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Some handicapped parking spaces fixed, others remain inadequate

Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013 2:02 PM
Last updated 9:09 PM
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The Lowe’s and Walmart on Bobby Jones Expressway have restriped three handicapped parking spaces after a site inspection by The Augusta Chronicle last month found the spots failed to satisfy the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The newspaper’s informal survey also revealed three other retailers in Richmond and Columbia counties had handicapped parking spaces that were either improperly marked, had slopes too steep for vehicular wheelchair lifts or no access aisles at all, each a violation of federal code.

Those businesses – which include the Augusta Mall, Toys R Us on Wrightsboro Road and Chili’s on Robert C. Daniel Parkway – have not remedied or addressed any of the violations.

Lowe’s had two van-accessible handicap parking spaces that lacked marked access aisles and was the first to bring defective spots up to ADA code, which according to 2010 standards require access aisles to “be marked so as to discourage parking in them.”

Walmart, which had an access aisle for a handicap parking space marked “Van-Accessible” at the head of the spot, moved the loading zone “adjacent and parallel” to the spot’s vehicle pull-up space as required by law. Kayla Whaling, spokeswoman for Walmart, said all spaces are in compliance with ADA.

The handicapped parking spaces still in violation of federal law are:

• A ramp 5 inches tall, 74 inches long covering a handicapped parking space access aisle outside the Augusta Mall’s children’s play area.

ADA standards mandate that handicapped parking spaces and access aisles must be “level with surface slopes not exceeding 2 percent in all directions.”

On-site measurements with a tape measurer and a calculator found that when the height of the ramp, 5 inches, is divided by the length, 74 inches, the slope equals 6 percent.

Andrew Wilke, Augusta Mall general manager, said Thursday that he has nothing further to add to his original statement, which read: “Augusta Mall strives to be fully compliant with the American’s with Disabilities Act. In fact, we provide more accessible spaces throughout the property than is required by the ADA. We will further investigate this specific area to confirm that we are compliant and if not, we will commit to make any improvements that are needed.”

• No access aisles on any handicapped parking spaces at Toys R Us on Wrightsboro Road, although ADA standards require passenger loading zones provide a 5-foot-wide access aisle.

A spokeswoman said Thursday she will “follow up with the greater team” on the issue, apologizing for the delay in response.

• Van-accessible parking spaces at Chili’s on Robert C. Daniel Parkway were not properly marked, despite ADA law requiring such spaces have a sign that reads “Van-Accessible” be mounted below regular handicapped parking symbols.

Greg Cyrier, co-owner of the Augusta Chili’s, said the situation will be addressed.

“No one has brought this issue to our attention,” he said. “We will rectify that problem right away.”

Dena W. Iverson, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice, the agency that investigates and enforces ADA laws, also has failed to reply to Chronicle inquiries on the issues.

Comments (10) Add comment
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soapy_725 11/21/13 - 03:55 pm
Where are the handicapped spaces at the CC library?

Where are the handicapped spaces at the CC library?

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 11/21/13 - 05:17 pm
Picky, Picky

Aren't we going a little bit overboard on a non-problem?

I'm just askin’.

butterflygina 11/21/13 - 05:56 pm
Little Lamb, I agree...of

Little Lamb,

I agree...of all the things to investigate...and then we...sat up here and clicked to read the article, lol.

nocnoc 11/21/13 - 05:59 pm
Augusta Mall cites Bull

When the Augusta Mall general manager, said Thursday that he has nothing further to add to his original statement, which read: “Augusta Mall strives to be fully compliant with the American’s with Disabilities Act.

Has he walked out the FOOD COURT DOORS and looked at the 2 yes only 2 handicap spaces?

Has he tested the Handicap door switches inside & OUT.
Yesterday the OUTSIDE headed in Button was still BROKEN
that's 3+ months since I 1st mention it here.

The seldom used Taxi Stand seems to be more important to AUGUSTA
MALL than proper Handicap parking at the Food Court. Because it
my old memory serves me correctly the Food Court at one time had
many more HC spaces where it sits mostly unused.

Checking other Mall entrances I quickly noted 4 to 8+ handicap spaces or double to 3+X's as many as the Food Court.

Why more spaces at the other entrances and not for the Food Court?

Using the Mall Mgr. side stepping press release and logic.
They would be justified in reducing the number of spaces at all locations since they are already meeting ADA reg's.

corgimom 11/21/13 - 09:19 pm
All of you are one accident

All of you are one accident and one illness away from being disabled. For all any of you know, it could happen to you tomorrow- and your ideas of "non-problems" would instantly change. And unless you die young, all of us get old, and for most elderly, that means mobility issues at some point, whether temporary or permanent. Perhaps some of you should rethink your "non-problem" idea.

