Paralinks: Worlds Wheelchair Culture
Wheelchair & Handicapped Parking

Our intentions are to expand this page to the point where it can be copied, or it's address (URL) can be sent to your local City Government, Council, Mayor, Code Enforcement Officer or the local Police Department. They just might assign a task force if someone in power concludes that this issue is a problem.  Send in your views

VC (visibly Crip) and the Not So Visible Crip.
We thank Bear Wheelz for the term!

After reading the posts, i realise the importance of having two types of handicap parking, "wheelchair only"... and my question, is there a movement or advocate group pushing this? 

Date:  01 Jun 2000 From: Hetrick To:
Subject: HC parking

As a wheelchair user, I would love "wheelchair only" parking, but  that would defeat the purpose of Handicapped Parking (hate the name, love the idea). 

People that need parking close to the entrances of businesses, churches, etc. include people with low muscle dependability (spasticity, weakness, tremors), people who are unsteady (inner ear problems), and people for whom walking is painful.  Some of these folks are visibly disabled, others aren't.

 There isn't any way around needing legislation that identifies specific requirements for HC parking permits, and enforcement of those requirements.  That probably means that some of us who aren't VC (visibly Crip) would be ticketed when they don't have proof of disability on their person.  Sometimes you have to put up with some inconvenience to safeguard the rights and privileges you need.

My car has been ticketed twice ($50 & $75) when I forgot to put my permit out on the dashboard, and I was stopped once by a policeman who wanted to make sure that the guy in the wheelchair (me) was actually an occupant in the parked car ( I was). I've never had to pay a fine, due to my proof of disability.  Each time, I thanked the police for doing their part to try to make Handicapped Parking available for those of us who need it.

Bear Wheelz Detroit/Dearborn, MI   

Date: 6 June 2000 From: berna dette <> Subject: my view

i have finally submitted an application for a disabled person placard. although i do not use a wheelchair, I suffer from severe chronic pain due to 2 herniated lumbar discs.  looking at me, i'm the poster girl of good health. i'm 29, in shape, and apparently healthy.

 Unfortunately, i suffer from a degenerative spine and nerve damage. i use a cane for support as needed, and have chosen to bare the pain with a straight face and try to live as normal a life as possible. to do this, i have to maintain as much independence as possible, but sometimes going from the car, to the elevator, to my office at work is enough to kick the breath out of me.  i've waited almost a year to ask for a placard, despite the threats of putting me on disability from my doctor. each step i take, i think about because at the end of the day, each step adds up to the level of pain i experience at the day's end.

 i can imagine the looks i'll get walking out of a car from a handicap parking zone in apparent health. No one can see the brace i wear 24 hours a day. no one can see the endless amount of drugs consumed in a 24hour period, the relief offered being just bearable.

Chronic pain seems to be one of those issues that isn't quite quantifiable. no one sees the tears i cry in frustration and pain, as i try to lay myself down to sleep. i realise that in the realm of injuries, mine is managable. dare i say tho', one day of painfree living is such a far fetched idea. 

So, although my face, my physique, my attitude may not adhere to the stereotype of the handicap persona, the reality is that i am, and have accepted this (hopefully) temporary condition. and i agree, there is a lot of abuse on the use the placard, don't assume someone like me suffers from a "hangnail". i work hard to be healthy, i work out in severe pain figuring it's going to hurt anyways. i want to live a young, normal life without reminding the world around me the chronic torture that consumes my life.


Date:  May 9 2000 
Subject: Wheelchairs Only

Back in 1967 when I became a Quadriplegic No one wanted to even see a person with a disability in public. We we're "cripples" Why don't they stay home or in a hospital where they belong! That was the attitude I heard and felt.

Now every body wants to be A "Cripple"!  Just to be able to park closest to the mall. Once inside they will walk for miles and squeeze thru narrowest clothing isles with no complaint.

Doctors are handing out placards to everyone who ask and are probably unaware of a problem.

My opinion is that spaces are needed for "Wheelchairs Only" even if they are half way down the parking lot. I need only to be able to open my car door wide to get my chair out. And hopefully when I return there will still be enough room to get back into my car. (Too many times I've had to wait for someone to move their vehicle or ask someone to back mine out for me.)

