By: Mack Marsh
Project Director of Access Empowerment and responsible for the daily operations of the Parking Mobility program to end “accessible parking abuse”. Most importantly, Mack is “Dad” to two children and is actively involved in their school and sports careers. On any given weekend, Mack and the boys can be found at any local fishing spot, camping in the great outdoors or on an adventure pushing the boundaries of their abilities. Since Mack’s injury, he and the boys have planned a different adventure every year, the only requirement is that it has to include something they haven’t done before.
15 years ago I experienced a C7 spinal cord injury. I use a powerchair and drive a ramp van. After my injury, it became apparent there were hurdles and barriers to accessing my community. As Dad to two active boys, this seemed to be magnified. My biggest disappointment was finding that accessible parking abuse seemed the one barrier that didn’t need to be. Countless trips to ball-parks, restaurants, movies, school functions…just about everywhere we would see people parking without a plate or placard. Or we’d come out from a fun evening to find a car parked in the access aisle blocking the entrance to my van. Confrontation wasn’t the answer and didn’t work, it always escalated and everyone left angry.
Seven years ago, a group of friends and I were talking about accessible parking abuse and decided that evening to do something about it. We developed the “Parking Mobility” App to gather data to show the extent of the problem. We started talking to police, judges, prosecutors, administrators and community leaders. We found a vast misunderstanding of the issue. Cops didn’t see it as a priority; Judges didn’t want to punish the disability community; prosecutors dismissed 80% of violations and community leaders didn’t even know it was a problem.
Using data gathered through the “Parking Mobility” App, we demonstrated the extent of the problem and proposed a solution…the “Parking Mobility Program”. People using the App are given the opportunity to become trained volunteers, their reports using the App are then converted to a citation that is mailed to the owner of the vehicle. That person is given 3 options:
- Pay the fine
- Request a court date to say why they’re not guilty
- Pay a reduced fee and take an online course to learn:
- The laws and rules of accessible parking
- The importance of accessible parking
- The contributions that people with disabilities offer to the community
The program is proving a HUGE success. In one community in Texas, we have reduced violations by 80%…volunteers complain they can’t find violations to report…a great problem to have. Our community partners love the program because it provides a positive approach to solving a problem and doesn’t rely on punishment alone. Community leaders love it because the program generates more revenue than it costs to run. And the disability community loves it because it puts the solution to a problem in their own hands.
This App, now working in one or two communities, is a great idea. It has also has contract proposals for full development submitted in Illinois, Oregon, Florida and New York because people have used the App to help gather data that is critical to educating their community leaders. For more information on how it works go to, www.parkingmobility.com or visit www.facebook.com/ParkingMobility.
Fantastic! How about CT?
Don’t you think that doctors who must sign off on these requests from their patients who really do not need parking accessibility? Or maybe just temporarily is OK! But for 4 years, then easily renewed? Doctor could use some enlightenment as well!
Even those with the proper plates and placard don’t understand the need to keep the side door “roll down” area clear.
A++Found your blog while also searching for the customer service #.Riding out the contract for another 6 months and lesson learned. NEVER AGAIN.It’s not only the CUSTOMER service, it’s the dropped calls while on the 5 in Southern CA. For those that don’t know, it’s a major freeway on the west coast running north to south, not some rural area. And the fact I spdcoairally don’t get service in my house made it really difficult when my husband was deployed to Iraq and I just wanted a few minutes to hear his voice.
I am as seven-year paraplegic. I love this idea. I to have a car that has a ramp that pulls out to the side of my car. there are a lot of areas that I found and even at my mother’s nursing home that have a parking spot for handicaps that no markers or lines to the side of it that allow for a ramp to be used. It is just A regular parking spot that is close to the door of the nursing home. I have to park at the farthest end of the parking lot to allow an area on my rant to fold. Which usually includes the yard of the home or the exit area. So, wondering if these lines are supposed to be by every handicapped area or at least one of the handicapped areas??? I love the idea of you app for when I am out and about also. Thank you very much and you can contact me if necessary.
I need to do some kind of adrgotisine/prvmotion of some kind, I’m just kind of clueless as to how to do it at the moment. I used to be more active on other message boards, but as of recently I’ve just been lurking around certain places and I wouldn’t want to come off as trying to spam any particular board, so I’d have to be careful in how I did any kind of promotion.I should do something though. Just posting stuff up here and hoping that people find it really isn’t the best idea.