on the Council is to inforce illegal parking of mobility impaired parking areas. I believe that those of us who are in wheelchairs or have issues with accessibility, like getting in and out of our vehicles. For those to abuse or block a person from having total independence only can add to societies attitude of taking things for granted. As some of the people I have come into contact who are abusing this necessity, not priviledge would say, "I am only going to be in there for a minute". But, they take for granted or don't care attitude that a person who is Mobility Impaired may pull up and need that parking space.
Well, I have to agree with you that is very annoying. Those people who think some how they are above the rules of common courtesy that us mere humans have to deal with really irritate me. There are handicapped parking spaces for a reason. You may only be in there for a minute but because of your selfishness, someone else won't be able to get in at all. I agree, I hate it when people use that excuse.
My point is that most people who do not use the handicapped parking spaces generally take for granted the need for these spaces and the amout of room needed to open a van lift to get in and out of their vehicle. Many times individuals park illegally next to this space, ignoring the signage and again taken for granted someone else's life or how their ineptness has caused lack of independence for someone else.
We as a society need to take a moral stand to enforce mobility impaired parking.
Last edited by Willie (2007-04-28 23:32:36)
What do you think about individuals who are mobility impaired being allowed to hand out parking tickets?
I think people who use mobility impaired parking would be much more likely to see these kinds of violations going on, so I can understand the rationale... but it seems to me there would need to be some kind of requirements to do that... Not, "Oh, you can't walk, here's a book of tickets." I agree with AnnMaria... Just like there are abled people who would abuse that if they could, there are mobility impaired people who would as well... maybe some kind of course or agreement or something first?
I guess my main point in writing up ths topic was to draw interest and have discussion about whether or not Mobility Impaired Parking is a Priviledge or Necessity? There has been discussion from the need for the parking areas to how to monitor the parking areas. But, what I hope you will comment more on: Is the general publics view of Mobility Impaired Parking (those who qualifty under the Federal defintion, including those who cannot walk, use oxygen or require assistance to travel less than 500 feet), that of a Priviledge, meaning that those who use these Parking areas are above the general public or Necessity, meaning those who park in these areas are in need and require these spaces for self independence.
I think most people have the view that Mobility Impaired Parking is a necessity. However, I do know a lot of people who have a very broad view of "their rights". Their opinion is, "I have just as much right to park here as anybody and why should anybody else get special privileges that I don't get?"
My own opinion is that those people are self-centered and fail to consider that other people need those parking spaces or they won't be able to go into the store, restaurant or office at all because they won't have room to get out of their cars or be able to walk to the door.
Unfortunately, and I know it makes me sound ancient to say this, but I think these days people are more and more self-centered and believe they have the right to comfort and convenience and to heck with anyone else.
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Willie, I totally agree with the message you are sending. Personally, I know someone in the Belcourt area that is disabled, mentally, but has no physical ailments that is proud to be able to find handicap parking areas close to his destination. Not a thing wrong with his legs, and probably could use the exercise by allowing those with true mobility trouble to use the limited parking spaces available. Much of ethics with our own Native people has changed, it is a mainstream rat race out there, and a me-oriented world. Traditionally, as people we would not think of misusing privileges, we would shame each other into a higher form of conduct. Our behavior, both orally and physically, was to be of honor. We should try and perhaps try some type of public service announcement over the airways about the issue. With more and more amputations due to diabetes, there will be a need for more accessibility. Some times it takes an elder, that has power, influence and authority to remind us that we need to leave those parking areas for those that truly need them and to be ashamed publicly by our actions if caught using a handicapped parking area when there is obviously no physical need to do so. So an elder on the airways making a public comment may get your point across, we need to voice our elders ethical viewpoints more often to remind our native where we use to be respectful native american people.
That may be true, but I feel that with the help of education, pursuasion, and self-evaluation of everyone, we can make change. If I and others alike who struggle each day to have a life of independence, can let others understand our experiences, then they will have a better understanding of how their inconsideration is effecting others. I know this still may not get to the minds of those who just do not care, but with the help of Law Enforcement and penalties for violaters, people will come to realize their errors.
Last edited by Willie (2007-09-25 00:33:22)