Q: Why are “Handicapped Parking” places at hospitals, pain and orthopedic clinics, and even churches often located tens of yards from the entrances? This is fine for the healthy, but it can be a challenge for people who are actually handicapped — elderly in general, those with oxygen generators or tanks, people using canes, crutches and walkers. Then there’s the added challenge of going the distance when it’s raining, or when there is a cold wind and the roads are sloppy during winter months.
A: The reader listed several examples, including the orthopedic clinic at the Wickersham Health Campus, the Mankato Clinic, the St. Peter hospital and some churches. He described places where the disability parking could be located in lieu of landscaping, the canopied drive-up spots for dropping off patients, grassy areas and lengthy entrance walks.
“I guess we handicapped could park someplace and call a taxi or Dial-A-Ride to drop us off at the covered entrance,” he wrote. “Alternatively, it seems these problems could be solved if every architect team has at least one handicapped member, or better yet, every graduate be made to go thirty yards with a walker and umbrella during a driving rainstorm.”
A: Corey Brunton of North Mankato-based Brunton Architects, who agreed to tackle this issue, disagreed with any suggestion that it would be a good idea to replace the canopied drop-off spots with handicapped parking, especially at the entrances of health care facilities.
“At the Wickersham campus and at the hospitals, it’s extremely important to allow the drop-off of people who are elderly, people who can’t even drive, to get them as close to the door as possible,” Brunton said. “Sometimes that just trumps parking stalls, to be quite honest.”
Now, as for where handicapped parking slots are located within parking…