WSU disability parking lots continue to bring challenges to students with disabilities because of their location and number of available parking lots.
Access Center Director Meredyth Goodwin said the issues are that some disability parking spots are uphill, so it is difficult for a person with disabilities to find parking and walk uphill to get where they need to go.
Goodwin said that WSU meets its obligations to provide disabled parking spaces in the proximity to several buildings on campus.
New buildings meet the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and provide accessibility, she said.
Goodwin said the university is trying to meet the needs of students with disabilities by allowing them to park in different lots to gain access around campus.
“What I do know is that accessing is often challenging for people with mobility challenges,” she said.
Ian Reilly, WSU history major, works for the Parking and Transportation Services.
He said he prefers to work in a flat work setting without having to get near a hill on campus because the hills make it difficult for him to get around in his wheelchair.
Finding a parking spot can be a challenge, depending on where everything is, Reilly said.
He said he also uses Dial-A-Ride to get to campus if his parents aren’t able to drive him to school.
Goodwin said the facilities have an interactive campus map that shows where disability parking spaces are available.
She said students with disabilities who have a state disability placard along with a WSU parking permit can purchase the cheapest parking permit, which is Blue.
“Even if all of the disabled spaces are full, they can park anywhere without receiving a ticket,” Goodwin said. “They can park on meters without having to feed the meter.”
She said the Access Center receives complaints regarding the accessibility of parking, but they have no control over it. Goodwin said they can only refer people to the ADA Coordinator Daniel Records, or to the Parking and Transportation Services office.
Reilly said parking is difficult to find when there are big events and so he has to park further away from campus.
He would have to get dropped off right away, while his family would look for parking, he said.
“I know there are a lot more people that are disabled than I am,” Reilly said. “Let’s just try to make sure people are aware.”
Goodwin said that if there are four disability parking spaces in a lot, then that meets the ADA requirements.
Cougar Accessible Transportation Services is an accessible transportation program that students, faculty and staff with permanent or temporary mobility challenges can use to commute around campus, Goodwin said.
The program should have more resources, funding and promotion to increase their outreach, Goodwin said.
“It does not make the hills go away, but it does allow people to get close to buildings as possible,” she said.
It is important for people to know about the interactive facilities map on where it can be located and how it can be accessed, she said.
Reilly said campus buildings should be more accessible.
“If the elevators are down, then I cannot really get to where I need to go,” he said.
Goodwin said she would like to collaborate with WSU Facilities Services and Transportation Services to develop a map that would guide students with mobility challenges around campus.
She said she wants to show them the best routes to easily commute from Stadium Way to the Compton Union Building.
“I think that is a great project and exercise, it would be helpful for a lot of people,” Goodwin said.