Ignorance is no “good” excuse……..

October 17, 2008. Location: Millville, New Jersey. State Assemblyman Matt Milam illegally parks his 2006 GMC Yukon (presumably white) in the access aisle adjacent to a van accessible parking space. Here are the facts and just the facts:

The Daily Journal: Milam to fight handicapped parking ticket

The lawmaker’s large sport-utility vehicle was allegedly parked partially in the handicapped space, according to the summons.

The extra-wide space is designed to accommodate vans with hydraulic lifts for wheelchairs.

Milam said he parked in a space between the handicapped spot and a curb, and had no idea he might have crossed the line.

Milam has vowed to fight this windmill….er….ticket on the grounds that he has relatives with disabilities and that he doesn’t want to pay the $250.00 fine.

In his defense, this is a common parking violation that architects can help prevent by using Better Design. First let’s recreate the crime using the CSI Advanced Specualanalytical Conjectograph (TM).

No googles were injured in this re-creation.

Crime Scene: No googles were injured in this re-creation.

The accessible parking space is 8′-0″ minimum in width and, because it is a van accessible space, the adjacent access aisle is 8′-0″ minimum. The space is properly designated by a vertically mounted sign; the specific location of the vertical sign is not defined by the ADAAG. The access aisle is properly marked.

Assuming that the Assemblyman “accidentally” parked in the access aisle because the striping was faded, how could better design have prevented this?

Take a look at this enhanced image of the recreated crime scene.

Moments before the crime.

Crime Scene: Moments before the crime.

Although this accessible parking space fully complies with the ADAAG, the 9′-0″ wide access aisle is a tempting parking space, especially if the striping is faded or obscured by snow. Note: The minimum width is 8′-0″ but 9′-0″ is used in the example because it is common for spaces to be made wider to accommodate the huge SUVs driven by scoff-law politicians.

If the “universal” design was used for the van accessible parking space, instead of an 8′-0″ min space with an 8′-0″ min access aisle, the accessible parking space would be 11′-0″ min and the access aisle would be 5′-0″ min. Unless he traded his Yukon in for a SmartCar, Mr. Milam would not have been able to accidently park in the access aisle.

Crime Proof Van Accessible Parking

Crime Proof Van Accessible Parking

Although it is permissable to use the 8′ + 8′ design, the 11′ + 5′ is now the recommended layout.

It is my belief that Mr. Milam did accidently block the access aisle and he should not have to pay the $250 fine, but I would recommend the 90 days of community service. He could use that time to evaluate all of the other poorly designed accessible parking in his town.

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2 Responses to Ignorance is no “good” excuse……..

  1. Wally Tirado says:

    Nice Post, Jerome.

    What I find most common is motorcycles parking in the aisles. As shown in a picture from my own blog:


    [visit Wally’s Blog here]
    Unfortunately, simply changing to the “universal design” concept of accessible parking won’t 100% solve. When a van uses the space they’ll be required to park on the far left side of the aisle still leaving the aisle with available space for someone to park his SUV.

    Most often in retail centers architects will design their access aisles to be 9′-0″ so that parking between rows will remain even, exacerbating the problem.

    See you at TRASA

  2. […] to the right of it. It is designed for vehicles with a lift, like my father used to drive. A decent representation of the parking spot is found here. Unfortunately, the diagram does not show the slant of the space. The slant cuts into […]

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