Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

You Gotta Fight, For Your Right, To Parrrrrrrrking

24 Nov 2011I recently wrote about the terrible state of my local hospital's car park at the moment, due to Nepean Hospital's hospital and car park development, which isn't scheduled to be completed until 2013.

Until then, patients, staff and visitors are being fined for illegally parking, they are missing vital appointments, having to park miles away and walk to their destination, and experiencing car park rage, fighting over the last available spaces each day.

The other day, I had to drive my HUSBAND!!! :-) to the hospital for day surgery on his hand, we made sure we left home with enough time to find a parking spot and locate the department he was meant to go to. When we got there however, as usual, I was circling around for what seemed like a pointless feat, to find a parking spot.

I visited all of the disabled spots that I was aware of, which were all taken, of course. Then I got to some that are usually available, but weren't on this occasion. They were occupied by two Fresh & Clean women's sanitary bin, delivery trucks!

The drivers were with the vehicles, so I pulled up and asked if I could use the spot they were in, but the Fresh & Clean employee told me that their regular parking spaces had been lost during the car park reconstruction, so the hospital's security department had given them permission to park in the two adjoining disabled parking spaces.

My husband Todd and I were outraged by this, but as we were running out of time for him to make it to his appointment, we didn't have time to argue the point, so I illegally parked in a space, which was reserved for community vehicle's. I left a note on my car stating that Fresh & Clean had taken the last disabled spots and I was parking here, and if there were any problems, to call me.

After dropping Todd off at the day surgery department, I went straight down to the security office to make a complaint. The female security officer I spoke to was very nice, and said that I could park anywhere I could find a space, as long as I let them know, so I don't get fined. I told her that I didn't think it was right confiscating the little remaining handicapped spaces that the hospital had left from disabled people who need them, for sanitary bin delivery trucks. The woman agreed and said that she would speak to them about doing their deliveries early in the morning, so there will be more spaces available, should someone with a disability require a handicapped parking space.

After Todd had gone into surgery, I left the hospital to run some errands and planned to return once he was back in the ward again later that afternoon, and I was hopeful there would be a disabled spot available. When I returned at around 5pm, I did my all too familiar circle around the car park, to find no spaces available once again.

As I need more room to get my chair down off the roof with my hoist, I find it difficult parking in a regular sized space, so I prefer the extra room in a disabled spot. Because these were all taken, I opted to park in a No Parking zone, which was right next to the disabled spaces. I reversed in, and trying to give myself more room, I left more space on my side for my chair to be released. What I didn't see before reversing was, there were two poles around a water pipe off to one side of the No Parking space, and I reversed straight into them, leaving a lovely big white scratch all along my rear bumper bar.

Now, I'm not blaming the hospital for my careless driving, but it is very frustrating that if they had of supplied an adequate amount of disabled parking spaces in the first place, I wouldn't have had to park illegally, and wouldn't have scratched my car. All I can say is, they're lucky that it was just my car that was damaged, and not me, otherwise, I would be making a lot bigger deal out of the incident.

This type of thing really annoys me, it seems that some people don't recognize the importance of disabled parking spaces, therefore, are taking less notice of them. I have had a similar encounter with a blood delivery vehicle parking in a medical centre's disabled parking space. I wrote a letter to the CEO of that company, and got a reply advising me that it will never happen again.

My view is, if a vehicle is only going to be taking up a space for a short amount of time, i.e. a blood delivery or sanitary bin delivery truck, I think they should park in a loading zone or if they absolutely have to park in a disabled space, have someone remain with the vehicle, giving way to a disabled person. So if someone does come along requiring the space, the car or truck can be moved, allowing the disabled person to park.

Have you ever seen anything similar to this? Would you say something if you saw someone illegally parking in a disabled space? I urge you to do so even if you don't need that space. If everyone speaks up, there will eventually be a greater understanding of the importance of someone with a disability requiring the use of a disabled parking space. They exist for a reason, and people need to know this.

The Fresh and Clean trucks that took the last two disabled parking spaces

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