Thursday, May 12, 2011

Useless Parking Improvements

Useless Parking Improvements

The BWI parking garages recently completed a long awaited reopening of the Garage 1 first floor area that was designated as permit parking for persons with disabilities. The single lane of permit spaces reopened during the first week of May along with the relocation of permit spaces from the other side of the bus lane over in Garage 2.  The lane of permit spaces in Garage 2 were decommissioned as permit spaces and restriped for use by everyone, everyone that is except anyone who needs a space wide enough to get in/out of their car using a wheelchair.

As anyone who parks at the BWI rail station knows, first floor spaces are a coveted resource in short supply.  They are coveted by persons who want to get out of the garage first to try and avoid the congestion on Amtrak Way up to Route 170.  People with nominal physical anomalies and no need for extra parking width obtain official Maryland Disability Parking Placards by filling out the self certification application and getting a doctor to sign it.  Now they have legal access to the coveted first floor parking spaces.  Some posers conspire to use permits that were issued to spouses, friends or other relatives.  A few obtained the permit while inconvenienced by a temporary condition and now have carte blanch to get out of the garage easily.

The irony of posers who claim cardiac conditions or bad knees is that in order to use some of the permit spaces, they need to walk or run the length of the garage to get to their cars rather than being on one of the higher levels adjacent to the elevators.  Anyone who is running to their car and is parked in the permit area is by definition a poser, a liar and a cheat.

The project to consolidate the permit area into one garage and increase the numbers to 56 spaces was a waste of money.  It took less than one week for the over abundance of posers to fill the spaces before 7:30 AM leaving persons who use wheelchairs to seek spaces on the upper levels on the ends of aisles such that no one parks too close and blocks access to the car.  At best estimate, 50 of the 56 people using the permit area are posers who have no need for wider spaces or shorter walking distances.  I stand by my characterizations of the commuters who use the spaces and challenge any of them to prove me wrong.

I also assert that even if the garage authority designated the entire first floor levels of both garages as permitted space, they would soon fill up with parkers who have placards and license plates that allow them to not be cited by the Transit Police for parking violations.  There is an over abundance of people who have placards who would use them if they could to park on the first floor.