Council turns down handicap parking zone in Meadowbrook
City council agreed with the Traffic Advisory Committee (TAC) and did not support the installation of a handicap-parking zone on Meadowbrook Drive, Jan. 16.
On Dec. 5, R. Douglas Herdman asked council to look into the possibility of a handicapped-parking zone in front of his home on Meadowbrook Drive to give his disabled wife access to their house. Herdman asked for the same accommodation from the City in June 2009 and was turned down at that time.
Lorne Stevens, director of community infrastructure, spoke on behalf of TAC.
“TAC has not typically supported the installation of handicap-parking zones for many reasons,” he said.
Residential properties in the City are required to have on-site parking. Stevens said in the case of Herdman’s house, there is a double-car garage accessible from the alleyway that meets the zoning requirement.
“From a philosophical standpoint, the City has long maintained that residential street parking is public parking,” he added.
“To create areas of reserved parking in one area limits the overall use of the street for adjacent residents and creates the expectation of reserved and exclusive parking on a public street in a residential area. To create the perception that there is reserved parking for an individual undermines the fact it is public.”
Stevens said even if a handicap parking space was created on the street, anyone with authorized handicap placard is able to park there; it is not for the specific benefit or exclusive use of a particular individual.
“Based on discussions with other municipalities who have implemented some form of handicap-parking zone in residential areas, administration and enforcement of such a program can be problematic,” he said.
“Issues with removal of handicap parking zones well after the original applicant had moved on were also cited as being problematic.”
Lastly, Stevens said TAC believes it is safer for a resident to access their vehicle on their own for the purposes of loading and unloading as it removes all external influences and potential hazards such as traffic, pedestrians and bicycles.
“For these reasons and also with due regard to Mr. Herdman’s concerns about speeding traffic on Meadowbrook Drive while accessing his vehicle, TAC did not support the installation of a handicap parking zone in front of (his house),” he said
“In a city of ‘Community and Opportunity,’ it’s a matter of respect,” said Herdman after hearing a handicap-parking stall would not be placed outside his home.
He said his garage is used for a shop and his wife does not feel comfortable driving down the alley.
“I’m struggling with the fact that there is onsite parking at the residence,” said Alderman Allan Hunter.
“I could support (creating a handicap-parking spot) if there were no other options or if it was an undue hardship, but not as it is.”
Herdman said Hunter misidentified what an undue hardship is.
“It is not up to the sick person to define an undue hardship,” he said.
Herdman said he has no plans to appeal the City’s decision.