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Disabled Get The Good Parking

February 24, 2011 Accessibility, Planning & Design 11 Comments

A popular misconception is the disabled get primo parking.

ABOVE: Disabled parking at Quik Trip locations is the farthest parking from the building entry
ABOVE: Disabled parking at Quik Trip locations is the farthest parking from the building entry

Often we do, but other times the location of the wider space and ramp are far from the entrance.

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "11 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    Define “far” – this looks like <100'. The bigger issue here is that there is no ramp at the end of the cross-hatched area to access the sidewalk.

    I understand your concern and the apparent non-compliance with the ADAAG. The one advantage of not being closest to the door is that there is a lot less chance for abuse. If the accessible spaces were right at the front door, I'd expect that at least half of the users wouldn't be handicapped, and would be excusing their abuse with the logic the “they're just running in, and will only be a minute”. . . .

    • Far in this example means farthest, all other spaces are closer. There is a ramp at the end of the sidewalk.

      • Gina says:

        I applaud your restraint Steve. And would simply remind Mr. JZ71 that 100' might as well be 100 miles for some folks. There's actually a reason why the spaces are supposed to be close by.

        • JZ71 says:

          Hey, I didn't say that it was either right or perfect. My reference to <100' is much more global – the corner stores that Steve champions rarely have any designated parking, so every customer has to walk more than 100', not just the disabled, and most grocery stores and big-box discount stores have many designated acessible parking spaces that are more than 100' from their front doors (even if they are the closest ones), to say nothing of the extended travel distances once you get inside the front door! So, if “100' might as well be 100 miles for some folks”, a much better solution would be a drive-thru, not designated parking!

          I do stand by my analysis that putting handicapped parking right at the front door of a mini-mart invites abuse by the able-bodied, since enforcement on this side of the river seems to be non-existent (unlike Illinois' sparodic efforts). Are the disabled better-served by having vacant, designated spaces 50' or 100' from the door or by having occupied (by inconsiderate, in-a-hurry, able-bodied a-hole) spaces 20' from the door? There's literal compliance and practical implementation . . . .

  2. Considering that disabled includes people with mobility and health problems, there's a reason this parking is supposed to be close and easy to access. Perhaps someone needs to remind the business of this fact.

    • RyleyinSTL says:

      While I get what your saying in respect to a Petrol Station I always find disabled parking near the entrance to a Mall, Food Market or similar facility a bit odd. Sure the walk (or roll) to the door might be shorter but you still have to walk/roll around the huge building like everyone else. Presumably if you can do that you should be fine to park as faraway or close to the entrance as the rest of us (providing of course that you have a bigger space to accommodate walkers, wheelchairs, scooters, etc.). I'm more playing the devils advocate than being particularly invested in this line of thinking. Still, I do wonder.

      • Not necessarily.

        Consider something like a Target near where I live. I'm not disabled, but moving around the parking lot is dangerous even with my being able to dodge all the cars who don't bother to look for me. Can you imagine a person in wheel chair, who is at a height below most driver's view our their rear view?

        It's absolutely essential to get the handicapped parking as close to the door as possible.

        As for people with heart or other health problems, if they're close, they're close enough to get into the store, and then use one of the mobility chairs that the stores provide.

        Again, though, they can't necessarily haul butt across a huge parking lot to get to that mobility chair.

        • JZ71 says:

          Four points/responses – one, it's easier (and more likely) for store employees to retrieve the mobility chair a customer leaves in the parking lot if it's closer to the front door. Two, the store-provided mobility chairs aren't always available (in use by other customers), aren't always fully charged and aren't always working. Three, it's sometimes hard to find truly flat spots to locate the accessible spots (so non-motorized chairs won't be rolling around, or worse, away), which results in their being locating away from the front door.

          And four, the fire marshall is the disabled's worst enemy when it comes to providing good accessible parking. Ideally, someone with a disability shouldn't have to cross any traffic to enter the store. For all its problems, the Quik Trip example does provide a protected sidewalk between the vehicle and the front door. In contrast, to provide better access for fire fighting, most shopping centers and big boxes are forced to provide a fire lane in front of the store (even though they're fully-sprinklered!), forcing EVERYONE to cross traffic! You can call it conflicting priorities or the tail wagging the dog, but the reality is that there will always be compromises when it comes to design.

  3. JZ71 says:

    Given that Quik Trip is pretty consistent in locating their accessible parking away from their front doors, it would be interesting to see what sort of response you would get from their corporate office in Tulsa . . . .

  4. Eric says:

    If this is indeed a common practice of QT, then a complaint needs to be filed their corporate office. This is a violation of the ADA and needs to be brought to this stores attention as well as the corportate entity. Making excuses and allowing these violations to go unchallenged reinforces non-compliant design and construction. Smarter sidewalk and ramp designs in combination with good signage and strong enforcement policies are simple and would not add to the cost of the original construction. (http://www.architecturalaccessibility...)


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