Give the Wanta' be Cripples (and the few Disabled that truly have difficulty walking) their front and center parking spaces. I just need enough room to maneuver my chair in and out of my car.   Thank you, Bob


12/22/99 The state of Louisiana recently raised handicapped parking fines to $275.00 first offense or $500.00 second offense (or first if you are a commercial vehicle). The police no longer have to catch the driver in the act. The issuance of the ticket is prima facie evidence and the registered vehicle owner is ultimately responsible for the ticket.  It used to be that if the officer issued the ticket and was not able to contact the driver, and the driver/ owner contested the ticket then it was thrown out since you could not prove the intent.

So I am sure you are now curious if anyone cares? Well I work for a major police dept in the state  (straight night shift)  and the city recently passed an exact local ordinance to mirror the state and I write 6-10 a night, and my job is not traffic enforcement, but it is something I care about.  I wrote 22 in one night, and am still going strong. I would appreciate if you do not post my email address, or my full name. 


From: George Zugsmith
Subject: State of California/Los Angeles handicapped parking
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 
As a result of a stroke in 1986 I've become interested in the problems associated with handicapped parking. Does anyone know where the rules respecting required handicapped parking spaces in relationship to parking spots in parking lots can be found for Ca. and/or the County and City of Los Angeles. Please e/mail me. George Zugsmith 


From: "James Albert"
Subject: Airport Restrooms
Date: Sun, 22 Aug 1999

Hi, I read your article on "Handicapped Parking" permits with great interest. I am a T-9 Paraplegic and I travel all over the world frequently. Although I am also really put of by able bodied people parking in Blue parking spaces, it is the totally unconscious use of the only large stall in the restroom by almost EVERYONE with carry on luggage. Almost invariably, I will be changing planes somewhere and, when I go into the Restroom,  the only occupied stall is the wide one. I am sure other traveling wheelchair users have experienced this. It is truly frustrating if you are on a tight schedule. I have literally pee'd on the floor in front of the stall in protest. This is a very serious issue. Airplanes do not generally have accessible restrooms (some new ones do) so, the only opportunity to use the Restroom is usually between planes. Perhaps signs should be put on wide stalls that say "Wheelchair Use Only". Realistically however, I don't think most people would honor the reservation. Another suggestion would be to make ALL stalls wide ones. There would be fewer toilets, but there would be a higher probability of getting one.


A suggestion for the ADA: A NEW SIGN should be entered into the system. It would have the blue Wheelchair logo and It reads: Wheelchair Users Only rather than Handicapped Parking. It seems that anybody can get a Handicapped parking permit, can't they?

But the wheelchair users only would be specific. No one is going out and buying a wheelchair just for the best parking, or are they? The old 'Handicapped Parking' sign would stay, but the spots would be for those with walking problems, the closest spots to the entrance. We wheelchair users do not mind wheeling for a few minutes or so to reach the entrance as Greg suggested. (see Gregs letter further down page)


From: (Kenneth Jones)
Date: Sat, 25 Sep 1999 04:27:07 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: handicapped parking

I have just read all of the complaints on handicapped parking. I have seen many overweight people with handicapped tags, if their doctor tells them to exercise why does he give them a tag. a lot of people who have tags and use them were told to exercise. I have also seen access ramps that it would take a 4x4 to climb. As for restrooms all stalls should be wide, and the contractor should sit in a chair and use it before he leaves. We have a concert hall that has a grass hill and the front has concrete and a cover. Handicapped seating cost more because it is up front, try sitting in a wheelchair on a steep hill, because that is where you'll sit if you don't pay extra. As for wheelchairs do you really think that they should cost as much as a used car, there's not much material in them and it doesn't take long to build. They have the market covered like the automotive industry, you have to have it you can't live without them. I have a boat and I go out on it alot, one of The docks and I had a war because the handicapped spot was not marked Correctly and other boaters failed to see it. When they finally painted it they placed another object in my way, so I called the corps of engineers to solve it. Now I go to a place with more respect for the Disabled. I think that the U.S. government should stand up and make some guidelines for businesses to follow set rules like sizes of parking spots, restrooms, and ramps. Anyone without a handicapped sticker in the spot should go back to driving school and pay a $500 fine.  -MICKEY/ELLEN


TWO types of Handicapped Parking

From: Greg Elliott
Subject: Handicapped Parking
Date: Thu, 15 Jul 1999

Hi Gary, If these charges against the UCLA football players are true then it is fraud and they should have the maximum sentence.

