​Handicapped Parking

           I live in an apartment, and the stories I could tell, but today I want to address one of my pet peeves about my wonderful apartment complex, Stoney Creek. To say that parking is limited in my world would be an understatement. Often after returning home from a late night working, I’ve had to walk a quarter mile to my building.  While this is frustrating, it is not what has gotten under my skin.

            We often hear of the wonders of the Americans with Disabilities Act, better known as the ADA, and how it is helping the disabled.  I guess my landlord is still living in the 1940s; granted that’s how old my carpet is, but really, join the rest of the world.  My friend had a stroke and has difficulty walking and using her arm.

            We asked the landlord to designate a parking spot near her building, to make things a little more manageable. They did and painted the internationally recognized symbol for the disable in a parking spot. Granted it was blue, on black asphalt, and the size of a pizza pan, but what the heck. Problem solved, right? Not quite; no one could see it, and we spent much time contacting the landlord about the issue. The police were, well more about them later.

            I learned that to get a “real” handicap parking space for her, we had to buy the sign, which I did.  When it arrived, she took it to the office for them to put up.  She was informed she also needed to buy the hardware and pole to place it on. (I should mention that this is a standard at Stoney Creek if you need handicapped parking.) After purchasing that, it was grudgingly put up. Problem solved, right? Not really. You may find this hard to believe, but people are lazy and ignorant. I know, shocking!

            So you have a group of disabled apartment dwellers, each with their own purchased sign that has the parking permit number displayed for the entire world to see.  Recently, the situation has gotten worse, the allegedly normal people either can’t read or don’t care, or both, and have been parking in the disabled parking spots. There is nothing quite like watching someone with a disability struggle with a wheelchair through the snow covered lot, or a stroke victim trying to carry groceries a quarter mile to their apartment, while a healthy person hops out of their car and jogs into his apartment building. FYI-handicapped parking is not there to make your life easier, but for those who actually have a disability.

            Enter the protectors of the downtrodden, enforcers of the law, the Bethel Park Police Department. At first they would come and write a ticket for a sign violation, but after the second time down, things changed. First it was a private lot, and then it was the sign didn’t post a warning of being towed or fined, and then finally, it was the fact that the symbol on the ground wasn’t the correct size.  Basically, they couldn’t be bothered to “serve and protect.”

            As a result, if you come at the right time of the night, thanks to an ever caring landlord too cheap to put the “correct” signage up, and the less than zealous Bethel Park PD, you can watch a re-make of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video, as the disabled struggle to get to their apartment buildings over a snow covered, icy, pothole filled, uneven parking lot.

            As for the police, of which I was one of years ago; if I hear I need to be understanding or sympathetic to their plight and difficulties of the job; all I’ll say is this, you’re only as good as the criminals you protect.