Readers responded with their own tales of woe and outrage to a two-day Free Press examination of parking problems encountered by disabled people in metro Detroit.
The two-day report and accompanying video, which can be seen at freep.com, exposed widespread abuse of handicap parking laws in the Detroit area and uneven enforcement. With the exception of Warren, police rarely check handicap plates or parking placards for fraudulent use, according to data provided to the Free Press from 21 police departments and courts. The problems come with a record number of handicap plates and placards issued for use in Michigan.
Bruce Sachs, chairman of the Michigan Polio Network, wrote: “As a polio survivor and scooter user, I greatly appreciated your article. … Although I can access my scooter from the rear of my SUV, many of our members need the side room in the blue areas (of handicap parking spaces) to exit and enter their vehicles.
“Also, many of us have limited walking ability and need to park close the entrance.”
As the Free Press also reported, sometimes appearances can be deceiving when observing an apparently able-bodied person using a handicap space.
“I have been living with MS,” multiple sclerosis, “for four years now,” wrote Tammy Malkowski of St. Clair Shores. “I do use a cane when I am out in case my legs feel weaker than normal, but I don’t always have it with me. I am 40 years old, but appear younger than my age, so that brings even more looks.
Some readers complained about parking lot painters whose work doesn’t meet specifications for handicap spaces and drivers who leave their handicap placards swinging from their rear-view mirrors while operating a vehicle.
Read more about this outrage in the Detroit Free Press