I am a (T-11 paraplegic) wheelchair user and I agree with Bill Brown from Dallas. It seems that anyone with a hangnail can get a Disabled Parking Permit. In my opinion there should be TWO types of Handicapped Parking. Type 1) Parking for those with a handicap that prevents them from walking long distances. Let them have the parking spots that are closest to the entrance. Plus they can be narrow parking spots because they don't need to get a wheelchair in between the cars.

Type 2) Parking for those that use wheelchairs. These parking spots don't need to be real close to the entrance. These are the traditional handicapped parking spots with the space on the side making room to get a wheelchair in and out of the vehicle. Anyone that parks in type 2 parking spots that does not have a wheelchair would be in violation and thus could be ticketed. That's my humble opinion.

Regards! Greg Elliott 

Greg! This is the solution that I have been trying to formulate in my mind, thank you! Gary


A letter from Barbara, a woman with cronic walking problems.

Date: Sun, 11 Jul 1999
Subject: Re: Handicapped Parking

Re: handicapped parking. Gary, as you know, I have amputations of parts of both feet, and the surface that I walk on with my left foot is the inside of my lower arm. Breakdowns are frequent, and the pain never leaves me. I am, tho, with the help of prosthesis in my shoes, able to get by doing most things independently right now. I cannot walk any distance however - the feet,

coupled with extreme shortness of breath due to heart failure - prevent me from doing that. I have a handicapped license, although I'm not in a chair. I wouldn't have the physical strength because of my heart to push a chair if I had one. Believe me, I'd consider myself lucky if I could use one.

Now, I've been cussed at, maligned, called every name in the book for parking in a handicapped parking spot. But I cannot maintain my independence without it. I'm not just another gray panther who's taking advantage of the system.

How do you feel about this? Should I feel guilty because I don't use a chair and use the HPP's?

Love, Barb

No Barbara, do not feel guilty! The guilty ones are these football players in the following story.


There's No Spot for These Crimes
July 10th 1999

If charges are true, then UCLA football players should have the wheelchair thrown at them.

Hearing the news was as nauseating as watching somebody pull into a blue curbside parking spot, then sprint from the car.

Criminal charges were filed Thursday by the Los Angeles City Attorney's office against 14 current and former UCLA football players who allegedly submitted phony applications to obtain handicapped parking placards.

The defendants, arguably the most able-bodied individuals on campus, allegedly claimed fake physical handicaps on the applications, then used the placards for preferred parking. Six of the players are listed as starters for the fall season. Three more are key reserves. Each is a portrait of strength.

There's hard-hitting linebacker Ryan Nece, son of NFL legend Ronnie Lott.
There's bruising fullback Durell Price.
There's speedy and strong cornerback Ryan Roques.
You read the names and you remember last season's heroics and you wonder, what handicaps did they allegedly fake?

Did strong linebacker Ali Abdul Azziz claim he was a paraplegic? Ha-ha. Did swift cornerback Marques Anderson claim he suffered from multiple sclerosis? Hee-hee. The list goes on and on. Until you want to throw up. These are only charges, not convictions. But Coach Bob Toledo issued a statement giving them merit, saying, "I am embarrassed and disappointed for the young men who were involved. . . . This is not how I expect players in my program to act."

If the charges are indeed true, heaven help those players. Heaven help them if they ever truly have to endure the hell of parking and then getting into a wheelchair.

"That's sick," said Joe Tusia, 30, a former pro hockey player who is a paraplegic. "If those charges are true, that's really, really sick."

Tusia, of Long Beach, has been confined to a wheelchair since he was shot in a robbery five years ago. He would like to remind the UCLA players why those handicapped spaces are so important. It's not only because of their proximity. It's also because of their size. Folks in wheelchairs need room to assemble the chairs. Quadriplegics need room for the lifts that lower those chairs to the ground.