Sweet son
Sweet son 11/21/13 - 09:22 pm
butterfly and LittleLamb are right! No story here just Wesley

and the AC on a slow news day! Wesley and his efforts should have led him to the managers of the 'offending' locations and made them aware. He must have had a 'hot' news tip on this dastardly deed!

Georgialina 11/22/13 - 01:22 am
A non news story

My question is did they check EVERY business in Richmond and Columbia County or did they just target a few "hot spots"
Today I was at Sticky Fingers (Next door to the Chili's that Mr Brown cited a violation) I noticed that the first places closest to the door were a regular space the TWO Carry Out Only spaces then finally two handicap spaces about 40 feet away from the door. I guess carry out customers are more important to them that handicapped patrons.
IMHO this is a much bigger story that not having a "van accessible" sign below a space already marked for handicap persons.

nocnoc 11/22/13 - 07:56 am
BUT, given all these problems

BUT, given all these problems I would like to see the laws
tighten to require the person be IN a Wheelchair, or actively using a Stand up / Sit down type Walker.

In an embarrassing growing number of cases, it is a matter of people having got a Temporary Handicap Parking Placard, got over their foot problem and still want to enjoy closer parking spaces. Or those that like the extra Security the spaces up front offer.

Maybe it is time for the Gold Domes to re-address Temporary Parking abuse:
*Reduce the duration to 90-180 days,
*Changing Placard colors quarterly,
*STAMPING them with a User Picture.
and a NON-Handwritten Machine Stamped EXPIRE DATE.

A lot of states have been doing many of these for 10 years,
to reduce the abuse.

Also require the expired placard be returned or a small fine be paid. Because I personally have seen to many altered Placards with the date changed using a Computer Printed Large Address Label and then having the Placard resealed with Laminate.

Also maybe it is time for Shopping Centers to consider restriping the parking lots to run parallel to the store fronts adding, 25+% up from front spaces.

Hidden Medical Problems Or Not.
I still feel, if a person can WALK from a house to a car, and
from a car to the store door, or as in a growing number of many
cases WALK the store, shop and WALK back to the car, why is that
person use a Handicap space?

Lets get back to the Original reason for the Handicap Spaces, People in Wheelchairs.

nocnoc 11/22/13 - 09:14 am
Y'all know what

I have nothing to do today, after I spend some time target shooting.

I am going to do a informal survey of how many people that are clearly walking and using the limited Handicap Spaces vs. Wheel Chair bound users.

Nothing major, or Time consuming, maybe 20 mins for each of a few stores and some downtown spaces.

I'll let y'all know the numbers later.

nfossboss 11/22/13 - 12:03 pm
Handicap Spaces

This may be a nonstory to some, but not all. Have you ever been to the Christenberry Fieldhouse? I am an AC alumni and senior citizen who loves Jaguar basketball. The stadium is about 50 tiers high with no handrails--just straight down. We, who are physically impaired find it almost impossible to navigate the stairs. Now that AC is GRU, surely the hospital can fix this problem.

Michael Atwood
Michael Atwood 12/03/13 - 01:28 am
I don't use a wheel chair

But I have a full brace on my right knee, use a cane to get around, nerve damage and spinal cord injuries. Do I have a permit? Yes. Why? Because if I park in a regular space, people probably just like you park their v3ehicles so close to mine I have to wait for them to come out and move their vehicles so I can get into my own. Or I have to take my braced off just to get inside the opening that's provided. The idea isn't that all handicapped are in wheelchairs, it's that people have trouble or it can be impossible for them to get in and out of a vehicle in a regular space. Get over it. There are however, definite requirements for getting a permit. Maybe the Chronicle can actually review a permit application to determine exactly what those are. When I see obviously healthy individuals getting into or out of a vehicle with a tag or plate, I can tell you from filling those forms out, they do NOT qualify for that permit. A police officer issuing a citation can also determine this to a credible accuracy. Realize that every permit also has an identifying number on it. That number is assigned to an individual handicapped permit with the handicapped person's name on it. RCSD has access to this databank as does every law enforcement department in the country. There is absolutely no excuse for RCSD only issuing the number of citations it's issued in the last 3 years. Their lack of enforcement reflects on the sheriff and his department's complete lack of concern. Period.

And for Lost Lamb, not the first time I have seen your comments on handicapped parking violators. Methinks thou doest protest too much.

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