IWA has over a number of years campaigned for a comprehensive review of the current process of issuing Parking Cards. Of particular concern is the level of increase in the number of Parking Cards being issued without any corresponding increase in wheelchair accessible bays. IWA recently presented to the Minister Noel Dempsey, Minister of Transport, this report carried out by the association which looked at the current system for issuing parking permits and made recommendations to address the difficulties highlighted in the report. The purpose of this report is to influence and assist the Department of Transport’s review of the Parking Permit Scheme, as committed to in the Department’s Sectoral Plan.
The Parking Permit Scheme was born out of a basic need to facilitate independence for people with limited mobility. A person with a disability requires access to a disabled parking bay because of its size (accessible parking bays are larger than the standard parking space) and its proximity to facilities.
The report highlights the significant increase in the number of Parking Permits being requested by the public. In 2002, just over 3,000 Parking Permits were issued. In 2007, it is expected that this figure will increase to 14,000. It is estimated that there is over 30,000 Parking Permits in circulation. An IWA report states that this increase is not matched by an increase in the number of accessible parking bays.
Additionally, the Report states that the current medical criteria’s lack of definable parameters has lead to liberal interpretations by GPs. This has resulted in people with very minor conditions or disabilities receiving Parking Permits. The IWA report looked at best international practise and made a series of recommendations in order to influence and assist the Department of Transport’s review of the Parking Permit Scheme.
Other issues raised in this report are:
- Decline in allocation and availability of wheelchair accessible bays
- Abuses of scheme
- Lack of enforcement
- Lack of a coordinated approach from all relevant parties involved in scheme.
One of the principal objectives of the IWA advocacy team for 2008 is to ensure that the Department of Transport will carry out the promised review of the Parking Permit Scheme as outlined in the Dept of Transports Sectoral Plan under the Disability Bill will be adhered to. See www.transport.ie.