Tusia would like to take those UCLA players on a little trip with him. To the middle of a large parking lot. With cars crowded on both sides.

"In those situations, you can't get out of your car," he said. "And if you park between two empty spaces, and somebody takes those spaces, you can't get back in your car." He remembers the time that a handicapped spot was taken by someone without a placard, forcing him to park in the middle of a near-empty lot.

When he returned to his car, it was surrounded, leaving him momentarily helpless. "I had to wait 15 minutes for somebody to come out, and then I had to ask them to back my car out for me," Tusia said. "Times like that, you really start to feel different. It was kind of embarrassing."

The UCLA football team thought it knew embarrassment. One game from qualifying for an appearance in the national championship Fiesta Bowl last season, it suffered bad losses to underdog Miami, then underdog Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. Later, there were charges that the UCLA defense was distracted against Miami because it was not allowed to wear black wristbands protesting the end of affirmative action in state university admissions. Then there was an FBI investigation of UCLA players' involvement with gamblers, although no charges were filed and everyone was cleared.

Don't forget the unpleasant sounds of the UCLA offense ripping the defense after the Rose Bowl, or the recent suspension of touted freshman safety Audie Attar for violating team rules. The UCLA football team thought it knew embarrassment. If these charges are true, they have no idea.

"I guess these guys, Division I players, big men on campus, they are used to getting the royal treatment," Tusia said. "I'm sure they're thinking, 'Why shouldn't I be in the front row?' "

I was arranging an interview with a paraplegic athlete once when I mentioned that I might be late because of the difficulty parking.
"I don't have to worry about that, I'll just use the handicapped space," she said.
"Lucky," I said.
"Lucky?" she said.

It is one of the most common, and cruel, of vanities. The healthier we are, the more we fail to appreciate the assistance required by those who are not. We scamper up ramps because they are quicker. We use handicapped bathroom stalls when no one is around because they are bigger. And when we joyously drive up to the empty parking space at the front of a crowded lot . . . we curse when we spot the blue wheelchair design that is saving it for someone who needs it more. It is a sadly human trait of many able-bodied people to take for granted that they are able-bodied.

It is considerably less than human, however, to take clear advantage of those who are not. If the UCLA football players did this, their punishment should be far worse than the maximum six months in jail and $1,000 fine that goes with each misdemeanor count. They should be made to spend those six months volunteering at local rehabilitation centers that work with those who will never make a leaping interception or a flying tackle.....

Bill Plaschke can be reached at his e-mail address:
Copyright 1999 Los Angeles Times. All Rights Reserved  Permission asked for, waiting for decision.

UPDATE: September 14th 1999 More fines given. An updated reported on the use of parking placards by current and former UCLA football players from today's online edition of the Los Angeles Times.  --Paralinks thanks Kathleen Dunn for submitting this article.


Date: Tue, 6 Jul 1999
Subject: Handicapped Parking

Gary, I found many stories to why people do this. I'm handicapped and use a wheelchair also. I'm an ex-Police Office and had retired with some 12 years in law enforcement. I became disabled some 2 years ago after I retired.

We have similar laws like Texas does on this issue. The things that I saw would just set you into orbit. We found people would still, borrow the parents, grandmothers tags to use. This would allow them to get better parking places, save their cars from getting dented or scratched. After their parents or grandmothers die, they would get the tags and nether think about it twice. They are even getting them in Yard Sales, Garage sales, Flea Markets or just the Black Market in general. I've circled many parking lots trying to find a handicapped space. All of a sudden you find someone walking out to their vehicle and just driving off. That just makes me so mad.

Some doctors just hand the permanent tags out on broken legs or something minor. Maybe they just don't know about the temporary tags for this. This is something that is very hard to fine someone on. The courts are very cautious on availability on records and information. The records are not very accessible to law enforcement unless we can get someone to make a written statement towards the individual stating that it is not theirs. It's a shame that we have to suffer on this in society because someone is using it for their pleasure and convenience. They just think that the people using canes, wheelchairs and carts won't ever go to those places. They just have them there because of the City and Federal Government requirements. Duh! believe it Gary! You just wouldn't think people were so stupid sometimes.

