BP Residents with Disabilities Speak Up: "Handicapped Parking Spots are Necessities, not Luxuries"
By Yehudit Garmaise
After BoroPark24 had the zchus to bring awareness to the unfortunate practice of some able-bodied New Yorkers parking in handicapped parking spots, several readers reached out to weigh in.
“Baruch Hashem, we live in a very nice community with people who always help each other, but this is something that I feel, maybe people aren’t aware of what it means when they park in a spot that is supposed to be a person with a disability,” Mr. Pesach Weiss said in a poised, matter-of-fact tone at his home on 43rd Street.
Handicapped spots are not merely for the convenience of people with disabilities, but rather, handicapped spaces are the only spots people with disabilities can use, Weiss explained.
“Handicapped parking spots are not luxuries that are given because they are closer, but the spots because those spots are needed so that people with disabilities get easily get in and out of their cars, be safe, and should be able to get into stores,” said Weiss, before taking a breath of extra oxygen.
People with disabilities who arrive at handicapped spots that are already taken often have no choice but to just turn around and go home, Weiss simply told to BoroPark24’s Heshy Rubinstein.
Not only should able-bodied drivers stay away from handicapped parking spots, but the diagonal white or blue lines that are painted on the asphalt are blocked out, not to inconvenience able-bodied drivers, but to provide extra room for people with disabilities to exit their vehicles.
“A ramp from my car opens up on the passenger side, and coming out with a wheelchair, I need an extra bit of space to get out,” said Weiss. “People should understand that handicapped spots [and the spaces with the extra blue lines] are necessities and not luxuries or given only because people feel badly for people with disabilities.
“Handicapped spots are not ‘better options,’ for people with disabilities, but their only options.
“People should understand that.”
Mr. Israel Neuman, who has a legal handicapped placard, told Rubinstein with frustration that able-bodied people who park in handicapped spots are “taking advantage of open spots just because they are close to stores: and that is a big problem.”
After Neuman and Rubinstein met on 63rd Street, Neuman, who just had two surgeries, had to “sit down because he cannot stand for 10 minutes without feeling pain.”
“When I go to Costco, half the time, I have to look 20 times in the parking lot,” Mr. Neuman said, once he was sitting down inside his office. “[Parking far away] is very hard for an old man who cannot walk so much.”
In addition to thoughtlessly parking their cars in handicapped spots, some able-bodied New Yorkers block private driveways that clearly post handicapped signs, another Boro Parker for whom it is hard to walk told Rubinstein.
“Please be considerate of other people, and don’t park in spots reserved for people with disabilities,” Weiss said with a smile.