It’s not easy to get a disability parking permit these days. Well it seems that way for most of us. I know myself having applied for a temporary permit when I was trying to convince myself my condition was not going to be permanent (Yeah I know, no cure for Parkinson’s but at that stage we didn’t know it was Parkinson’s), having to reapply for a permanent one when I accepted the diagnosis only to have it rejected (don’t go there), and having to apply for an appeal of the decision.
Eventually my permit was granted. As more states move to the nationally recognised Australian Disability Parking Permit Scheme which suggested stricter eligibility requirements, it’s even harder than it ever was to get a permit. As it should be. Permit schemes were designed to provide equitable access for people whose mobility prevents them being able to access places they go in their community. Not just cos your feet get puffy when you do a lap of the supermarket.
You can be forgiven though for believing it’s easier to get a disability parking permit than it is to get a disability parking space.
Reason being that in many regions of our “lucky” country, it’s true.
While the Disability (Access to Premises – Buildings) Standards 2010 outline the minimum requirements for parking spaces in different building classes it’s a very, very rare case that builders or developers or goodness forbid the approving council, remembers the Performance Requirements clause in Part 2 of the legislation…
Key words here being TO THE DEGREE NECESSARY.
Already, in our ageing population (not because age gives you a permit but because the rate of disability increases with age), on a national level the number of permits current to population outweighs the minimum requirements legislated for parking allocation.
A shopping centre (class 6 building) must have a minimum of 1 disability parking space per 50 spaces for the first 1000 spaces and 1 per 100 for every space after that. So in a shopping centre with 5000 spaces only 60 or just 1.2% of the total parking will be allocated to disability permit holders. Nationally the percentage of the population that holds a current disability parking permit is more than 4.5%. Not so bad you say?
When we look closer at specific areas it actually gets a little crazy.
Here’s a list of a few selected postcodes in NSW showing the number of disability parking permits currently issued to the population.
So lets look at the postcode with the highest percentage 2263 on the Central Coast.
The largest shopping centre in the area (that I could locate with the help of Google Maps) is Lake Haven Shopping Centre.
Lake Haven Shopping Centre boasts 1600 parking spaces. If they stuck with the legislated minimum requirement of disability parking spaces there would be 26. 1 per 50 spaces of the first 1000 spaces is 20 plus 1 per 100 for the next 600 is 6 totalling 26. That is 1.6% of space adequate for people with disability parking permits to park. However the suburb of Lake Haven and it’s neighbours in the 2263 postcode has a whopping percentage of permit holders to population of over 10%.
Must make shopping a very interesting exercise around there.
In fact in the whole of NSW we have over 4.7% of the population holding a disability parking permit. More than double the amount of accessible parking spaces available.
And yet we have people without disabilities wondering why we get so cranky about non permit holders using the spaces?
Get a life they reckon? Ha, we’ll try that out… as soon as we can find a park.