You can contact your local City Government, Council, Mayor, Code Enforcement Officer or just the local Police Department. They might assign a task force if it is a big enough problem. I know that this just doesn't touch the surface on this issue, but I feel for your concern in this ongoing problem.

Thank you Gary. Ken Hunter, Ret.Chief of Police

Sincerely; Kenneth R. Hunter


Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999
To: (Gary Schooley)
Subject: Disabled parking spaces

I just got your most recent E-mail (encyclopedia) and I appreciate the Information. Now it's time to vent. I took my youngest daughter and her boyfriend to lunch yesterday. As we sat outside waiting for a smoke-free table inside I watched people pull into the four disabled parking spaces get out and walk inside. I've seen this too often to be shocked but it certainly angered me. Like the rest of us I have approached people (politely of course) on this when I see it and have never ceased to be amazed at how hostile and aggressive they become when they're caught with their little hands in the cookie jar. The problem is that many of these folks have the little "retard cards" which hang from the rear view mirror and designate them as worthy occupiers of "our" spaces. I've begun to believe these permits are given out in Cracker Jack boxes now. The real problem is miscommunication. The law here in Texas says you must have a mobility impairment which prevents one from walking over 250 feet unless aided (by a brace, wheelchair, walker etc.). Doctors give these signed forms basically to anyone with a hangnail and the Department of Motor Vehicles issues the cards to anyone with a doctor-signed potty pass. They're also stolen and or counterfeited and then sold on the "black market". The result is that people who don't need them use them...all the time and the police are helpless to ticket them. A secondary result, and a much more damaging one, is that other people see these spaces abused by those who clearly do not need them and another subliminal boundary is crossed. For instance, most men would never enter a women's restroom no matter how badly they had to go unless they saw other men do it over and over. In that case a kind of permission is conveyed. "Well, everyone else was doing it!" It is clear that many of the "non-disabled" who inhabit our word do not understand the safety or width of parking space issues faced by those of us in chairs.

What I have come to realize lately, sadly, is that many people just don't care! Keep the faith, Bill Brown in Dallas

The Second Amendment not only protects citizens from criminals, it protects citizens from the government.


Date: Sun, 10 Oct 1999
Subject: Handicapped Parking

I am a very active and independent person who uses a wheelchair. I have never applied for a HC parking permit because I have always felt that people who have walking difficulties deserve the spots more than me. I certainly do not mind wheeling a fair distance to get to a store's front (especially if it is downhill; it can be exhilarating). However, not parking in these spots gives me only two options: 1. Park extremely far from the store's entrance, where no AB person in their right mind would park (this causes problems when I have a lap full of stuff to get back to my car with). or 2. Park in a normal spot and risk being boxed in. With that in mind, I highly support the idea of having WC only parking permits. If these were issued I would get one and feel comfortable using it. I also believe that there would be much less abuse of these tags; how can you fake being in a WC? (do not answer that as I am sure there is a way) Regards, Essie


Handicapped Parking Scam Busted

Forty University Students Face $500 Fines For Using Fraudulently Obtained Handicapped Parking Permits

MINNEAPOLIS,  November 6, 1998 -- Sure, parking is tough at the University of Minnesota, but some 40-odd students have apparently taken the wrong route to solving the annoying situation.

Police say at least that many students have illegally been using handicapped parking permits to score the spots closest to their class - even though they aren't eligible to use them, according to WCCO-TV.

Police have been writing tickets to users of the rearview-hanging permits, which are legitimate, but not issued to those using them. Police describe the violations as "flagrant." There was no word from the station how the students obtained the permits.

The illegal parking has been crowding out legitimate users of the inviting handicapped spaces, including Sara Moylan, who told WCCO-TV that she did "miss a couple of classes just because I didn't have a place to park."

Police hit the campus recently handing out tickets to violators. Parking in a handicapped space without a permit calls for a $200 fine, while parking in a space using a stolen or fraudulent permit means a $500 fine, which is the fine being handed out to student violators.

