Reserved parking acceptable term
On Prince Edward Island most accessible parking spots are indicated with a sign that reads: “Handicapped Parking.” The definition of handicapped according to The Oxford Dictionary states that the word itself is “dated and offensive” and it describes: “(A person) having a condition that markedly restricts their ability to function physically, mentally, or socially.” The word “handicapped” is extremely limiting and demeaning. These signs appear in many areas of the province and offend the very people trying to benefit from them.
I am 16-years-old and I was born with Cerebral Palsy, a physical disability that affects my balance and co-ordination. I walk independently, but walking distance causes challenges; therefore I have to use a parking pass. When I get out of the car I want to feel welcomed instead of discouraged.
Parking signs need to advance to reflect current times. Our provincial government has signs labelled “Reserved Parking” with the symbol of a person in a wheelchair. These friendly, accepting signs are available for any business on P.E.I. to acquire free of charge from The Council of People with Disabilities. It’s about time businesses across the province use signs for their parking spaces that are more socially acceptable. Businesses could very well be offending their customers without even realizing it. Islanders living with disabilities are a growing demographic and it is in the best interest of island businesses to provide a welcoming experience as soon as customers pull up to the door. Hannah MacLellan, Pownal