We’ve all had some cruddy parking experiences. But when you have a disability, it’s usually a little more complicated.
The difficulties typically occur due to other people parking. Sometimes, the problem is the parking spot. My current van is a side-entry model with a manual fold-down ramp. It’s similar to a minivan. (I couldn’t tell you the make or model, but I know it’s cute!) Specific “side-load entry parking only” parking spots don’t exist. And the spaces that are suitable for my van are usually at the end of a row or on one side of the curb only.
When you need a specific parking spot, the chances are you won’t get it.
I know that I shouldn’t be complaining because I do have access to accessible parking spots. But they’re never big enough. And other drivers don’t typically heed the “Don’t park within 8 feet” stickers warning them to leave some room.
However, I am happy to have a vehicle that is small enough to fit into a parkade. Because no matter where you park, at least you’re protected from the outside elements.
Until about a year ago, I drove an electric wheelchair, so our other vehicles were too big for parkades. If I had a doctor’s appointment, we would have to park some distance from the front doors of the clinic. My experience was weather-dependent. In the winter months, it was difficult to move my cold hands to drive my wheelchair.
So, I’m happy to park in a parkade.
Sometimes you get the perfect parking spot: It’s at the end with space for your ramp to unfold. Then, I spot one of those barriers in which decorative trees are planted. I understand people wanting their shop fronts to look nice. But holy cow, this drives me batty.
When it comes down to it, we drive up to the front of the building, unload me, fold the ramp back up, and my mom goes to park. This is an adequate solution — it works.
While I’m waiting for my mom, people often honk or stare. But you get used to that stuff.
Parking is my arch nemesis.
Well, parking, and cobblestones.
Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.