Recently, I went to see Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas at the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis with my sister, Mandy. The parking situation in downtown St. Louis was awful. I could either drop Mandy off at the front and have to walk a block or two by myself to the opera house, which isn’t exactly safe. The man directing parking said the only handicapped parking was at a meter. If I park at a meter, the curb is on the passenger side which means Mandy will not be able to transfer in to her chair. Even if Mandy had drove, I doubt the meter would allow enough space for her to transfer in to her wheelchair. As far as paying the meter, wouldn’t you think a wheelchair user should be allowed extra time to take care of their business? Considering the elevator or ramp maybe on the other side of the building, they may need extra time to get in and out of the car and the building and possibly to the restroom before the meter maid circles the block and joyously issues a parking ticket.
I tried to get in the “VIP” valet parking but was told I had to have a “VIP” placquard to use it. I guess our handicapped placquard didn’t make us VIP.
I found a lot for 15$ a block away by the Scottrade Center. We came up the block and the only accessible entrance was in the very front of the building so it was like we had to walk 3 blocks. ICK!! It was freezing cold.
The show was great. After the show, we made our way back to our car. The Peabody VIP valet had parked on the sidewalk so Mandy and I had to walk in the street, which didn’t seem very safe. I walked in front of Mandy’s chair so the oncoming traffic would see me first and not hit us. How horrible! Come on, St. Louis!! Come on, Peabody!!
I believe meters should be removed from the wheelchair parking spots and extra space allowed for the wheelchair to transfer out of the car. For special events, a wheelchair placquard should be considered VIP. That is the most safe way to accomodate individuals using wheelchairs.
For my friends who are wheelchair users, have you encountered this? How is the parking situation in your city? Any ideas on how to make it better?