Creative Art Protects Accessibility for All: 3D Handicap Parking Spaces
Imagine having no way to enter your favorite store or returning to your vehicle after an outing to find that you can’t get back in. This is a stressful reality for wheelchair users when handicap signs are ignored.
We’re all familiar with the paint-lined parking spaces marked with handicap signs and access aisles with their prominent diagonal lines. These areas are reserved for wheelchair vans and other accessible vehicles. Too often, however, we’ve also witnessed them being used by those who don’t need them.
That’s why BraunAbility launched the Drive for Inclusion initiative to bring awareness to the issue and promote accessibility and mobility inclusivity.
Accessible Parking Abuse: The Widespread Effect
An accessible vehicle uses customized equipment to allow a wheelchair user to enter and exit a vehicle. Even the best equipment is only helpful if its features can be deployed. Whether the vehicle has a wheelchair ramp, lift, or other mobility feature, the equipment requires space larger than a typical parking spot to function. For this reason, the access aisles found adjacent to handicap parking spots are essential.
Choosing not to use these spaces as intended can have a catastrophic effect on others. Access to handicap parking is a factor in someone’s ability to grocery shop, get to a medical appointment, or attend a special event with friends and family. Access to daily necessities should never have to be in question.
Sadly, accessible parking abuse is rampant—Below are some examples of how handicap parking spaces are misused:
● Parking small vehicles, like motorcycles or sub compact cars, in the access aisle (diagonal lines)
● Parking any vehicle somewhere that blocks entry to access aisles.
● Parking in the aisle or accessible parking spot “just for a minute” to run in and out.
● Businesses storing shopping carts, outdoor equipment like dumpsters or excess seasonal product in handicap spaces.
One survey found that 74 percent of interviewees had witnessed the abuse of accessible parking spaces. It’s clear there is a need for change.
A Solution Fueled by Creativity
BraunAbility set out to raise awareness of the issue and put a stop to accessible parking abuse. We reached out to commercial chalk artist, Tracy Lee Stum, a former Guinness World Record holder known for her stunning and lifelike 3D chalk and street painting art.
The collaboration led to beautiful and innovative results. The solution came in the form of amazing creativity–In 3D!
As part of BraunAbility’s larger Drive for Inclusion movement, Stum dreamed up a 3D optical illusion for parking space access aisles. It mimics a raised barrier- giving the appearance that parking in access aisles is impossible. This discourages drivers from parking in the space necessary for accessible vehicles to deploy the side-entry wheelchair ramps and other features needed for inclusive access.
The Meaning Behind the Design
This unique design made its debut outside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the month of May, by design. Aligning the timing with National Mobility Awareness Month and the start of the Indianapolis 500 allowed maximum exposure in the hopes of spreading the message further—Parking is a necessary part of accessing necessities, social outings, and interests. It’s time for society to embrace inclusivity at every mobility level.
Since its introduction, the 3D art movement, and its inclusive message have spread across the nation– with 3D parking spaces popping up all over the country.
More Than Parking: Creating an Inclusive Culture
This 3D art is only one part of BraunAbility’s Drive for Inclusion movement. Helping people see what everyday life looks like for others is a major factor in creating a culture that’s understanding of, and sensitive to the unique needs of the whole community.
BraunAbility is a proud ally to those with unique mobility and accessibility needs, committed to protecting inclusivity. Together, we can call attention to an issue that has too-long gone unnoticed and help end accessible parking abuse. With your help, we can magnify the message.
We invite anyone living with a mobility disability– and their caregivers– to share their voices through an online survey community called The Driving Force. Here, people can provide input on obstacles they face in their daily lives and suggest changes that could lead to greater mobility inclusion, in your neighborhood and around the country.