Law-abiding but oblivious

What’s wrong with this picture?

Nothing, from a legal standpoint. There’s a handicapped parking space, and the non-handicapped driver has parked in the adjoining space.

However, that adjoining space is where the cutaway sidewalk and ramp come up from the parking area.

By parking there, this person has completely cut off access to the pool for anyone confined to a wheelchair.

And I do mean completely. Look how far the front end goes over the ramp.

The parking lot was mostly empty. This person could have parked anywhere.

I spotted this while I was out on my workout walk. Good thing that Tom didn’t want to go to the pool today. We’d have changed into swimsuits, loaded up the car with gear, and then been unable to get his wheelchair around this car. Having a reserved Handicapped spot is no use if you can’t get to the ramp.

Whoever designed the parking area was oblivious to the need to keep the ramp clear. Whoever approved the plans was oblivious to the design flaw.

Whoever parked there today was oblivious to the ramp that was right next to the handicapped space.

I will let someone in the condo management know: They need to make that spot No Parking. 

I hope the condo management responds as well as the folks in our mountain community did today. 

This weekend we had a hard time getting into the clubhouse because of yet another unbeveled door threshold.

I wrote Sunday night to the community maintenance staff, pointing out that the clubhouse door threshold has no bevel and so isn’t a smooth push for a wheelchair. Because the front door itself is extremely heavy I couldn’t simultaneously step on Tom’s wheelchair to lift him over the threshold while holding the door open, and it was too heavy for Tom to hold open on his own. He was wedged between door and door jam while I struggled to push him through. 

Before 9 a.m. today my email had gone to the general manager and the clubhouse manager, and by 9:30 the clubhouse manager had emailed me. He asked for our patience while the repair is made, and gave me a number to call his staff when we are approaching the door so that they can come out and assist us to get Tom inside.

That’s responsive. But, before I pointed it out, nobody had noticed.

I don’t fault people for being oblivious to the needs of people in wheelchairs. You don’t see these details when you can just step right over that threshold or walk right over to the steps down to the pool. 

I hope that by pointing out these little details now, I can help other people who have yet to have a stroke. The same way that all who came before me made it easier for Tom to get around.

Today’s penny is a 1990, the year that the Americans with Disabilities Act became law, after decades of activism that included people in wheelchairs holding sit-ins at federal buildings and blocking streets all night.

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