Getting handicap permits can be a painful process

Dave Yochum

As if rehabilitating from a torn ACL wasn’t enough, trying to park on campus is making Christian Neading’s life more difficult.

Neading, junior athletic training major, has to walk farther on his surgically repaired leg because parking lots near his Centennial Court residence hall often are full. In order for him to make use of an open handicap spot on campus, he would need to go through an approval process to apply for a $75 handicap permit from Parking Services.

Without a handicap permit, Neading risks not following his doctor’s orders and injuring his leg further. However, trying to get a handicap permit has been difficult for him.

“Neading needs close access – not a handicapped spot,” said Larry Emling, Parking Services assistant manager. “Handicap permits aren’t just handed out to anybody.”

Emling said handicap permits only come with the approval of Student Disability Services or by strict doctor approval – but not Dr. Roommate.

To prevent a friend or neighbor signing for a handicap permit, Parking Services faxes a form directly to doctors’ offices verifying a student’s injury. In turn, doctors send the form back, telling Parking Services the specific transportation needs of their patients.

“Students have come in faking injuries to get a handicapped permit, but once they learn about the application process we never see them again,” said Vanessia Freeman, Parking Services office manager.

With doctor approval, students with special needs can get a temporary permit that’s valid for up to four weeks. Students with handicaps who have driver’s licenses need to show a special Ohio BMV placard, registration form and their license to get a full-time handicap permit on campus.

Trying to avoid injuring his leg without a handicapped permit, Neading has begun parking in meters near Centennial – but pays for it.

“Parking Services wouldn’t give me a C pass, and there are never any spots in the S-39 lots, so I end up having to park in the meters,” Neading said.

Using parking meters last semester because of his injury, Neading never had any problems with parking fines. But because of Parking Services’ new weekend enforcement and increased patrol, he has already been ticketed this year.

“We’re going to look at other options for Neading,” Emling said. “We’ll try to get him close to where he needs to be.”

Contact transportation reporter Dave Yochum at [email protected].