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Entries in ada (2)

Monday
May222017

Service Dog Denied Virgin Atlantic Update

As of May 15, 2017 Virgin Atlantic has replied to my letter that they are looking into properly training so this 'never happens again'.

 So, not exactly implementing a training program....

 Dear Mrs Bensko

 Thank you for your email of 15th May with your thoughts and comments.

 I am grateful that you brought this incident to our attention and am truly sorry that we let you down. Whilst it arose as a result of a genuine mistake, as I said in our telephone conversation, we have launched an immediate investigation and review of our training for our customer facing teams, to ensure that this does not happen again. The action we are taking goes beyond simply sending an email as you mention.

 I am sorry that you feel the gesture offered to you was note appropriate. It was made with the best of intentions to replace your poor experience with a very positive one.

 Once again, I apologise on behalf of Virgin Atlantic and sincerely hope that you will allow us to restore your faith in our service.

 

With best regards

 

__________

 

_________ ___________

Executive Vice President – Customer

Virgin Atlantic


This is just a first step in trying to eradicating a national virus affecting our disabled population from within the corporations of our travel and service industries.

I have written to Senators Feinstein and Harris, filed official complaint with Department of Justice and Transportation who have opened an official investigation into the discrimination and violation of the Air Carrier Access law (the equal of and predecessor to the Americans with Disabilities Act). To ensure this momentum continues forward I am supported by an invaluable dream team of individuals:

 

Heather Ansley Associate General Counsel for Corporate and Government Relations at Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) works to promote collaboration between disability organizations and veterans service organizations by serving as a co-chair of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Veterans Task Force and was instrumental in the development of the 1973 Air Carriers Act of America. 

 

Marca Bristo founder of Access Living and an international advocate for the rights of disabled individuals. During the 1980s, as a member of the Congressionally appointed United States Task Force on the Rights and Empowerment of Americans with Disabilities, she helped draft and win passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In 1994, President Clinton appointed Bristo to head the National Council on Disability, an independent federal agency that provides policy guidance to the U.S. President and Congress. Bristo was the first person with a disability to hold this position. Today, as President of the United States International Council on Disabilities, a federation of US disability organizations committed to fostering Disability Awareness inclusion and rights overseas, she is leading a campaign to promote the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in the United States.

 

And James Weisman, who is now my official representative, is president and CEO of - and general counsel for - the United Spinal Association and a dedicated advocate for over 38 years who also helped expand disability rights and ensure access to transportation for wheelchair users across the country. 

 

It is essential that ALL individuals who have been subject to discrimination in our airline industry post their story to this Air Access portal: http://www.airaccess30.org/. These WILL be used in PVA's current and on-going advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill. You WILL be heard. Without these stories the odds for change are insurmountable. 

 

Also, here is a link to the regulatory docket for DOT's efforts to amend the service animal regulation under the Air Carrier Access Act: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=DOT-OST-2015-0246. Please submit your comments and ideas for proposed legislation here. Again, these are not lost in a virtual world but are tangibly used to submit necessary legislation expanding the reinforcement of the rights of service animals nationwide. 

 

Again, thank you everyone for without each and everyone of your comments, shares and voices, none of this could have been put in motion on very personal journey to just for each and every Disabled American in search of not only acceptance, but even more importantly, justice. 

 

 


Wednesday
Aug272014

Taken And Stirred

So close and yet so far...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
wwwValetParking.com

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,

Micaela Bensko





Micaela Bensko
www.RebuildingAmericasWarriors.org
310-990-8389

Blog www.MoanaVida.com