Ah, it seems nomatter where I wish to park nowadays, whether it be my wheels or my tush it's never boring. But Monday took the cake. I was just a gal trying to make a doctor's appointment and attempting to park her car. Sounds easy enough, right? Instead of simply writing a blog about it, I decided it was time to be proactive, instead of wallowing in my Starbucks cup over over-infalted coffee beans. The following letter may have remained private if this was not a pattern in this company's operation. A post-script is that when I told my doctor what happened (I was a blubbering mess when I entered her office so it was pretty hard to hide. Mind you, I'm a pretty tough girl at this point. They say it's a death by a thousand cuts, and perhaps this last cut was mine.) My doctor looked at me with empathy and said she parked in that lot for 18 years. The people that ran it were absolutely lovely - so kind. They always greeted her with a smile, treated everyone like family, and left such a impression on her life. Then, two years ago the current company purchased this lot and things have never been the same. The abuse she experienced by these attendants was bad enough that she no longer parks there - right behind her building - and would rather walk than be subjected to their business practices.
Here you go:
To: Quality Parking Services
Re: Parking Lot at Le Conte & Broxton
Dear Mr. Ghaed, Mr. Akbary and Mr. Iravani,
I am writing regarding an incident at your lot on Le Conte and Broxton. To preface, I am disabled and use a wheelchair, requiring handicapped parking to enter and exit my vehicle.
On Monday, August 24th, 2014 I entered your parking lot around 1:30pm as I had a 2pm appointment in the office building adjacent to it on Westwood Blvd. As usual, I looked to the left as I entered the lot to use the handicapped spot. Although it was available, a large white truck was parked in its blue protective area to be used for the disabled person’s entry and exit of the vehicle. I tapped my horn for the attendant’s attention. He approached my vehicle and I asked him if he could kindly move the white truck so I could use the open handicapped spot. He said, he couldn’t because he doesn’t have the keys. I said, no one is supposed to park in the blue area as it belongs to the handicapped spot. I mentioned he must have seen the man park, because you have to pay before you leave, and the spot is directly down the front aisle from the valet stand. His response was curt and stern. He said this lot was privately owned and “did not have to obey city rules.” I was surprised by this response, as well as the animosity he displayed toward me, a woman with a wheelchair in my front seat (or any potential client for that matter). I asked him again to please try to accommodate me, as businesses are supposed to offer something for the disabled. I would understand if the handicapped spot was already taken, but the one available wasn’t even being used for its intended purpose.
I drove around to an open able-bodied spot to see if I could exit my vehicle with my chair. I could not. I then found two spots and parked in the middle. I thought perhaps I could then create my own “handicapped spot” seeing as nothing else was even offered. The attendant approached my car, whipped out his pad and said, That will be $25.” The usual fee at that hour is $9.50. My jaw dropped. Again, I asked if he “had any humanity in him, to please simply allow me to use the two spaces for the regular price. I have to add that the lot was almost completely open. There were probably fifty spots available. Surely he could offer two for an hour. He began to raise his voice, as I started to cry I knew I had to find something as the clock was ticking and I had to get to my appointment and it takes me time to exit my car and get from A to B. I drove around the lot trying space after space several times to see if something would work. I was beside myself, extremely distraught and tears were flowing. Living a life with a disability is difficult enough. I try every single day to hold my head high and never say woe is me. Yet here I was being treated like a criminal for asking for an accommodation for my needs.
as I made my way to the front of the lot, the attendant again approached my car. I asked for his name. He said Francisco. It is at this time I noted the name of your company and knew I had to notify you.
It was then I remembered that I had parked in your lot last fall, when I first began to go out in public with my chair. I noticed a car was parked in that same handicapped spot without a placard. I had asked the attendant to please not park cars in that spot who don’t need it. He responded with the same answer Francisco did, so it is clear that this must be the protocol for your company.
I am asking that you please abide by the city laws and allow for disabled parking. I would even ask if you could please offer at least two disabled spots so we can utilize your services. With UCLA Medical Center I can only assume this would enhance your business model.
