- Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 June 2010 18:03
- Published on Wednesday, 09 June 2010 18:03
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Issues include the location of the kiosk and handicap spaces
Pay to park at the Wilder lot gets bad reviews from one local realtor, prompting questions of why? Why is the kiosk located at the back of the lot? Why are there no designated handicap spaces? Why are there no designated spaces at all? And, finally, why was a town employee seen writing with a permanent marker on the brand new signs?
Local commercial real estate agent Ralph Peregory, an agent with Exit Realty Expertise in King George, and his wife, Mande, came to Colonial Beach Saturday to celebrate his birthday at the Riverboat. Peregory, who uses a wheel chair to get around has never been one to back away from a challenge. But maneuvering his wheel chair across the gravel to get to the kiosk located on the back right side of the lot, and then maneuvering back to his truck to place the ticket on his dashboard, and then blazing a trail to the Riverboat, has Peregory rethinking future visits to the beach.
In his own words as published on Facebook, Peregory said “Colonial Beach, what are you thinking? It is bad enough that you charge $10 a day to park on a gravel parking lot and chase more business away, but then you make it so I have to roll in my wheelchair anywhere from 200 to 400 feet in the gravel to put $10 in your parking machine then get a ticket that I have to roll all way back to put in the window of my car before even going into any of your local businesses!”
Peregory sent e-mails on Monday expressing his displeasure to town council members. Council member Steve Kennedy responded that the kiosk location was chosen because of its proximity to an electrical connection and that Peregory should talk to Gary Mitchell, Director of Planning and Community Development. Mitchell responded by e-mail that “parking issues are under the direction of the Town Manager and police department.”
Peregory’s plight brings to light the purpose of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. It is a wide-ranging law intended to make society more accessible to people with disabilities and mandates access to education, employment, housing, and, yes, parking. Title II regulations prohibit state and local government agencies, departments, special purpose districts and other instrumentalities from discriminating against people with disabilities in their programs, services and activities.
According to ADA Standards for Accessible Design, ADAAG, 28 CFR Part 36, “accessible parking spaces must be provided in all parking areas open to the public.” There are other regulations in place that provide for parking space size, markings, driving lanes, speed limits, stop signs, crosswalks, reserved spaces, lighting and landscaping.
Currently the Wilder lot is surfaced with gravel, which would not permit the town to mark individual parking spaces. The lack of marked spots provides no guidance to visitors as to where and how to park so as not to block in or be blocked in by other visitors. There is limited signage directing visitors to the parking kiosk, which is located at the rear of the lot on the far right side closest to the Riverboat and not immediately visible from the entrance to the lot.
Last Thursday afternoon, a town employee was seen writing on the newly placed signs at the entrance to the parking lot with a permanent marker. An examination of the signs shows that the employee was adding in red marker the words “For all Day” under and adjacent to the large $10. It is unclear if new signs have been ordered or that the signs will remain up in their current condition.
Robert Murphy, Director of Public Works, told the Journal “there are seven total handicap spaces along the boardwalk area. There is one space in the Taylor lot, closest to the Riverboat and next to the Wilder lot, and six spaces at the other end of the boardwalk near the town pier.” It is Murphy’s opinion that ADA requirements call for a total of five handicap spaces and that the town has satisfied that requirement. Murphy also noted that “revenues from parking should go to making improvements on the parking areas.”
According to Mayor Fred Rummage, the town “has to look out for handicapped individuals” and he plans to bring this up at the next council meeting scheduled this Thursday. Rummage said he will “push for compliance with all ADA requirements.” He further noted that the decision by council to put in place a pay to park plan was done, in part, “to assist in control of parking and crowds.”