What Color Are You?

In Columns, Just My Bellybutton, Opinion by Nathasha Alvarez

What color are you? Color coded handicapped parking for different disabilities.This has gone too far! We need to put an end to this right away before it gets so out of hand that nothing, nothing can be done to correct it! If you could only see my face to realize how upset I am about this situation. The worst part is that other disabled people feel the need to support such behavior. Maybe I am the one who doesn’t understand why these people get to have the same rights to take up a spot that was meant for us.

Yes, I am making a very big deal out of parking spaces designed for people with physical disabilities. However, according to one of my friends, a self- proclaimed advocate for all disabled people, these precious and sacred parking spots are meant for people with invisible disabilities as well.

While I am all for helping people with all kinds of disabilities but I don’t believe that all disabilities need the same exact accommodations. A person using a manual wheelchair doesn’t necessarily need to be in the front row of a classroom as much as a person with a vision or hearing impairment. We need to fit the appropriate accommodation to its person.

Parking spaces is a perfect example of trying to fix many problems with one solution and solving nothing in the end.

How many times have you searched for a parking space with enough room to allow your wheelchair, scooter or other mobility device because the disabled parking spots were taken? Once you entered the establishment you thought that there must be some disabled gathering that must have slipped your mind for every single disabled parking spot to be taken and when you enter, you are excited to know that the place must be bustling with people in scooters, wheelchairs, canes, walkers and other mobility devices. But, you see no one with a physical disability.

Where are these physically disabled people who forced you to park your vehicle in a far away isolated space with enough room for your van’s ramp or your mobility device? Where are those physically disabled people who forced you to play hide and seek with motorists who can’t see you while they are backing out or into other parking spots as you make your way from the back of the parking lot to the front of the establishment?

Somehow people who don’t have any physical impairment garnering them the ability to use these spaces are the culprits. Perhaps they don’t really understand the intention of these parking spaces.

Parking spaces for the physically disabled are extra wide and placed closest to a ramp and main entrances for a reason! Yes! There is logic to the parameters of these parking spaces. I think we should all stop and really try to figure this out because it seems a no brainer for me. Yet, people from all walks of life have a different perspective on who has the right to use these parking jewels.

So while my sarcasm might be dripping all over this article, the logic is very much real. The spaces are closest to a ramp because people who use mobility aids need access to the sidewalk. A mobility aid is a wheelchair, scooter, cane, a pair of crutches and a walker.

So I think we have solved the mystery as to why there are ramps adjacent to these parking spaces.

The next mystery to conquer is the reason why everyone desires these spots of blue gold! Our society is into supersizing everything. Cars are now homes on wheels. The bigger the car the better they are or so they think. This feeling of superiority has extended its bounds into our parking spaces. I have seen enormous cars parked in the disabled parking spots and the driver is not visibly disabled.

Of course, now I hear those advocates screaming, “The driver might have an invisible disability. You can’t judge them!”

They might have an invisible disability but if their disability is invisible then they really don’t need the parking spaces that are designed to be big enough for a car or van to accommodate a wheelchair or mobility aid. That is really the bottom line. I am not saying that they are not disabled.

Yes, they probably are very disabled but they don’t need that particular accommodation. But my friends with scooters, manual wheelchairs, crutches and walkers need the extra room to get in and out of the vehicle.

Then we have those people who hit a certain age and it’s as if their doctors give them a birthday card with a disabled decal inside. Age is not a disability. However, if due to age the person needs to use a mobility device to help them get around in public then that allows them the right to use that particular accommodation for the physically disabled.

Some people want to protect those who don’t use mobility devices but can’t walk far distances. So what can we do for them? I know! We can make parking spaces for them close to the blue spaces for us and color their spaces another color to separate them. Their decal should also have another color too.

Why not give each group a different color spot to park their cars? The physically disabled who need the wide spaces, the ramp and closest location to the main entrance of the facility can use the blue parking spaces. Yellow parking spots located after the blue spots have been placed will be for the elderly and those that have disabilities that don’t require the ramp and extra parking space.

Yes! I think all of the colors of the rainbow can live in harmony in any parking lot!
Love to hear your comments on this. Email atnathasha@audacitymagazine.com .