Erin Gildner | Arkansas news, politics, opinion, restaurants, music, movies and art

Erin Gildner 
Member since Nov 30, 2016

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Re: “Handicapped faced with long walk to get to state Capitol on weekends

As someone who lives with a disability and uses a wheelchair for mobility, I commend you for bringing light to this issue. However, I cringe at being called "the handicapped" just like anyone that's not white or heterosexual, or whatever group you're referring to, would hate to be referred to as "the_insert race/ethnicity/sexual orientation/etc. here__." As to someone saying that there are accessible parking spaces around the Capitol, I can assure you that they are hard to come by when a lot of visitors are expected, when it's raining, or around the holidays. Too many people have tags and placards of their own or they use someone else's illegally. I absolutely have to have a space with enough room to load and unload my chair and need the van accessible spaces with the access aisles. Well, many people don't pay attention to the spaces that are marked "van accessible" and take the first spaces available. Many people who don't actually need placards or tags use them because their physician gave them one, when they could have parked in a regular space that was almost as close. This is a major problem for independent people who use wheelchairs and mobility devices. This is a systemic issue without an easy fix. Until the general public understands how difficult it is for someone like me to navigate the world, and why designated spaces should be saved for those who really need it, this problem is not going away. More laws won't solve it either because those aren't usually enforced. Developers and contractors will have to follow the ADA regulations for parking, doctors will have to stop giving placards to people who don't need them, people will have to stop abusing the parking, the public will have to be continually educated and informed, and current laws will have to be enforced. Want to know why this issue is so important? Ride with me for a day to see how much energy and time is spent trying to park and navigate the built environment. Oh, and the Capitol is not the only state building with accessibility issues. The MAC building and all the buildings surrounding the complex are just as bad. But somehow the state feels that complying with federal law costs too much money.

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Erin Gildner on 11/30/2016 at 1:36 PM


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