Local family’s plea to drivers – please avoid handicap parking areas

For Patrice and Mark Williams – getting around in their van isn’t always easy. Their son, Tommy is in a wheelchair and the family has become very frustrated with the way folks are parking in the handicapped parking areas – specifically the yellow striped area next to handicapped parking spots. Not only does it make it difficult, it makes it dangerous. I received this message from the family, “Hello Mary, This may not be a huge news story but if you could help us get the word out about something my family and many like ours would appreciate it. We have a son on a wheel chair. His van is a side loading van. There have been many times we come out of the store to find people parked on the yellow striped area of the handicapped parking area. This forces us to leave our son unattended to move the van out into the roadway to load him. This happened two days in a row last week.”

That’s right. They have to leave Tommy unattended while they move the van in order to load him in. Sometimes for another car and sometimes it’s to remove a shopping cart, “Many times I am forced to run carts back to the store or nearby corral so that we can either load or unload our son.”

Sadly, some families have been forced to take very drastic and expensive measures to prevent this problem, “We know a few families who have actually bought rear entry vans because of this problem.”

Patrice sent pictures from the Wal-Mart in Lockport, but say this problem isn’t only specific to that store or location. It’s easy to just pull up there, or leave a cart there without thinking twice, but realizing what it means for others might just make a difference. The Williams family sure hopes so.


Mary Friona


  1. This problem is widespread. It happens everyday. Recently, we have seen people parking on those lined spaces. It is not possible to get a wheelchair or Walker between the cars.

  2. Thank you for bringing this to your readers attention. We truly appreciate it!

  3. I work in a group home with people who use wheelchairs. When we take them out in the van, trying to find a parking spot that is van accessible is hard enough. But add the aggravation of some one parking in that spot next to you knowing that you have a wheelchair and just not caring is just too much sometimes. We try to have fun with our individuals but leaving them outside the van alone to move it is not safe. Loading them in the middle of the parking lot isn’t safe either. I wish there was more enforcement and people cared that what they did affected others.

  4. My husband and I have special needs young men (twins) in wheelchairs. This problem happens EVERY time we go out for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or holidays, weekends, hell …any day!!! There are lots of people in wheelchairs who are all vying for the same 6 Handicapped parking spots. On Mother’s Day, we parked in the back lot at Bob Evan’s. My husband was driving, I spotted a handicapped spot up front but we decided not to use it because of all the problems we have had in the past 17 years! We parked in the back parking lot in an end row knowing that no one could park next to us without blocking in the last couple of rows of cars, plus the lane next to us was a FIRE LANE ( It was clearly marked, Fire Lane)…Guess what, someone in a sports car decided to park inches away from us! I had NO ROOM to squeeze in between their passenger door and the side of our Van! Our Handicapped Van has signs posted on it saying PLEASE don’t park within 8 Feet of this side. (I carried Orange Cones to block off the zone until some stole them!!!) Father’s Day we parked in a Handicapped Spot in front of a Restaurant….Two motorcycles decided to park in the loading spot…clearly marked “Handicapped” I called the cops (Non-Emergency Line) and waited for them to respond. Yes, they were ticketed!!! I have two kids to load and unload….and when someone doesn’t follow the LAW and parks in a Handicapped Spot my life and the lives of my kids are in danger loading and unloading in the drive way in a parking lot (cars coming from both sides) I wish I had the power to write tickets, or the nerve to key their cars (believe me I have thought of it!!!)

  5. And this also can go out to all of the motorcyclists who think that is their parking space. A friend of mine was stuck at Walmart for a very long time. They kept paging for the person to come to the front of the store. They finally called the police. By the time the police got there, the person had left.

  6. Thank you for posting this. I did not know that the lines were there for wheelchairs. I am new to handicapped parking….I have recently been transporting an elderly handicapped relative to various medical appointments and shopping, etc. As my relative needs time and space to exit my vehicle, the lines also help with space just opening the door wide enough as she can’t hold in the door and exit the vehicle at the same time. Therefore the car door doesn’t bang into the vehicle parked next to ours. What amazes me is that for all the handicapped parking spaces allotted, there are so many times they are all taken. Many times I just wind up dropping her off at the door and parking my vehicle.

  7. Thanks for posting this story. My wife wrote you the original story. We have been in Children’s hospital most of the week and got out today. When I went to load my son in our truck, once again our ramp was blocked because the other driver pulled in sideways at an angle using our loading area. Pure laziness! There was plenty of room without doing that. One thing that wasn’t mentioned is all the above mentioned rude parking instances were commited by other people with handicapped parking permits. They don’t have to deal with walkers or wheelchairs, so they think the hash marks don’t matter, but they could mean everything for the person parked next to you!

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