Handicapped Student Parking Elicits Questions

By Susan Pruitt
Senior Editor

   One really does not seem to take in the importance of handicapped parking until they themselves become disabled.

   Recently, I was diagnosed with a painful, chronic condition. My doctor suggested I get a temporary handicapped placard for my car. After receiving my placard, I drove to the university to attend work-study. I searched for handicapped parking spaces, and I found few to none. I began wondering … how is it a large parking lot only contains one or two parking places for disabled students?

   The American Disabilities Act says the number of handicapped parking spaces is determined by the number of parking spaces in the lot. For example, if a parking lot contains one to 25 spaces, then it says it requires only one handicapped parking space.  In order to use their chart effectively, I feel it is necessary to decide what constitutes a parking lot!

   On this particular day, I needed to find a parking place close to Wells Hall. I personally consider the few parking places in front of the education building to be a parking lot. The parking around the curve is another parking lot, and the large lot with many parking spaces to be yet another lot.

   I found the small lot in front of the education building to have three or four handicapped parking spaces while the large lot also had three to four handicapped spaces. The “lot” around the curve had none. And, there were more faculty handicapped spaces than those for students! How can this be correct?

   John Kidwell, director of public safety, said the last time he checked, the university had more handicapped parking spaces than required.

   According to CollegePortraits.com, the number of students is near to 4,000. I know the number of faculty must be lower than that of students. So, why are there more faculty handicapped parking spaces than not? I never found the answer to that question.

   While I contacted two faculty members, only one responded. The member who responded eventually told me to park next to the administration building or behind the math and science center.

   The administration building has one handicapped parking space on the side, and at the time it was not vacant. And, I don’t know about you, but I would not walk from the math and science center parking lot to Wells Hall if I were not having health issues.

   Ronnie Currie, a junior communications major, said he finds the math and science center to have a problem with handicapped parking.

   “They do have handicapped parking, but it is usually full by the time I get over there. They could benefit by putting more handicapped spots between the science center and the (Fine Arts Center),” Currie said.

   So, if the handicapped parking spaces are all full, what is a disabled student supposed to do?  I guess we drive around in circles swerving pedestrians who jump out from non-pedestrian areas.

2 Responses to “Handicapped Student Parking Elicits Questions”
  1. ron45sitton says:

    Please check, but I’m pretty certain the number of students on the College Portraits’ website includes the Crossett and McGehee campuses.

  2. ron45sitton says:

    Not trying to dismiss your complaint; just trying to put it in perspective.

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