If you visited the UTD Parking page recently you noticed an interesting message:

Beginning Sept. 1, 2011, if you utilize handicap parking at UT Dallas, you will need to obtain a UT Dallas handicap decal in addition to your state of Texas placard/license plates. Visit the Bursar’s office (SSB 2.300) with a copy of TxDOT Form VTR-214 or a tax office receipt for handicap license plates to obtain your decal and begin using designated campus handicap parking.”

I had not noticed this message until it was pointed out to me by a friend who happens to be disabled. That is how I got the skinny on the new disabled parking stickers.

The parking office does not understand that some disabled people are unable to drive and have to have their family members drive them. The problem with this particular misconception is the parking office’s insistence on attaching the sticker with the car, not the student. If a disabled student has multiple people who drive them to and from the campus proper—for work or other reasons—how does attaching the sticker to a particular car help them?

Another problem my friend ran into, or rather knows he will run into, is the limited use of the new disabled parking stickers–which can only be used to park in disabled parking spaces and metered spaces.

For students trying to park closer to ECSS/ECSN, there are only three spaces adjacent to the building, four spaces further down Rutledge and a handful of spaces at the Activities Center.

If even one percent of the approximately 20,000 students at UTD have government-issued handicapped placards, you can see the issue that arises.

Students who cannot park in the designated handicapped spaces have to either find some other handicapped space or park in the metered spaces by the library, which are significantly farther from ECSS/ECSN than the green spaces in lots H,I or J.

This could conceivably be alleviated if these students could just buy a green level pass to supplement their handicapped sticker, but the handicapped sticker itself already costs them the same amount as the green level parking pass: $89.00.

Perhaps you can see why this might aggravate students with disabilities on campus.

Contributed by Glenn Averoigne