Will an Increase in Wheelchair Users Lead to More Parking Spaces?

According to recent statistics, it’s going to get even harder for me to find a handicap parking space for my wheelchair van.

The San Francisco Chronicle recently noted that life expectancy has increased to 78.7 years; especially in the disability community. People with middle age disease-related disabilities are living longer, thus increasing their population. Current government statistics indicate the number of people with a disability (broadly defined as impairments, activity limitations, or participation restrictions) now reaches 40 to 50 million.

What usually coincides with good news? Bad news! Because of this growing population, handicap parking spaces, accessible bathrooms and other technologies catering to disabilities are quickly filling up. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1991 strives to provide solutions for this growing populace.

Ralph asked the owner why he didn’t have a ramp, and the owner replied, “Because people in wheelchairs don’t come here to eat.” Ralph just rolled away in wonder.

Promoting the ADA can be essential in creating more accessible surroundings for those with disabilities. For instance, if enough people have difficulty entering a movie theater because of uneven pavement, difficult ramps, etc., the ADA will support the change to make the venue safe and easily accessible. Because there are an increasing number of people with disabilities, there will be an increasing outcry to address these needs.

Ralph Braun tells the story of a popular local restaurant that did not have a ramp leading into its front entrance. Ralph asked the owner why he didn’t have a ramp, and the owner replied, “Because people in wheelchairs don’t come here to eat.” Ralph just rolled away in wonder. With the ADA in force and a larger population of wheelchair users in the country, hopefully the close-mindedness of business owners like this one will continue to be a thing of the past.

Until then, its important to be aware and vocal kindly letting venues know when they lack handicap parking spaces, accessible bathrooms and other handicap user-friendly technologies! The future will hold many more assistive tools as the demand increases, but its never too early to update the everyday stuff that helps us stay active in our everyday lives!