Tuesday, February 5, 2008

What Makes America Grate: Handicapped University Parking

Years and years ago, my sister was assigned to write an elementary school essay titled "What Makes America Great." She messed up the homophone, and the spellchecker didn't catch it, and so the entire essay came out as "What Makes America Grate." As in: Immigration makes America grate because...

I thought of that today, because of two things that recently happened... one that I will post now, and one that I will post later on this week.

Today's "grate" installment?

I had my foot checked out again, and the doctor asked me how close to the university I was able to park. I explained that I didn't use student parking, since the passes were expensive and the lots were nearly always full, and so I parked on a side street about four blocks away from my building.

"Four blocks is too far away," he told me. "I'm writing you a pass for a handicapped tag, and I want you to park in the handicapped section of the student lot. Those spaces shouldn't fill up as quickly, so you'll probably get one."

I grimaced at the thought of having to shell out $150 for the lot pass, but figured I was already in for the cost of the surgery, so what was a few more dollars here or there?

The handicapped tag certifies me to park in any handicapped spot, university or otherwise; but before I went to Student Parking to shell out for the lot pass I decided to do a short reconnaissance.

I drove my car through the lot, looking for the handicapped spaces.

There weren't any.

It was a large lot, and there were many parking spaces in relative proximity to the university buildings, but none of them were designated as handicapped parking.

Then I drove to my building to check out the possibilities there. It's got a theatre attached, after all; it should be required by law to have a few handicapped spots.

Yep, there were two handicapped parking spaces outside my building. Both with notices: "For Visitors Only. Must Display Visitor Pass."

It didn't seem to make any sense. Obviously I wasn't going to pay for a student lot pass, as there was no guarantee that I would get a space, let alone one near the university proper (and a space at the far end of the lot would mean a further walk than my current street space), and I wasn't entitled to use the ones closest to my place of work as they were reserved for visitors.

I should start talking to everyone I see on campus with a cast or crutch or wheelchair and ask them how they do it.

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