We've all been there, driving around in search of the perfect parking spot, only to be greeted by a sight that instantly dampens our spirits—a poorly parked car. It seems like bad parking has become an epidemic that plagues parking lots and city streets alike. It is doubly frustrating when this occurs with accessible spaces due to their limited availability. Of course, there is always an excuse: “Nobody is using it,” “I’m waiting for somebody,” “I’ll be quick,” and “It was the only spot available.”
The Crooked Parkers:
Ah, the crooked parkers, masters of the diagonal park or the "I-just-don't-care" attitude. These individuals manage to park their vehicles at a 45-degree angle, occupying two spaces instead of one. They have a blatant disregard for others needing to park.
The Space Invaders:
You finally spot an open parking space, but as you approach, you realize it's not so empty after all. The space invaders are notorious for parking their vehicles partially or completely over the lines, encroaching on the adjacent spots. They park in the striped access areas making it impossible to exit the vehicle, or worse, re-enter the vehicle, leaving you to wait until the violator finally returns. Yes, this includes you motorcyclists and bikers.
The Sidewalk Occupiers:
Who needs to walk on the sidewalk, right? The sidewalk occupiers take it upon themselves to extend their parking privileges onto the pedestrian walkways, making life difficult for those on foot. As a result, pedestrians are forced to maneuver around these vehicles, venturing onto the road and risking their safety. For those using assistive walking aids or wheelchairs, there may not be enough room to maneuver, or a curb cut to access the road.
Construction Material Hogs:
This category goes beyond mere inconvenience. When work is being done inside a building, the closest and easiest spot to store materials are in the accessible parking spaces. Many times, these are heavy objects that cannot be moved for the person needing the parking spot. These spots are tempting for contractors and workers who are just doing a quick visit on the site.
Bad parking is not only a nuisance; it affects the overall flow and harmony of our daily lives. It leads to frustration, wasted time, and even potential accidents. Signing and striping seem to have no effect on the most discourteous that live among us. Encourage your municipal and county governments to perform educational campaigns and establish a hotline to report violators. Accessible parking spaces must be provided and comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Do your part. Do not be a bad parker!
Pat Herman, MURP, AICP, is the Special Projects Planner for the Center for Disabilities in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. During her 9 years at the Center, Herman has worked in a variety of areas including community outreach, transition clinic, management, human resources, National Core Indicators, marketing, veterans’ affairs, employment, and event planning. Herman serves on the Rocky Mountain ADA Center Advisory Board.