Wuan and I do not go to Amcorp Mall often. The only two attractions there for us are the BookXcess for books at bargain basement prices and J One Camera for reasonably priced cameras and accessories. We usually park at the open air car park which has an accessible parking that is just across the driveway from the main entrance.
Accessible parking at Amcorp Mall open air car park.
The few times that we were there, it was occupied although some of the vehicles do not have the wheelchair logo on the windscreen. To give the drivers of these vehicles the benefit of the doubt, I usually assumed that they carried disabled passengers. If not, may these inconsiderate drivers soon experience what I have to go through all the time.
The last time we went there to get a replacement for a faulty dry cabinet power adaptor at J One Camera, we found that a very conspicuous signboard was erected on the kerb of the accessible parking with the word “Physically Challenged Only”. While I appreciate the management’s effort in ensuring that undeserving people are reminded not to abuse the parking, the language used could be improved.
Parking for “Physically Challenged Only” at at Amcorp Mall.
A “physically challenged” situation in this context is manmade. Disabled people are physically challenged only when there are no accessible facilities or such facilities are abused and disabled people denied usage. A more appropriate phrase would be “For Disabled People Only”. However, I believe the intention of the sign was to specify that the parking is reserved for wheelchair users and people with mobility impairments only.
Anyway, I have digressed. Amcorp Mall should be commended for considering the needs of disabled people. Perhaps, they can make it even more convenient by adding another one or two accessible parkings. One lot out of the entire car park is grossly insufficient. Better still, make these parkings sheltered all the way to the main entrance. Open air parking is an incovenience for disabled people when it rains. I am not sure if there are any similar parking spaces in the basement though.
Tags: abuse of accessible parking, accessible parking, Amcorp Mall, BookXcess, disabled driver, disabled parking, disabled people Malaysia, handicap parking, handicapped parking, J One Camera, OKU parking, wheelchair user Malaysia
No, I am not talking about the shock most of us experience when we look at the mirror in the morning. The ugly Malaysians here are those inconsiderate few who make life miserable for many disabled people. Their acts have caused a great deal of inconvenience to us, directly and indirectly.
Accessible parking at Lot 10 blocked by a sign.
They park indiscriminately in bays allocated to disabled people, blatantly ignoring the clamp and fine warnings because most times, this ruling is not enforced. To stop such abuse, car park managers barricade these bays with parking cones or chain them up. However, this does not solve the problem at all as the barricades also prevent disabled people from parking in the bays.
Security personnel unlocking chained up accessible parking at Jusco Kinta City Ipoh.
Some car park managers leave a phone number to be called for assistance. Others have security personnels nearby that can be summoned by a honk. The real problems are in car parks that are barely manned, and especially when the disabled driver is unaccompanied. This restricts disabled people driving solo to only a handful of places.
Accessible parking bays at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur blocked by traffic cones.
The act of having to put up warning signs and barricades at accessible parking bays clearly shows the mentality of some drivers. These inconsiderate people would park in one, without a second thought, if they could get away with it, and most of the time they do. This perpetuates the abuse as offenders are emboldened by the lack of enforcement.
Signboard at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur warning against abusing accessible parking.
As I see it, putting up barricades is not a solution to stem this abuse. Car park managers, including local authorities, must strictly enforce the clamp and fine rule, or tow away offending vehicles. It is only through severe punitive measures that these people will be forced obey the rules and hopefully learn to be more considerate.
Tags: abuse of accessible parking, disabled driver, disabled parking, disabled people Malaysia, handicap parking, handicapped parking, inconsiderate people, irresponsible driver, Jusco Kinta City, Kinta City Shopping Centre, Lot 10, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, wheelchair user Malaysia
Selangor issued free parking stickers to disabled persons some time in September last year which covered all the municipalities in the state. Penang just issued similar free parking stickers to disabled persons for areas under the jurisdiction of the Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang (MPPP).
Frankly, I would not mind paying for parking if there are sufficient accessible parking spaces and the parking meters are convenient to use. After all, what is 30sen per half hour compared to parking in shopping complexes which ranges from RM1 to RM3 per hour?
Nevertheless, in my opinion, the practice of providing free parking for disabled people should be tied to the provision of accessible public transport and built environment. Many disabled people are compelled to drive because that is the only way to travel. The infrastructure in Malaysia is still as inaccessible as it was half a century ago.
If public transport and the built environment can provide a seamless journey, I would very much prefer to use public transport instead of going through the hassle of transferring from wheelchair into the car and vice versa, and then have difficulty looking for a suitable parking space. Using public transport is cheaper too as compared to paying for car installments, petrol and maintenance.
Free parking, therefore, should be viewed as a form of “compensation” for the lack of accessible infrastructure that impedes the mobility of disabled people. It should never be considered an act of charity on the part of the government and a right to such freebies on the part of disabled people.
Charity is not a right. It puts the beneficiary on an unequal footing with the benefactor. In the pursuit of rights, equality and dignity, disabled people should not expect to be accorded privileges. If we want equality, then we have to play our part in society, too, by paying for our share.
Anyway, what I would like to see is sufficient parking spaces of the correct dimensions for wheelchair users to exit and enter the car conveniently and safely, and that these spaces are not abused by non-disabled drivers or vehicles without a disabled passenger.
Accessible parkings should preferably be perpendicular to the kerb. The recommended width is 3.6m as prescribed in the Guidelines on Buildings Requirements for Disabled Persons published the Jabatan Kerajaan Tempatan. This recommendation complies with MS 1184 and MS 1331. The recommended width for a regular parking space is 2.4m.
Parking for disabled people in Penang – screen capture from The Star Online.
Parallel parking is not recommended unless it is away from the flow of traffic. It poses a safety risk for the wheelchair user when exiting or entering the car with the traffic passing by at close promixity. This point is what I wanted to raise when I saw the image in The Star Online.
The parking space is barely wide enough to fit the Myvi. There are two scenarios here. One: The disabled driver risks getting hit by passing traffic while entering or exiting the car, there being no space allowance for wheelchair from the flow of traffic. Two: A disabled passenger will not be able to get out. There is no space between the car and kerb on the front passenger side.
Simply painting a wheelchair logo on the parking space does not make it instantly useful for disabled people. It is apparent here that there is no compliance whatsoever to the code of practice. MPPP should upgrade these parking spaces to the proper dimensions to ensure safety and functionality of users.
I applied for and got the parking sticker from Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya (MPAJ) in December last year. Having this sticker does not make it any more convenient when going out. Accessible parking spaces are far and few in between. When I did come across any, it would mostly probably occupied by vehicles without these stickers or other stickers with the wheelchair logo.
Selangor and Penang have taken the lead in this matter. Both states now need to ensure that there are sufficient accessible parking spaces and impose strict enforcement against people who abuse these facilities. While they are at it, they should also ensure that the areas surrounding these parking spaces are barrier-free. There is really no point in being able to park for free and not being able to move around in a wheelchair in those places.
Nonetheless, I commend the governments of Selangor (my adopted state) and Penang (my home state) for moving forward in issues of accessibility. I hope they will not rest on their laurels. There is a lot more that needs be done to ensure the full inclusion of disabled people in society.
Tags: abuse of accessible parking, accessible parking, disabled driver, disabled parking, disabled people Malaysia, free parking stickers for disabled people, Jabatan Kerajaan Tempatan, Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya, Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang, MPAJ, MPPP, MS 1184, MS 1331