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Nevada To Address "Van Only" Parking Disputes
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 18, 2005

CARSON CITY, NEVADA--There are two types of drivers with disabilities who need accessible parking: Those who have vans with side-loading wheelchair lifts and those who don't.

Generally speaking, there are two types of parking spaces designated for such drivers: Those that are wide enough to accommodate vans with side-loading lifts and those that aren't.

In Nevada, a conflict is arising in the disability community over these "van only" parking spots.

Under current law, "van only" spaces are, as the name would suggest, reserved for vans. People who park in those wider spaces, but do not have specially outfitted vans, are issued parking tickets -- even if they have "handicapped" parking permits.

Many have complained, sparking legislation to change the rules to allow anyone with a permit to park in any designated accessible space, regardless of the size of the space. Some are claiming that the current law violates the Americans with Disabilities Act because it discriminates against most drivers.

"So many times you see a row of empty van-only spaces while all of the other handicapped spaces are full," said George Brown, a former chairman of the Nevada Developmental Disabilities Planning Council.

But Ed Gobel, a disability rights activists who uses a wheelchair lift, said such a law would violate his rights.

"If there are no van-only spaces available, we cannot park (in other disabled spots)."

The state Assembly was scheduled to review the proposed law on Thursday.


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