Little progress on disability parking
More than two months after downtown Marion’s absence of handicapped parking stalls was brought to the attention of the city, crews have painted accessible parking insignia on three Main St. parking stalls, but other requirements of federal law are not being met.
One parking stall is in front of Webster’s Auto Service, with no curb cuts nearby.
The other two simply had insignia painted on existing stalls that did not meet federal requirements.
None have signs to indicate they are designated handicapped parking stalls — also a requirement.
Marion resident Kari Newell, whose husband is in a wheelchair, is not the least bit impressed with what the city has done.
“Painting the spot is about a 10% fix,” Newell said. “There is still no ramp access without having to wheel in the street. There is no sign in front of the space, making it visually difficult to see upon approach. There is no space to the left of the designated spot for van or chair access, as it’s against the curb.”
In fact, the Newells might sue.
“We are consulting with an attorney on this,” she said.
Federal regulations require accessible parking spaces to be identified by signs with the International Symbol of Accessibility.
The city did an extensive streetscape project two years ago. Federal law requires that in new construction and alterations, accessible parking must be provided if public parking exists.
Two months ago, the mayor, the former mayor, and the city administrator were surprised to be told handicapped parking spaces had not been part of the streetscape.
Accessible parking spaces have features that make it possible for people with disabilities to get into or out of a vehicle.
Parking spaces for cars have an access aisle at least 60 inches wide adjacent to the parking space. That access aisle is just wide enough to permit a person using a wheelchair to enter or exit the car.
Parking spaces must be located on level ground and identified with a sign mounted in front of the parking space high enough it is visible when a vehicle is parked there.
Van-accessible parking spaces
One of every eight accessible parking spaces, but always at least one, must be accessible for vans with a side-mounted lift. If only one accessible space is provided, it must be a van-accessible space.
Van-accessible parking spaces incorporate the same requirements as accessible parking spaces for cars but have three additional features:
- A wider access aisle (96 inches) to accommodate a wheelchair lift,
- Vertical clearance to accommodate van height at the van parking space, the adjacent access aisle, and on the route to and from the van-accessible space,
- An additional sign that identifies the parking spaces as “van accessible.”