Student feels campus woes
Published: Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 21:05
I have several pet peeves associated with being in a wheelchair.
The two most important school-related issues on my list involve campus parking and the elevators here at Contra Costa College.
I have been in a wheelchair for the last 13 years and I always display a disabled placard in my car window.
This allows me the privilege of parking my car in specially designated parking spaces.
The most important place for me to have access to parking now is on campus, as I am an English as a Second Language student.
I need these spaces every day.
However, it seems like every day when I arrive all these disabled spaces have already been taken.
In many cases, I see people parking in these spaces who do not appear to have any mobility problems. This kind of behavior makes me angry. Maybe these people are in a hurry and just aren't thinking, but they really complicate my life.
I wonder if people know that the minimum fine for parking in a disabled space is $250 and it's the one parking offense that a judge can't change, even if you appeal it.
The parking lots are more full than ever this semester. Consequently, I have to arrive at school earlier in the morning to find a disabled space. Sometimes, it is hard finding one; as a result, I have to park my car a long way from my classroom buildings.
This creates difficulties for me because some buildings are on the hill, and sometimes it is raining. Occasionally I'm lucky and I find a disabled spot, but another car arrives and parks right next to mine.
Usually there are two disabled spots together in a parking lot and in between them is an area with blue stripes. It's not legal to park there, but some students do. That's a problem, because when I return from class and want to get into my car, I can't because I need my car doors wide open, but an illegally parked car is too close.
So I have to wait and ask for help to move my car.
Sometimes I feel sad about this because these spaces are designed for people like me who really need them. If mobile students paid more attention and didn't occupy those blue handicapped spaces, my life would be a lot easier at school.
Another inconvenience is the elevators on campus. The Liberal Arts Building, for instance, has only one elevator for its three floors. I happen to have a class on the third floor, which poses a challenge.
Quite often, the elevator is out of order, so to get to my class, I need to ask someone for help pushing me up the hill. We have to exit the building and go the long way around.
Sometimes I'm out of luck because there isn't anyone around to help me. This is especially not fun when it rains.
I believe our college administration needs to have periodic inspections of the elevator and other facilities like automatic doors.
The college needs to ensure that these services are in proper working order to meet the needs of students like myself who cannot attend class without them.
While I appreciate all the ramps here, the newly remodeled bathrooms and my thoughtful friends who are so willing to lend me a hand, life at CCC would be a more enjoyable experience for all disabled students if these issues were addressed.