Straight Striping is proud to be one of the best parking lot striping painters in Phoenix. Parking lot stripes may be something that is overlooked by many, but if you’re anything like our guest blogger today, parking lot stripes are part of your every day independence. We sat down with local Scottsdale resident, wife, dog mom, and business owner, Steph Roach, to talk about her experience with ADA compliance in parking lots. Read on for what Steph had to say…
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990
According to the CDC 61 million Americans live with a disability. That’s about 1 in 4 people. Yet, people with disabilities are often treated like an afterthought. Ask me how I know. I am one of those 1s. The world was not built for us, we must adapt to it and we’ve gotten pretty damn good at it. The average able-bodied American is more likely to know Taylor Swift’s birthday before knowing the year the Americans with disabilities act (ADA) was enacted.
The year was 1990. I was born 6 months before it was put into law. I have essentially lived my entire life with the protection of the ADA. I was born with cerebral palsy. Cerebral Palsy is the most common motor disability and is diagnosed on a spectrum and as a result I use multiple accessibility devices to navigate my daily life. At any given time, I am either ambulating with forearm crutches, pushing my manual wheelchair or using a power chair to be able to help me get from point A to point B independently. Each device holds a different purpose and each device allows me different levels of independence. There’s one other device I have access to that I will never take for granted. I am an adaptive driver who requires the use of a ramp van; her name is “Betty White”.
When You Block an ADA Access Lane, You Take Away My Independence
I have been driving since I was 19 and while there’s definitely a few manuals you are given before getting your license there’s no manual that teaches you how to handle situations when someone parks too close to your passenger side leaving you stuck because you can’t use your ramp to get in or out of your vehicle. We all know these spaces, accessible parking spaces that have an access aisle. (|\\\|) The lines are placed like that for a reason. It’s to provide free space so that someone using an accessibility device can get in and out safely. A ramp deployed from a van requires at least 8 ft. of space. When an able-bodied person parks their car, places their empty cart or idles their car in that spot to go get their takeout order, they are hindering someone like me and taking away our independence.
There have been many times where someone has parked in the access aisle leaving me to have to ask complete strangers to move my van for me. This is not only frustrating and awkward but also a huge safety concern. I have been lucky enough to find good people to help me when I’ve needed to ask but, the reality is it should never have to be a topic of conversation in the first place.
The world was not built for us and that’s something we adapt to every day. We shouldn’t have to continuously remind people that our independence is just as necessary as everyone else’s. Please stop using the accessible spot access aisle when you don’t need it. The stripes were painted in the parking lot like this for a reason. In an average parking lot, able-bodied people have dozens of spots to choose from. Keep the ADA access aisles clear. You never know whose independence you are stealing, even if it’s “just for a minute!”
On a final note, you may notice that we haven’t used the term “handicap parking” in this article. The reason for that is that the term “handicap” is considered to be outdated and unacceptable when referring to people or accessible environments. The ADA has an entire page dedicated to teaching us which words to use or not use when talking or writing about people with disabilities. Give Steph a follow on Instagram to learn more about what it’s like to live, love, work, and run a business with Cerebral Palsy. And of course if you own a business in Scottsdale, Phoenix or anywhere in Maricopa County and your parking lot could use a refresh, give us a call.