Rules and Regulations
There are rules around the number of mobility parks which should be provided, based on the size of the establishment. However, I am yet to be able to find legislation which ensures adequate drop kerb allocation.
Many a time, I have parked in a mobility park, only to be unable to get onto the pavement once I have exited my car. I appreciate that not all who require mobility parking are unable to step up onto the pavement, though I’m sure all would appreciate a drop kerb. I recently was pleased to be parked immediately outside the door of the shop I wanted to visit, only to find that I had to wheel all the way to the end of the units to access a drop kerb. Far from ideal, but this is potentially dangerous. As a wheelchair user, I am short, and very difficult to see, particularly by cars about to reverse out of their parking space. Add Walter to this, my service dog, and you have a double risk.
For those of you in Auckland, I have just fired off an email to Auckland Transport (cc’d to Auckland Council). Twice in the last few weeks, I have gone to Mission Bay, only to have huge parking issues, but not due to lack of space! The 6.5 km of road between Ports of Auckland and Mission Bay offers over 95% roadside parking, much of which is empty. However, none of this is marked as mobility parking (making parking a gamble when your car has a rear ramp, because you know many other road users don’t notice, or take notice of, polite ‘Please leave me room’ stickers). Additionally, if you take a calculated risk, and someone else is driving so they can move the car if necessary, the only drop kerbs in this whole stretch of road are by junctions or pedestrian crossings (and there is a minimum of 6m to the next park according to NZ road law, if indeed any of these were free, and naturally, they weren’t). This would mean a very scary trek for me and Walter, along a stretch of road known by cyclists as being notoriously dangerous. You’ll be glad to know that we don’t dare take this risk - in fact, a few weeks ago, we nearly came home without getting out of the car.
I have also encountered mobility parks which do have a drop kerb, but rather than being offset between two parks, the drop kerb is immediately in front of the mobility space. This renders the drop kerb useless, as your own car is in the way. I recall a fateful day when this delayed me for an hour. I left the mobility park empty and parked in the next regular park, so as to be able to use the drop kerb. After a quick lunch, I returned to my car. However, the mobility park was in use, and the drop kerb inaccessible. Worse still, this car was not displaying a mobility permit. I visited every shop in that establishment, looking for the car owner to politely request that they briefly move their car - nowhere to be found. I had to wait 45 minutes for the driver to reappear (from a different direction entirely). They jumped in their car and drove off, ignoring me completely while I tried to explain the problem he had caused me.
Please, I implore you, take note of where drop kerbs are if you need them, before choosing where to park. If there is no safe passage, or it is illogical, please consider contacting the car park landlord (as per previous blog Parking - Mobility Parks). I recently did this for the car park which located the drop kerbs and the mobility parks at opposite ends of the car park. Following my initial email, the reply showed concern and compassion, so I also mentioned about 3 other parking issues within the same car park. The property management company explained that as the location was owned by a body corporate, suggestions for modifications had to be agreed by the board, but that they would definitely be putting forward recommendations to address all the issues I had raised. I will be following that up this week. Let’s see what happens with the Tamaki Drive issue !
One day, accessibility really will be for all.