Wednesday, October 25, 2006

fund raising idea

Cities, towns, etc. are always short on funds for worthy projects, ranging from schools to roads to libraries to health care for the poor. I have come up with the answer, and it doesn't involve bake sales: parking tickets.

To be more specific, anyone who pulls into a fire zone and doesn't immidiately drop off a handicapped, heavily pregnant or otherwise classified "person in need of a short walk" then pull away to park will be ticketed to the tune of, oh $1000. The ticketee will complain bitterly, but I guarantee you that no matter how many tickets they earn, the ticketee will do it again.

I've noticed this trend several times today - on campus, at the library, grocery store, church - and out of thirty-nine cars (yes, I counted) only one pulled up, droppped someone off and moved on, as is required by law.

Such smugness on my part is only possible because I can honestly state that I've never parked in a fire zone. I saw the film Backdraft right about the time that I was learning to drive. There's a moment when a fire truck pulls up to a building and the way is blocked by a very expensive sports car. The fire department them is entitled to break all of its windows and pretty much trash it because they need to get to the burning building, damnit, and save the 10, 000 people trapped inside. Thanks to director Ron Howard, I got the message!

9 comments:

John B. said...

MY campaign promise (should I be elected) is that people who park in handicapped spaces without permits can be shot on site, no questions asked. We aren't talking shoot to kill, just shoot to cause a debilitating injury requiring handicapped access and parking.

Fire lanes, too, you should be my campaign manager.

Nothing irks me more, my dad has been handicapped for years, so I have always been touchy on the subject of handicapped access, fire lanes are no different.

No sticker or plate, or in absence of either I will even cut you slack if you are obviously physically challended, otherwise, I get to practice my marksmanship skills (I can only get better with practice).

I am moving on in my next term to take care of drivers who don't use turn signals....

That is all.

Drewster said...

I will insist that laws be voted on one at a time. None of this tag my sneaky idea onto a good idea, forcing the other side to vote for my sneaky idea or be charged with voting against the good idea.

Regarding handicap parking, do you believe it is absolute? I will confess to parking in a space once or twice at a particular Starbucks. Not because it was easy and in the front, but because the lot is tiny and there was no other space. Should I be denied coffee because a handicapped person might show up before another space is available.

My stance is this, I understand and support the need for accessibility, but should the business be denied a customer because of it? why can't the handicapped person be denied coffee for a full lot just as easily if I arrived after a marked car took the last space?

John B. said...

Drewster:

It all boils down to necessity vs. inconvenience.

Handicapped parking is available simply because often a handicapped person is unable to traverse a busy lot due to their physical limitations...this is not an inconvenience but a physical necessity due to physical limitations. A long walk when disabled / handicapped (or worse moving in a wheelchair) is often difficult enough under ideal circumstances...having someone traverse a lot from BFE would just make matters worse. Someone with a wheelchair often has to take an extra five minutes to get out of a car and get moving, and to make someone, wheelchair bound or walking disabled walk an extra distance is not just an inconvenience (an inconvenience is what able bodied people experience when searching for a parking space)...it can cause someone who is disabled to become sicker or risk further injury. Risks of falls, heart problems (for those disabled due to heart ailments) etc. are necessities for parking closer or having reserved spaces...not mere inconveniences.

Often these handicapped spaces are also needed so that there is room to unload a wheelchair...pretty hard to do if you park between two cars in a standard space. I know, I moved my father around in a wheelchair for years to doctors appointments and such...trust me, wheelchairs take up space when loading and unloading a patient from a car or van.

Saving a space close to a building or business, even in a small or crowded lot, is the least that we as ablebodied citizens can do for the disabled. I don't like being inconvenienced...but I can walk the extra few feet or park in an adjacent lot if I need to...many handicapped people don't have this health luxury.

Anonymous said...

BRAVO, John B

Ron said...

Good post. You've made a case that handicapped parking spaces should not be used even if all the others are used. So--how do you feel about handicapped restroom stalls? Should I wait for an empty when the handicapped stall is available, just in case?

John B. said...

Ron:

Handicapped restrooms seem a bit different to me...there is no law that says an able bodied person can't use one, nobody will ticket you for using a handicapped stall if you are not handicapped.

Restroom usage, to me, is not necessarily a matter of convenience, but it is a matter of necessity.

I suppose that if all of the other stalls are being used, using the handicapped stall is OK...again, necessity, you are ready to crap your pants or something, not convenience, as in "I can hold it but don't want to miss the blue light on aisle 3 so I'll use the handicapped stall".

Sometimes the only stalls are handicapped accessible...more and more restrooms are that way.

It all boils down to necessity vs. convenience, in my mind, whether it is stalls, parking spaces or handicapped only ramps and elevators.

Drewster said...

John B.
Don't get me wrong, I would never consider using a handicapped space for myself should there be any space available, no matter how far from the door. That is not the querey.

Though some people will disagree, Starbucks coffee isn't a necessity. If the handicapped space is absolute, then I can always find another Starbucks should the 8 regular spaces be full up.

John B. said...

I would question the wisdom of a company building a business as contingent on walk-in traffic (like Starbucks) without the needed number of parking spaces or correct ingress / egress to the business. A handicapped space might take up two normal spaces at most, if the business has inadequate spaces for the number of customers, poor planning was the reason.

Drewster...yes, you can choose whether to patronize a business due to the ease of parking there, or due having to wait in line for long periods...our family routinely chooses restaurants based on both factors. I generally will not wait longer than 20-30 minutes to be seated to eat anywhere...nobody's food is worth waiting one hour to be seated.

Freudian Slip said...

Its one of those things, people see how those spaces tend to be empty, they think "what are the odds that there will be an emergency?". Well.......what are the odds someone will be parked there when there IS an emergency!
Matt