That day, I ended up having to park on the second floor underground of the UCLA Hospital and hand-wheel my way to my appointment. I was exhausted, dehumanized, and humiliated.
Please consider not only the request for the disabled community, but also the suggestion to instruct your sensitize your employees on how to treat customers of diversity and educate your company to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
ADA guidelines specifies that access aisles for car and van parking spaces, must be measured from the centerline of the marking. However, if the parking space or the access aisles is not adjacent to another parking, measurement could be made including the full width of the line.
Designed van parking spaces shall be a minimum 132 inches wideand must contain an access aisle. If it is a car parking space it shall be 96 inches width. However, van parking spaces could be 96 inches wide only if the access aisle is 96 inch wide.
Access aisles shall be adjacent to an accessible route, connecting parking spaces to entrances. Two parking spaces shall be permitted to share a common access aisle. Avoid using accessible routes behind parked vehicles. If the accessible route crosses traffic lanes, it shall be visibly marked enhancing pedestrian safety.
Access aisles shall be 60 inches wide minimum and should extend the full length of the parking space being served. Remember to mark access aisles to prevent vehicles from parking over the aisles.
The aisles must be marked clearly; however, the method and color of marking are specified by State or local laws. Aisles shall be allowed to be marked on either side of the parking space. Hint: Van aisles are recommended to be placed on the passenger side of the van space.
Aisles shall be at the same level as the parking space they are serving. Level changes are not allowed, and constitute a violation of ADA Design standards. Aisles slopes not steeper than 1:48 shall be permitted.
Access aisles should be leveled in all directions. Built-up curb ramps are not permitted to project into access aisles and parking spaces because they would create slopes greater than 1:48.
Parking space identification must include the International Symbol of Accessibility. ADA Design standards request that signs identifying van parking spaces shall contain the “van accessible” sign. Signs should be installed at least 60 inches above finish floor.
It is important to prevent vehicles or vans to obstruct the required clear width of accessible route. Parking spaces for vans and access aisles and vehicular routes serving them shall provide a minimum vertical clearance of 98 inches
In regard to the number of handicapped spaces you currently provide, this should help:
State law requires the following number of spaces, based upon the total spaces in a given lot available to the public:
• Between 16 and 25 spaces: one handicapped space
• Between 26 and 40 spaces: five percent of such spaces but not less than two
• Between 41 and 100 spaces: four percent of such spaces but not less than three
• Between 101 and 200 spaces: three percent of such spaces but not less than four
• Between 201 and 500 spaces: two percent of such spaces but not less than six
According to California Law, The ADA says that each separate lot or garage has to be compliant with their minimum parking space requirements.
If one has 20 spaces, the ADA would only require one space to be accessible (and it would have to be a van-accessible spot). If the other lot has 100 spaces, there would be four total handicapped spaces required (including one that’s van-accessible). You are clearly offering less that the spaces required by law. And yes, as a private company doing business with the public, you are NOT immune to these rules and regulations. They were actually created just with you in mind.
I look forward to your response.
Thank you for you consideration,
This is their response:
Good Morning Ms. Bensko:
I made certain inquiries and spoke with the attendant on duty on the day you visited our parking lot. We believe that a member of the public parked on the handicap space prior to the opening of the parking lot. Since there are no access control equipment at the parking lot most of our monthly parkers arrive very early prior to the attendant being on duty. We have not been able to identify the culprit but they are not supposed to park on handicap spaces as you are well aware. Unfortunately some people are ignorant of the fact.
Having said all that I sincerely apologize for the experience you had at the parking lot. We have retrained the staff to make sure that there are no vehicles without handicap placards parking on handicap spaces and if they find any violators to have them towed.
I would like to send you a gift certificate from The Cheesecake Factory which is one of our accounts, and ask you to visit us again.
May I have a mailing address for you please.
Ben Akbary, CEO
Quality Parking Service, Inc.
Quality Security Service, Inc.
15928 Ventura Boulevard Suite 103
Encino, California 91436