Dear Annie: Our son is in a wheelchair. The van we use for his transportation has a ramp that makes loading and unloading simple. But in order for us to use the ramp, we need a handicapped parking space that is next to a wide, striped area. Unfortunately, often someone parks next to us in the striped area before we return to the van, which then makes access to the ramp impossible. We can’t decide whether it’s ignorance or arrogance that makes people do this. Are they not aware that any striped area is a no-parking zone? A few years ago, we were at a local mall at Christmastime, and parking was at a premium. We were fortunate to find a handicapped space near the entrance. When we returned to the van, a car had squeezed into the adjacent blue-striped area. It required leaving my son unattended behind the other vehicle while I pulled my car out. What made matters worse was that mall security was present and did nothing.
It makes my blood boil to see people use the striped areas. Some of these people have handicapped placards or plates, so I guess they think that makes it OK. It does NOT. The striped areas are there to provide safe passage for individuals using wheelchairs, walkers or crutches, and for the less able-bodied to get in and out of their vehicles. The more inclement the weather the worse this problem is. And sometimes even the local police use these areas to park. What kind of an example are they setting? – Seeing Red About Blue
Dear Red: A poor one. We know that some people are dismissive of handicapped spaces and park wherever they want. But most people try to be respectful, so we assume they don’t realize that these adjacent striped areas are intended to be used for ramps, wheelchairs and other necessities. Please, folks, life can be challenging enough for those with disabilities. Let’s not make it harder.