Handicapped Parking Permits

Caitlin pointed out to me a relevant article in the Toronto Star — “Unlimited Free Parking, Anywhere, Anytime” — about abuse of handicapped parking permits. I actually had no idea that parking was free in Toronto! While I appreciate it, I don’t get why my parking should be free… I just want a space close to where I’m going. Not looking for a handout. Just the ability to use the same services and businesses as everyone else.

But I’m generally happy that the Star is doing these “stings” and catching people who are perfectly capable movers. To get a permanent handicapped parking permit (like what I have), you are supposed to have significant difficulty walking and walk with an aid. You don’t get it for being fat or being old, yet it seems like almost everyone I see with these permits is abusing it. There are a lot of parking lots where there is never handicapped parking available, yet when I watch the spots, it’s a rarity to see the person having any difficulty walking let alone a cane or other walking aid. By every visible standard they are completely mobile. Yes, I get that there are people who fall through the cracks, but there are half a million of these permits in Ontario alone. The reality is that most family doctors are pushovers and sign off on these permits for everyone who asks, and unfortunately there are way too many old people who think that they deserve special rights just because they’re old. Really bothers me and I wish there was some accountability for this fraud. If I had to make a ballpark guess, I would go so far as to say that well over 80% of all permanent handicapped parking permits were obtained fraudulently.

Anyway… Here are a couple of the learning exercises I did today with using soldering to mount the gemstones in eye sockets. That is, building up the socket around the gem to hold it in place. Because pewter is a brittle metal it’s not as simple as just using a burnisher to bend a lip over the gem. I also did some enameling. The clown looks awesome — the photo doesn’t do it justice.

I’ve really got to get around to putting together a lightbox or something. My photos are really terrible.

Oh and I have been very negligent in not mentioning that I will be at the Zombie Walk on the 22nd — that’s this Saturday — and each of the big prizes for best zombie includes one of my zombie rings. I’ll bring a bunch along for winners to choose from but if anyone else wants to see them in person and buy one, just ask me. Click click for more:

9 Comments

  1. shannon wrote:

    The ever diligent ‘they’ did a study in NY and found that most drivers using handicapped parking permits ‘inherited’ them from a grandparent who passed on, so for those people the Dr’s being pushovers is not to blame, I heard ‘they’ (possibly a different ‘they’) were considering deputizing bona fide handicapped parking permit owners to issue citations to violators themselves; I have mixed feelings about that.

    Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Permalink
  2. thomas wrote:

    I have to say that while the handicap parking issue is valid, there are definitely two sides. Some people who truly need the permit (both for closer parking and to avoid having to return and “plug” the meter) make a real effort to conceal their disability. From personal experience, when people start playing “parking cop” it leads to extremely inappropriate harassment and even verbal abuse very quickly. Another factor to consider is that the person parking the car may not be the one who will return to it.

    So I guess my point is that we all know a lot of people are abusing the parking permits, but that in no way gives someone the right to accost a suspected abuser. You have no idea what that person’s actual situation is.

    Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Permalink
  3. dresden wrote:

    It’s like that in the states. Old people and fatties are usually the ones in the spots.

    Friday, October 21, 2011 at 5:05 am | Permalink
  4. VB wrote:

    But please read this, re handicapped parking permits. Sometimes all is not as you see it.
    http://specialneedsmom.typepad.com/special_needs_mom/2011/10/to-the-author-of-the-anonymous-note-left-on-my-car-windos.html

    Friday, October 21, 2011 at 6:24 am | Permalink
  5. min wrote:

    My cousin has end-stage cystic fibrosis and frequently gets shit on for using her handicapped parking permit. Because she doesn’t have a visible mobility impairment, people feel entitled to be assholes, even though good parking can make the difference for her being able to complete errands or not. At one point, the harassment got so bad that I suggested she start carrying a cane she doesn’t need, but she felt like that this would be “disability drag” and make a mockery of people with disabling conditions different than her own. I agree that cheats should not be allowed to abuse the system, but I can’t think of an easy way to make this happen at the street level without demeaning and humiliating other, honest people who do need the accommodation in order to function. Demanding that people perform their disabilities to satisfy someone else’s sense of outrage is just gross and weird.

    Saturday, October 22, 2011 at 6:09 am | Permalink
  6. Veal wrote:

    I’m disabled and live in the UK. We get a free bus pass that can be used all over the UK, a blue badge which allows us to use disabled parking bays and park in restricted (double yellow lined) areas. Not all our parking is free though, some is just for easier access to shopping areas and the like.I personally don’t drive, but I can use the badge in whatever car I’m being driven in. And I’m very grateful for the bus pass as I live out of town and have several medical needs every week. If you get caught using a blue badge fraudulently it’s a £2000 fine. Several times I’ve had very rude elderly people question me about my entitlement simply because I’m younger, but I, like yourself, use a stick. It really upsets me when I get accosted, I don’t have to justify myself to anyone, you have to undergo rigorous screening to get the badge in the first place.

    Saturday, October 22, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Permalink
  7. Darrin wrote:

    They changed it in Michigan a while ago so it was only free parking if your particular disability prevented you from physically putting money into a meter. On the other hand, to get one, you still need any disability (missing both legs, paralysis, drug addiction, depression, etc), so the field is pretty broad. Using someone else’s permit is a larger fine than parking in a handicapped spot with no permit, but police aren’t allowed to ask what their disability is, as that’s protected medical information. They did start putting drivers license numbers at the bottom of the permits recently, at least.

    Sunday, October 23, 2011 at 5:12 am | Permalink
  8. Jennie wrote:

    Did you dress up for the zombie walk?

    Monday, October 24, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Permalink
  9. Justin C wrote:

    Hey Shannon! Any chance you could make one of your beautiful rings with hearts and cute stuff like that with your pretty gem stones? I really like your organic looking geo rings! Any how I would love to own a piece of your art but I like hearts and love and cute stuff :) Hope you have a beautiful day!

    Sunday, October 30, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Permalink
Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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