INVISIBLE/HIDDEN DISABILITY CAMPAIGN
Not all disabilities are visible. Frequently, we hear from permit holders who have a hidden or invisible disability who tell us that their need for an accessible parking space was questioned. The idea for this initiative came through comments received through our Your Ideas initiative and through conversations that we have had with permit holders.
As part of SPARC BC’s public education and outreach, we have developed a series of cards that include information about invisible or hidden disabilities. The cards highlight different messages and include, “Please leave space for me”, “I have good days and bad days, on good days, I don’t use this space,” and “I am a valid permit holder.”
In developing these cards, one of our goals has been to work with TransLink or B.C. Transit to create a campaign that would allow people with invisible or hidden disabilities to have access to the priority seating on buses and transit. In this case, the card would say “Please offer me a seat” and could be used by anyone with a disability to access priority seating.
ACCESSIBLE PARKING IN ACCESSIBLE COMMUNITIES
In 2019, we launched our project called “Accessible Parking in Accessible Communities.” Working with the Richmond Centre for Disability, the South of Fraser Active Living Group (SFALG), and other community partners and stakeholders, SPARC BC developed a “mapping app” that captures information on the inventory of accessible parking spaces both on and off the street.
It includes information on the location of the spaces both in terms of the type of spaces available as well as design-related considerations (location, dimensions, signage, and safety). Patterns of use for the spaces were also recorded including instances of misuse and abuse.
The research is being used to demonstrate the need for different types of spaces including the need for more van accessible parking, as well as to strengthen efforts around enforcement.
Accessible Parking Awareness Month
SPARC BC introduced its first Accessible Parking Awareness Month in November 2020.
Through Accessible Parking Awareness Month, our goal is to reach out to local governments to build increased awareness around existing and emerging needs for accessible parking as well as strengthen efforts to better meet the needs of people with disabilities. We want to draw attention to the need for designated accessible parking and to put measures in place which allow communities to work together to help ensure these spaces are respected and protected.