Parker Hodges, Channel 4000 Staff Writer



Issues of Handicapped Parking 
For the general public

Generally you can obtain the rules from 2 places:  1) State Attorney's General Office - from your state capitol - I suggest calling for that department  or 2) US Dept. of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration  400 Seventh St  SW   Washington DC 20590 

Patty Cyr has created this web site: "Obstacles to handicapped parking have become increasingly apparent to me. This site has been created to spread awareness of the obstacles and to educate the public on ways to prevent them. I have also included my personal story, which motivated me to create this site."


Handicapped spaces abused

Too many permits, too little enforcement frustrate legitimate users as number of Michigan disability permits more than double in the past five years. By Douglas Ilka / The Detroit News

DEARBORN -- Christian Mageli, a paraplegic, doesn't mind driving his wife to shop at the local Farmer Jack supermarket because there are plenty of handicapped spaces. "What I do mind is cruising the parking lot because all the spaces are filled," said Mageli, 45, vice-chairman of the Michigan Commission on Disability Concerns. The problem, said Mageli, is that more people are getting handicapped license plates
or permits to hang inside their vehicles.

The number of Michigan handicapped license plates has more than doubled in five years, from 29,739 in 1992 to 63,677 in 1997, said Julie Pierce at the Secretary of State's office. An additional 154,196 drivers can park legally in blue-wheelchair spaces because they have a temporary placard permit. "There's a glut of permits because anyone who wants one, gets one," said Michael Harris of Westland, deputy executive director of the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America. "And if they can't get a legal one," the 40-year-old added, "there is a mail-order catalogue that will sell you something that looks like the real thing."

In 1995, the Secretary of State's office tightened the rules for getting handicapped parking permits. All permits require a doctor's confirmation of temporary or permanent disability. In the past, employees at Secretary of State branches were allowed to determine eligibility in obvious cases. Temporary permits, which had been valid for four years, now must be renewed every six months -- with a new doctor's certification.  

"These permits were never designed to offer an easy way for nondeserving individuals to obtain free parking privileges," said
Secretary of State Candace Miller. "Rather, they are designed to ease access for people who have legitimate needs based on their physical limitations."

For the past two years, Harris and Mageli have been studying the state laws that regulate handicapped parking. Their conclusions:

* Too many doctors are approving certificates to obtain a permit. "Eighty percent of the certificates check off one section, which states the person needs the permit because they can't walk more than 200 feet without having to rest and they are at risk of falling," said Mageli, of Dearborn.

"During a Michigan winter, everyone is at risk of falling. Physicians tell us they can't refuse because the patient will just find another doctor."

* Penalties should be increased and records of habitual offenders should be kept. The maximum penalty for fraudulent use of a handicap permit is a $500 fine and 30 days in jail. "Dearborn police confiscated five permits that were being illegally used last Christmas, but a district court judge reduced the fines to $75 on one and $50 each on the other four," said Mageli.

"Someone who has been ticketed three and four times should be forced to do 40 hours of community service for the disabled. They should pay a fine plus have to mow the lawn or clean the sidewalks of snow for a handicapped person."

* Driver's manuals and test questions should be revised to educate qualified handicapped persons about the responsibilities of
using the permit.

"I need a van-accessible spot so I can get my wheelchair out the side door," said Mageli. "I recently was blocked in by someone parking on the striped area next to the handicap space. I told a policeman and he said there was nothing he could do because the other vehicle had a valid handicapped parking sticker and there was no law preventing him from parking there."

"One of the problems we have is that the handicapped parking space has to be marked on the ground and with a sign," said Zielinski. "We need to have both in order to write a citation. Sometimes the signs get knocked down and the business owners are slow to replace them. "It's frustrating to see a violation but not be able to write a ticket."  


Disability parking permit requirements
Source: Michigan Department of State

Before a disability parking placard or license plate is issued, a physician or optometrist must certify the applicant fits at least
one of these categories:
* Blindness.
* Inability to walk more than 200 feet without rest.
* Requires a wheelchair, walker, crutch, brace or prosthetic because of inability to use one or both legs or feet.
* A lung disease that meets a specified definition.
* A cardiovascular condition that meets a standard established by the American Heart Association.
* An arthritic, neurological or orthopedic condition that severely limits mobility.
* Persistent reliance on bottled oxygen.

