Since August of last year, I have become disabled and am unable to walk long distances without a mobility aid.
The problem I have in Prince George is with the parking and the rules that were created in 2016 that limit parking downtown, including the use of handicapped parking, to three hours. The issue I am having is the lots that I am required to park at are at least four or five blocks away from where I work, making it so that I have to walk which is not fair for the city to ask me to do considering I can barely do that on my own.
If a proper handicap parking permit is displayed on my vehicle, it is not up to anyone in the city to judge whether or not I have the ability to walk to or from said parking spot, or an off-street parking lot. That right is reserved for my doctor, and only my doctor, who understands my individual needs as a patient.
The city has designated that there is free on-street parking downtown available for up to three hours except in designated no parking zones. However, there is an obvious issue that handicapped people face if they want to spend more than three hours downtown. The issue of handicapped parking is not addressed at all within the parking rules on the city's webpage and it needs to be.
The city must understand that it is often a necessity for a person with a disability to be close to their destination. Today, approximately 14 per cent of Canadians have a disability that impacts their daily activities, with 80 per cent of those reporting that they use an accessibility aid (walker, cane, wheelchair). I understand that each municipality is responsible for their own bylaws and enforcement however I believe we should allow for some degree of humanity.
The solution I have is simple. Allow people to park in the handicapped parking spots around town without the three hour parking restriction. It only makes sense to keep it the same as it is everywhere else in town and this way doesn't allow for the discrimination of disabled people as it does now.