If you are disabled and rely on a parking permit or placard in your state, I have some advice for you on traveling to California. Simply stated, it is: Don’t go! Well, that’s probably a little harsh, but I’m a little annoyed right now.
A few months ago, right in the middle of her pregnancy, my daughter’s husband was transferred to California. We knew that we would be making the trip from Oregon when the time came. That happened yesterday.
Mother and child are doing well. He’s beautiful and we’re enjoying being here with the family. When we came to the hospital, I tried parking in regular parking spaces. They were all very narrow and required a bit of walking to get into the hospital.
So, I spied an open disabled space that was big enough for my vehicle and fairly close to the door. I parked there and hung my permit from the rearview mirror. I got lucky, because I didn’t get cited. I think that is probably because enforcement in California is probably no better than in Oregon.
So if I didn’t get a ticket, why am I so disgruntled? This morning, I wanted to make sure that I could use a disabled space in California. I went online and looked at the California Department of Motor Vehicles web site and discovered that there is no reciprocity in California when it comes to out-of-state disabled parking permits.
In order to park in designated spaces in here, I would need to plan ahead and apply for a travel permit by mail. It isn’t necessary to apply in advance if I want to make an on-line or telephone appointment. I would need to have a form completed by my doctor detailing my disability.
I don’t object to the necessity of a doctor’s verification of my need for a permit. I had to go through that to get my Oregon permit. I think it’s important that people aren’t able to get a permit for anything less than a verifiable disability that represents a need for accommodation in parking a vehicle.
I do object to having to go through it any time I want to travel to California. Since my daughter, her husband, and three of my grandchildren live here, I hope I’ll come here often. A travel placard in California is free, but is only good for 90 days.
I live in the Portland metropolitan area. Across the river from us is Washington state, where my disabled parking permit is honored. Oregon has the following policy regarding reciprocity.
Oregon recognizes disabled person parking permits that are issued by other states or countries for the purpose of identifying vehicles permitted to utilize parking spaces reserved for persons with disabilities.
So, for a Californian to visit Oregon, he only needs to bring his California placard. For anyone to use a space in California, he must get a doctor’s verification, fill out a form, then take it or mail it to the California DMV.
Today, we went back to the hospital to see our new grandchild. I parked a long way from the door in a space that would have been too narrow for my vehicle if it hadn’t been on the end.
After the hospital, we went to a grocery store. I tried to park in a normal space, but the driver’s-side door and passenger door were so close to the other cars that I had to move.
When it comes to disabled visitors, California has it wrong.