Acrod access denied
CHANGES to the regulations governing Acrod parking bays have exacerbated an already dire situation for WA drivers living with mobility issues, says disabled access activist Peter Harris.
Mr Harris has been paralysed from the waist down since falling from his balcony in a painting accident in 1973.
Although wheelchair-bound, Mr Harris has maintained an active lifestyle and regularly drives all over the city.
In recent times, it has become increasingly difficult for the 84-year-old to find a suitable place to park his car, with the new configuration of 2.4m Acrod bays separated by 2.4m of shared space slashing the available parking.
“The old 3.3m wide space has always been enough for me and you could park hugging either line depending on how your car is configured,” Mr Harris said. “For just two bays, 7.2m is an unnecessary waste.
“The empty space, which contains a bollard, seems to be designed by people with no experience at all as
d448463 a disabled driver. “
Mr Harris first encountered the new configuration during a trip to Fiona Stanley Hospital. Since then, his local senior citizens centre has also adopted the configuration, reducing the number of bays from seven to four.
“From my observations, at least 80 per cent of Acrod permit holders do not use a wheelchair anyway and so don’t require so much extra space,” Mr Harris said.
National Disability Services WA could not verify the percentage of Acrod permit holders who use a wheelchair but operations manager Frances Buchanan said the number of permit holders in the state had jumped almost 17 per cent from 65,000 in 2013 to 76,000 at the start of 2016.
“There are more people with permits due to an ageing population and an increase in chronic illness across lifespan,” she said. “The difference between a wheelchair user and a person who walks with assistance is not reflective of the actual difficulty people may have.”
Disabled access activist Peter Harris.