Accessible parking has been a hot topic on ROLLING INSPIRATION social media this past month. Numerous followers voiced their opinions on the abuse of accessible parking. A common issue was the misconception that these parking bays are reserved for convenience. ROLLING INSPIRATION reader Liz Mcgaffin noted:
“Just give wheelchair users space to manoeuvre in and out of their vehicles!”
Numerous shopping centres are attempting to raise awareness about accessible parking bays. In June, Waterstone Village in Somerset West ran a campaign to raise awareness about accessible parking by placing wheelchairs, walkers and signs with common “excuses” on prime parking bays.
Crossing Centre shopping mall in Nelspruit ran a similar campaign, supported by author Tracy Todd. One reader pointed out that Spar on Rosemead Avenue in Cape Town has bays reserved for people with disabilities, mothers with babies and pensioners, although these bays are still used by members of the public at large.
“I was surprised that these bays are also being used by just anyone – which they do unless the parking attendants stop them, which they usually don’t,” said Morag Mackay, sharing the concerns of other readers.
“We are fighting a losing battle. Nobody, not the shopping centre management nor the security guards or parking attendants, worries about it. They are always making excuses for the people who park illegally,” said James MacKenzie.
He related his experience at Club Mykonos in Langebaan, where two cars were parked in the accessible parking bays.
“When I complained, two of the [attendants] came to have a look, had a giggle and said they would try to find the drivers. This under a parking sign that warned the wheels would be clamped and a fine served to release the car. I told them get the clamps but nothing happened,” he said.
Readers also debated whether accessible parking bays should be shared with pensioners or elderly people. Pinkie Madlala noted that although it was better for pensioners to be closer to the mall, they did not need the extra space to manoeuvre a wheelchair.
Nolene Strydom said: “Wheelchairs need the space. Pensioners walk through the entire shopping centre effortlessly. No need for close parking.”
Let us know what you think about accessible parking by emailing comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on our Facebook page.