The town of Arvada, Colorado has decided to try something new in the ongoing battle regarding parking spots marked for the disabled being used and abused. Working off of the concept that the current signs are “sterile,” they have decided to add a personal touch and are showing pictures of individuals with disabilities below the sign with a simple message: “Think of ME. Keep it FREE.” Here is a link to a news story showing the signs and talking about the program.
It’s definitely a unique concept, being done tastefully, trying to put a real face on a troublesome issue. Will it work? I guess we will see! They are piloting the program with 25 signs and will be monitoring those parking spaces to see if it indeed makes a difference.
As an active individual with a disability who drives everyday, I find this program interesting and intriguing, but I can’t begin to guess if it will change things. I think we all see examples every day of spaces being filled, but one thing I will always point out is that it is very hard for anyone to determine if the person parked in that spot truly has a disability or not. Not all disabilities are obvious. There are also times when I park my car in a disabled parking spot, and my wife or a friend pulls the car out of the space. They get a dirty look for doing nothing wrong.
I think the best question that everyone needs to ask is, do I really need to be in that parking space? Many times there can be other, non-disabled parking spaces readily available, that are actually closer to where people want to go, but it just seems easier to park in the disabled spot. Personally, my biggest pet peeve is someone pulling in to a disabled parking spot and sitting in the car waiting for someone to come out of the store, mall, post office, etc. If you are going to stay with the car, then you definitely don’t need to take a space away from someone who needs it. My second favorite is someone looking at me, and saying “Oh, I’ll only be a minute!”
These spaces were created to aid individuals who really need them. For some, it’s because they can’t walk far distances (or at all). For me, it’s all about needing to have the space to open my door completely to be able to get in and out of my car, since it’s pretty hard for a guy in a wheelchair to “squeeze” in to tight spaces.
Would putting my picture on a sign make people think twice before parking there? I honestly don’t know, so I am asking YOU!
Please comment below and let me know what you think.