Taking Advantage of the Situation
One of the hotter topics currently on the CPARK-L parking listserv concerns ADA parking privileges and potential abuse thereof. It seems that a parking czar was confronted with an individual who had two ADA placards. The possessor of the placards stated that they had received a new one, but in their state it was okay to have multiple ADA placards and since the old one had not yet expired, it was perfectly acceptable to have two. I am not sure of the logic because I can’t quite envision how a single individual could possibly use two of these ducats. In this particular case, the individual was a former member of the United States Marine Corps and had received their injuries while serving in the Middle East.
It can be disturbing when you see someone who is not fully ambulatory. It can make you feel pretty lucky; or at least it should. But it is difficult for someone who does not have any mobility concerns to argue these points with someone who is covered by ADA. It is for me because I have not been forced to experience what it is like. It can be even more uncomfortable when that person became injured while they were putting their life on the line for you. So, most of us step pretty lightly when these situations occur.
The real problem here is that each state out of the 50 all have their own methods of approaching implementation of ADA. What is legit in Pennsylvania, may not be in Florida or California and vice versa. Some states issue the applications centrally out of the state DMV. Others allow it up to the discretion of the county or municipal government and then each one of those within the state has a different placard style and application requirements. There is no universal application that provides reasonable accessible alternatives and controls abuse of the system. It is absolutely necessary to protect resources for those who do need an accommodation of some sort in order for them to compete on a level playing field.
It makes you wonder if there is a way to create some sort of uniform set of guidelines to protect those that need a hand up and identify those who are abusing the system.
Doug Holmes, CAPP