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New standard on disabled parking leaves users dissatisfied

Date

Michael Inman

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.

Roy and Jennifer Edgar at one of the new disabled car spaces in the City.

Roy and Jennifer Edgar at one of the new disabled car spaces in the City. Photo: Melissa Adams

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?''

 

2 comments so far

  • I have been involved with The Jamison Centre trying to resolve the parking issues for disability parking. The implementation of the National Standards across the ACT have been a little more than a farce.

    3 agencies at least are responsible for applying and interpreting the standards. Parking operations cannot take a complaint against drivers for illegally parking.

    2 different bollards were used and both failed to meet the needs of drivers.

    The new system immediately reduced the number of parking spots by 1/2. People still park over the yellow striped lines and get booked. At Jamiseson the signs aren't moved to demonstrated that t here was only 1 legal park...

    Coles subcontracts trolleys collections at shopping centres. In at least 3 centres trolleys regularly block access to and from the spots. At Jamieson cars parking in disables spots are damaged by loose trolleys. One day I waited for 20 minutes before I could back my car out as 40 trolleys were blocking both the pedestrian access and my car from being reversed.

    Mrs Edgar more complaints are coming! Minister Corbell still saying no problems - what utter irresponsible, uncaring & head in the sand behaviour - shame Simon shame.

    Chief Minister Katie - People With Disabilities will be following this matter up with your office. I will be following it up with ATCOSS, & others agencies!

    Commenter
    GinaKCasey
    Location
    Florey
    Date and time
    December 15, 2012, 3:15PM
    • I just read the ACT Human Rights Report on feedback on disabled parking problems.

      Dismayed to find out that despite having a disability permit issued by the ACT Government that not one person with a permit that I know or myself was asked our opinion. The survey was voluntary, little advertised and if been asked to I and others would have provided our own stamped envelope to provide our responses!

      Of course none takes notice of such a small sample.

      Meanwhile we continue to suffer abuse, wanton disregard for parking laws and disabled spots. Try to find a disability park after hours near a Supermarket on a rainy night - good luck because often we can't find one without them being filled by abled body drivers who says things like - I will only be a minute, ignore you completely or worse still hurl abuse at you for asking them to move their car.

      Commenter
      GinaKCasey
      Location
      Florey
      Date and time
      December 15, 2012, 3:39PM

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