Parking, Charging Your Electric Car? Read The Signs First

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Handicapped parking space Shares Room With Electric Car Charging Station

Handicapped parking space Shares Room With Electric Car Charging Station

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You know the score: you’re running late for a meeting, dinner date or flight, and need to find somewhere to charge your electric car while you’re gone. 

So you head to the nearest parking garage where you know there’s free electric car charging, park up, plug in and head off. 

But before you walk away, do you check to make sure you can use the spot, or just assume that you can because there’s a charging station there? 

Enter Adam Meislik, a BMW ActiveE driver who recently parked his car at Los Angeles LAX airport while visiting the area.  

What Meislik didn’t realize however, was that the bay he parked in was  marked as both an electric-car only parking bay, and a handicapped parking space. 

When he returned to his car, he found it fully charged but got a nasty shock on his window -- a $363 parking ticket, presumably for not displaying a handicapped parking permit.

“It was the only spot left and it was farthest from my mind to look at the signage,” he admitted. “I saw a charger and that’s all I needed and I made sure to drive my ActiveE to the airport because at LAX parking is free for electric vehicles.”

While Meislik admits he was at fault, he argues that the signs next to the parking space are anything but clear. 

At the top of a column next to the space he parked in, a sign says the space is “Reserved for Handicapped persons,” while the sign below it clearly says “Electric Vehicle Parking Only: Non-EVs Will Be Towed.”

Beneath that, another sign informs that “Disabled Persons Subject To Parking Rates,” creating a confused message to anyone using the space. 

“Only handicapped people driving EVs can park in this spot and by the way if you are handicapped you have to pay for parking[?]”questions Meislik on the ActiveE Facebook page. “With all due respect to handicapped drivers, how many of you drive EVs and would be happy to pay for parking at LAX while I don’t?” 

Because of the limited number of electric cars on the road today, there are some parking garages which double up handicapped parking with electric car charging, with an ‘either, or’ approach to parking enforcement.

Charging Station Shares Handicapped Parking Space

Charging Station Shares Handicapped Parking Space

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That might seem like a particularly bad idea, but it appears that in order to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, some charging stations have to be in -- or next to -- electric car charging stations.

In Meislik’s case, either the parking was only for handicapped electric car drivers -- or he was the victim of a particularly zealous parking warden.

Meislik is resigned to his fate. “I clearly violated the rule,” he writes, offering some sage advice to other electric car drivers. 

“Read the signs carefully.”

You have been warned. If in doubt, find somewhere else to park.


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Comments (11)
  1. Thanks for the tip I know I'll keep it in mind.

  2. One of these days some inquisitive journalist is going to
    investigate the use of handicapped parking spaces. Over the years I have seen many instances in which the person who parked a handicapped stickered car was either the most energetic and healthy handicapped person I'd ever seen, or wasn't the person issued the sticker. The fatal flaw in the system seems to be that there is no way to know just by looking at a parked car, whether it was being driven and parked by a handicapped person. I have also seen a Walmart parking lot in which dozens upon dozens of empty handicapped spots surrounded the building, during the busiest time of the day. The assumption that all areas have equal
    percentages of handicapped drivers is also faulty.

  3. I'm sure there is abuse of the system, but also realize that there are many cases where you can't tell a persons disability by simply looking at them.

  4. I have some experience with this. If you are caring for a handicapped person, you can get the "sticker" (really a hanging pendant) for the times when you are driving the handicapped person somewhere.

    Of course, the "sticker" is always in the car (because the handicap person may no longer drive) and it is tempting to use it when the parking lot is full. A few people really abuse the system. But I don't have an answer.

  5. You are not a good judge of someone who is "disabled". I can not walk more than very short distances without a good bit of pain, so I am "handicapped". But I don't walk slow or grimace or make any kind of show when I park to make sure everyone can see I am in need of the space. If you saw me park and approached me about whether I deserved to be parked there, you would regret sticking your nose where it didn't belong. I look fairly intimidating to some people, though my sharp tongue is probably the only dangerous thing about me. If my doctor has filed the necessary papers for me to have a handicap hangtag, and I use it correctly, it is none of your business, whether you can tell I need it or not.

  6. There are more comments in this thread
  7. too bad we dont see the same enforcement if the signage read "EV charging ONLY"

  8. LAX officers writing out tickets? I can't believe it!!i think LAX is the n,bet one revenue maker for mayor tony Villar ( who goes by the last name of villaragosa). This ticket could be easily won in court, especially with the photo.

  9. LAX has a very enthusiastic parking enforcement team. Remember those spaces are for "electric vehicle charging" not just "parking".

  10. In the outskirts of Seattle in a little town called Woodinville, there is a restaraunt with EV parking. However, like this article, it's confusing. there are 3 EV charging locations. 2 have ChargePoint stations, one is open to anybody, and therefore often taken up by an ICE. The second is a Handicapped/EV parking space. The 3rd is the worst, it's a Tesla parking/handicapped. Which until quite recently limited you to a Tesla Roadster. Not the most accomadating of EVs for the handicapped.

  11. I am sorry if my question is not in line with this site. Maybe you can lead me to a proper site.
    My question is this:
    Do makers of EVs claim that if an EV is used in place of a comparable gasoline car, we will use less fossil fuel?
    If so, on what basis?

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