Why do we have Disability Parking Wars?

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…

DP8        Performance requirement

                Carparking spaces for use by people with a disability must be:

                (a)    provided, to the degree necessary, to give equitable access for carparking; and

               (b)    designated and easy to find.

Limitation       Clause DP8 does not apply to a building where:

                         (a)   a parking service is provided; and

                        (b)   direct access to any carparking spaces by the general public or occupants is not available.

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.

For example….

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.

Permit holders to population by postcode shown with median age of population in that postcode.

Permit holders to population by postcode shown with median age of population in that postcode.

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%.

You know you're disabled when it's easier to get a disability parking permit than it is to find an available disability parking bay.

You know you’re disabled when it’s easier to get a disability parking permit than it is to find an available disability parking bay.

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.

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Comments (6)

  1. John Counsel


    Thanks, Elisha. The thoroughness and relevance of your research is outstanding. 😀

    • nopermitnopark


      You’re welcome John. Here’s hoping the Review board took notice of the submissions.

  2. pam briggs


    an you supply details for the Nth lakes precinct Main shopping centre? It is woeful re disability parks. I have stopped going there. they apparat to have reduced normal parking when remodeling, so I think in consequence they may have reduced the disability parking bays. I noticed your address at Nth Lakes, so thought you may know.

    • nopermitnopark


      Hi Pam,
      Yes I’m a local resident and use a PO Box there so I feel your pain. The parking issue at Westfield is a nightmare while the redevelopment is happening and I have been trying to work with them to fix issues but it’s a case of too many levels of management involved.

      You’ll be pleased to know that Westfield actually tried to have the requirements of disability parking in their development application reduced from 2% (council’s minimum requirement) to 1% to accommodate more “sought after” parents with prams parking and council said NO. Flat out No.

      The new parking areas will have the new Australian Standards Parking style bays for people with disability permits however the old parking areas will remain the old standards. There are some on going issues of bays not meeting any standards and being unusable to people with disabilities and Westfield management are still to respond to me about these.

      In the interim, depending on your mobility needs, can I suggest trying to park in The Corso and walking or wheeling across if those bays are available. There are four in total on the street parking but as it is council street parking are only allowed for Blue permit holders (ADPP) not red permit holders. There is also parking in the Library building underground which is accessible via Endeavour Drive. Disability permit holders are exempt from the time limits there.

      Keep watch on the Facebook page for more updates re disability access in North Lakes altogether. I’m working with council and in particular Councillor Julie Greer to keep improving North Lakes as an inclusive community. If you have any further questions please feel free to ask here, on FB or by email friday@nopermitnopark.com
      Elisha “Friday” Wright
      No Permit No Park Founder

  3. Wayne


    There is enough parking in there to provide for 7% of the total population in that postcode but only 1% of the people wit permits. A very good example albeit not the median which the legislation tries to address.
    I would try to avoid this place if you need a DSP spot.

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