I am a Burnaby citizen with a disability (wheelchair user).
I would like to bring attention to Accessible Parking Awareness Month and International Day of Persons with a Disability (PWDs) on December 3.
I am quadriplegic who drives a van with a lift and I can’t count the number of times I circled a parking lot over and over looking for an accessible parking spot.
When I do manage to find an accessible spot, it is often too narrow to exit my vehicle from my ramp, or if I do try to exit I often encounter barriers such other vehicles parked too close, shrubs, walls, snow, etc.
This is not a simple inconvenience. It is a hazard and cause for me to return home. This means I am left out of participating in the event, store and appointment I wanted to go to.
Other times I have tried to exit my vehicle and I’ve gotten stuck or injured and a passerby has kindly helped me. Social exclusion can be a frustrating and lonely experience.
So that people like myself will one day no longer have to worry about such things that most people take for granted, please consider the following:
Have you ever parked illegally in a designated accessible parking spot?
Have you ever used someone else's accessible parking permit or one not legally authorized for your use?
Some things you should know:
1) Accessible parking permits are only for people with disabilities and are not to be lent or given to anyone else for any reason.
2) If the permit holder doesn't leave the vehicle at a destination the vehicle must be parked in a regular parking spot, not in a designated accessible spot.
3) Accessible parking permits are not inherited by anyone, even a mate.
4) If the permit holder is able to walk a short distance he/she/they should consider leaving the Accessible parking spot for someone in a wheelchair or other mobility device. They need the wider space.
5) Many disabilities are invisible. Appearances can be deceiving. If you think you qualify for a permit check with your doctor's office or SPARC BC their email is: email@example.com
Please be thoughtful, considerate and responsible.
While some may think having an accessible parking permit is a “perk,” those of us who have one wish we didn't need one.
Rod Bitz, Burnaby