Construction has usurped parking spaces on campus. The decrease in nearby spaces makes the trip to class an inconvenience for most students but it can be painful or impossible for handicapped students.
“The hills and the distance were killing me,” said Darwin Brascomb, 22, a junior finance and hospitality student from Orlando who is a left leg amputee.
There is one handicap space for every 25 on campus. Therefore, as parking spaces disappear, the handicapped lose a greater number of spaces.
“We recognize there’s a problem,” said Bill Adams of the campus Equal Opportunity Programs office.
When Brascomb transferred to FAMU last fall he realized the terrain was too much for him.
“I was seeking all the help I could get,” he said.
So, he went to Adams in the Equal Opportunity Programs office where they activated his Rattler card for him to have access to gated areas and the handicapped spaces within.
The access to the spaces was helpful before this semester.
“Now, they’re limited because of the construction,” Brascomb said.
Although construction has impacted the handicap parking situation, so have handicapped professors.
“Those blue spaces are for the students,” Adams said.
He said students need to get to class and professors have the option to buy reserved spaces that are also located close to the building, instead of illegally using the handicap spaces.
“We discourage employees from using the blue spaces,” Adams said.
He said the spaces are transit spaces.
They are “for no one person to use as an all day parking space,” just long enough to go to class then leave so that the next handicap person can use them
He said it is all right for handicap professors to use the handicap spaces if they only use them for one class period, not all day.
The spaces are also for handicap visitors. The only requirement to park there is a blue handicap placard, distributed by the Department of Motor Vehicles, and hung from rear view mirrors.
However, Parking Services still ticket students who park there. Brascomb said he always has to contest his tickets.
He currently uses the paratransit van provided by the EOP to get to class. “They’ve been a real benefit to me,” he said. Once Brascomb gets to campus the van transports him to and from his classes, which span from the General Classroom building to the School of Business and Industry and the pharmaceutical building.
Adams said there are 19 handicap students registered with the EOP this semester for use of the paratransit van, who have gated access or both.
Adams said he feels the Venom Express and the paratransit are sufficient to help handicap students while construction is under way.
“Once all of this construction is done,” Adams said. “I assure you more than adequate spaces will be in place.”
Chaundra Perkins can be reached at email@example.com