Why your event does not over rule the need for accessible parking

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Ericka Jones

Why your event does not over rule the need for accessible parking

Disability Rights advocates have been working hard in the fight for overtime pay for attendants. It’s important that attendants have access to overtime pay because without it, their hours and income will be capped. Without their attendants, consumers will end up forced into a nursing facility instead of living in the community. Because Governor Cuomo has championed the plan to raise minimum wage to $15/hour, there is no reason why people with disabilities or attendants should not also be included in getting fair pay.

Recently, Rochester ADAPT found out that Governor Cuomo would be coming to Rochester to speak to the public about his plan to raise minimum wage to $15/hour. Mayor Lovely Warren and City Council member Loretta Scott was in attendance as they announced that Rochester city workers would be a part of the raise to minimum wage. Since Governor Cuomo announced his “Fight For $15” plan, he has continually left out fair wages for disabled workers. Furthermore, he has not yet commented on the disabled people working and receiving subminimum wages and working in sheltered workshops.

Rochester ADAPT attended Governor Cuomo’s event only for Rochester Police Department (RPD) to prevent people with disabilities from parking in accessible spaces. A person from Rochester ADAPT and another person who came to attend the event were both told by RPD that they could NOT park in accessible parking. They were told to move their cars to other spots further away in the lot. A police officer approached the individual from Rochester ADAPT’s car and gave her many excuses as to why she would not be allowed to park there. “Well, this is the police staging area” or “If you move over there, you will be closer to where you need to be!” Neither is a valid excuse for why a disabled driver is prevented from parking in accessible parking.

What is worse, Governor Cuomo’s staff had set up tables and chairs inside the accessible parking spots and the access aisles. The rest of the accessible spots were taken up by RPD standing in the middle of them. This prevented anyone who cannot walk far from being able to attend the event. It is unclear if this is a policy for all of Governor Cuomo’s events or if it was Rochester Police Department simply not understanding the law. However, it is clear that this is a serious problem. By asking people to move to another spot, they are acknowledging that this was not an issue about private poverty. There was no reason that anyone should be kept from their right to accessible parking. By placing tables in accessible spaces and requiring disabled drivers to move to another spot, this just further illustrates that Governor Cuomo does NOT care about people with disabilities.

Image Description: In the picture, a man is sitting in a power wheelchair and is wearing an orange ADAPT shirt and a black hoodie underneath. Another man in a camouflage jacket is on the left side video recording 4 Rochester Police Officers. The officers are in black uniforms and are standing in the background inside an accessible parking space and the access aisle next to it. A dark van is parked in the next accessible parking spot. The American flag is showing through the branches of a tree.

Image Description: In the picture, two men in suits are standing behind grey tables and green chairs that have been set up in the accessible parking spaces and the access aisles. The man on the left is wearing a grey suit and has his hand to his face. The man on the right is wearing a dark suit and has his hands up in a praying position. To the right of the man, is a blue accessible parking sign in front of the accessible space.

Image Description: In the picture is the main entrance to the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local building. The sign is partially shown with a red background and black lettering. In front of the door is a man with dark pants, grey jacket and is wearing a tie. In front of him is the blue accessible parking sign showing the universal wheelchair logo. The sign is in front of an accessible parking space with the universal wheelchair symbol painted onto the concrete. A police officer is shown standing in the accessible parking spot and talking on a cellphone.

Contact: Ericka Jones