Handicapped Parking | California | Living in Mexico

Handicapped Parking

Can you even call it "Handicapped Parking" anymore? I've been away from American culture so long, that out of ignorance, I'll call it Handicapped Parking, hoping you'll forgive me if I'm using a term now considered offensive.

The Park Service appears to be making a concerted effort to provide facilities for the handicapped. At Sequoia National Park, several parking lots once available to all are now reserved for handicapped persons only. Here's a photo of the lot near the General Sherman Tree. It's huge.

Non-handicapped persons use a new lot a mile farther up the road and have to walk back on a trail that has a 200-step climb to get to the tree, so you have to be in fairly good shape to even get there. Definitely not for the handicapped. Sorry, bud. Take a hike. (Oops.)

SH01

The lot has maybe 10-12 parking spots. Seems like a lot to me. But who knows, maybe 10-12 handicapped persons, their attendants and families, sometimes arrive simultaneously, and God forbid they should have to wait a little until a spot opens up.

Leading from the parking lot is a paved, wide trail, so people in wheelchairs or PMDs (personal mobility devices—don't get me started) can get over to the tree.

It's easy to be critical, but all you can do is comment on the scale of the facility. You may think there should be more. Or less. But basically, this arrangement permits access to great scenic and natural places that might otherwise be denied to some people.

It ain't workin' that way.

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I caught this 50-something couple walking briskly form the tree site to their car. They have one of those blue handicapped cards hanging from their rearview mirror. They're in better shape than I am. So how come they have a handicapped parking pass?

The other two cars occupying some of the 10-12 spaces also had temporary cards. I saw the couple from one of them park and fairly leap from their car in their eagerness to jog up to the tree and snap a couple of photos. Frickin' gazelles.

So, what the hell is going on, here?

1) These people talk their doctors into giving them cards, when they get bunions or something.
2) These people borrow Grandma's card, who is in a nursing home with a feeding tube and will never in her life ride in a car again.
3) These people are scumbag doctors who authorize their own cards.
4) These people make color photocopies of other people's cards.
5) These people download handicapped symbols and photoshop phony cards.

Whatever it is, this is a good idea that has gone terribly wrong.

Incidentally, a dozen other cars also parked in the Handicapped Reserved parking lot. They parked on crosshatched "No Parking" areas so they would be in compliance with the law prohibiting unauthorized use of handicapped spaces.

Lower fine that way, you see.
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