New standard on disabled parking leaves users dissatisfied
Roy and Jennifer Edgar at one of the new disabled car spaces in the City. Photo: Melissa Adams
Life was pretty tricky for Roy and Jennifer Edgar. But it's become a lot harder since the ACT government introduced new standards for disabled parking spaces.
Previously, accessible parking spaces were a wider version of a normal parking spot. But changes in 2011 saw the spaces tightened and a new ''shared zone'' introduced in the centre. A bollard was placed to prevent other motorists parking in the new space.
At first glance, it seems like a clever method to provide extra room for users. But the change has infuriated patrons.
A survey, conducted by the ACT Human Rights Commission and published on Thursday, showed a high level of dissatisfaction with the new national standard for off-street parking for people with disabilities.
Fifty-two per cent of the 103 respondents rated the new parking as ''poor'' or ''very poor''. Half said they had to change the way they used parking as a result of the changes and 30 per cent found the spaces less accessible.
Mrs Edgar suffers from the neurological condition eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome and relies on a wheelchair for mobility. The Edgars's vehicle is fitted with a hoist at the rear of the car to get Mrs Edgar in and out.
But the new spaces often force Mr Edgar to reverse the vehicle, causing boot access problems.
''It's unreasonable to expect disabled people to reverse to use parking that's supposed to make their lives easier, '' Mr Edgar said.
Mr Edgar said governments are not required by law to introduce the standards. Calling on the ACT to abandon the plan, he has taken the problem to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal, and wants the old oversized spaces reinstated. ''If we can't use them, what's the use of them?''