Copyright 1998, The Detroit News


COLUMBUS, Ohio, posted 1:50 p.m. July 4, 1998 -- Abused Handicapped Tags: Number Of Tags Issued Has Doubled Since Last Year.
Are people taking advantage of the handicapped parking tags?


Accessible Transit Service Monitoring in Los Angeles and San Diego

From: "Steve Jaffe"
Date: Sun, 12 Sep 1999

To the editors of Paralinks: The ADA provided the right to removal of barriers to employment, public services and public accommodations, which is just great as long as you can get there. Reliable accessible public transit is essential to "getting there."

Transit riders in San Diego and Los Angeles are taking the positive road in helping improve transit in their communities by participating in an innovative customer-based service monitoring project called Metro Wheels. The program engages regular transit customers who use wheelchairs or who have visual impairments in San Diego to monitor and report on the service they receive.

How it works:

1. A dedicated group of riders who use wheelchairs, or who are blind or have other visual impairments serve as volunteer service monitors.

2. Metro Wheels Volunteers ride just as they normally would, and complete an Accessible Service Report Card for every bus they ride (or try to ride).

3. At the end of the day, they send their reports via the World Wide Web to Transit Access, an independent monitoring service contracted by Easter Seals Southern California.

4. Transit Access compiles the volunteers' report card data, and sends reports to management at the transit companies.

5. Transit uses the information they receive to learn about trends in accessible service quality and reliability, and to pinpoint and fix problems.

The program is a sponsored by Easter Seals Southern California in cooperation with the local transit agencies, and funded through a grant made by Project ACTION, a national think-tank on accessible transportation.

Transit Access, a Los Angeles based transit consulting firm specializing in ADA compliance manages the project. New participants are always needed to make sure the transit drives do not know who the monitors are. Participants receive a monthly transit pass, a one-time $40.00 Internet access subsidy, and most importantly, an opportunity to make a difference in a service which is so important. Transit Riders in Los Angeles or San Diego counties are encouraged to contact Transit Access about becoming involved.
Please visit the Transit Access web site at:


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Subject: Disabled Woman's auto stolen
From: "Ms. Beverley J.S. Whightley"
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 1999

I'm a T-11 Complete Spinal Cord Injured Female. I have the same feeling about disabled parking spaces. It seems to me that they're so easy to obtain. I'll give you an exempla; I've seen people go to car parks, in a public park, and park their autos in a specified disable parking space, and they do have the disable parking permit displayed inside of their wind screen but, I notice that they're unloading the most strangest wheelchairs that I've ever seen. Actually those strange looking wheelchairs turn out to be regular mountain bicycles, yes two wheeler bicycles. The type of bicycles designed for the able body person, who user their legs, and feet to propel the bicycle by means of foot peddles.

Well, what can I say? They do have a real disability, " Brain Dead ". The part that really grinds me up is, when these type of people use the designated parking space, I'm unable to find one because, they're used up. The result is, I have to change me plans, and do something else. Mind you, I could take the chance, and park me auto in a regular parking space but, being paralyzed, having no use of me legs, and 110% dependent on a wheelchair, I haven't managed the special skill of standing on me own two feet, and lifting me wheelchair out of the auto while still folded.

Another problem is, the " Boxed In Syndrome ". You park the car because the space beside you is empty, and you exit your auto, and transfer into the wheelchair as usual, and go on with your plans but, when you get back to your auto, you find that another auto has parked very close to they driver side of your auto, and when you originally parked beside the auto on the none driver side less then three fee of space, you find that you're a " Sitting Duck " with no place to go.

Well, you could ask a total stranger to enter you auto, and move it out far enough so that you could than there for enter you auto. Well, I hate to say it but, I did this once and, guess what happened to me auto? Well, to make it short, the person decided to not stop in the spot that I wanted him to do so, and he decided to take the auto out for a joy ride. For the further story of Beverley’s stolen auto see: Sitting Duck


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