I really wish I'd had my camera with me this afternoon. I'd love to share a picture of what I saw at the bus stop in front of my workplace. Well, I can describe it, anyway.
First, some background. The bus stop is on the north side of the building where I work. It's a cutout curb alongside a busy 4-lane city throughfare, with just enough room for two city busses. It's very clearly marked, with seats, a "Bus Stop" sign, and a "No Parking" sign. I don't know how anyone could mistake it for anything other than what it is.
Problem is, many employees use it as a drop-off and pickup point. A lot of the time there are private vehicles parked there, often several of them. Many times the busses can't use the bus stop the way they're supposed to. They can't pull up to the curb, so they have to stop in the traffic lane next to it. Result: blocked traffic, people walking in front of cars, riders struggling to get up and down from high steps that were designed to fit curbs.
And wheelchair users who need help boarding because they can't get down from the curb themselves. That's what I watched this afternoon. There's this one guy, an employee who uses a wheelchair because he's missing part of a leg. This afternoon two cars were in the way and his bus was forced to stop a whole lane away from the curb. I watched as another passenger helped him get his wheelchair down into the street and the driver put the bus's wheelchair ramp down right in front of a parked car. Then after he boarded, the driver had to get out — into the traffic lane on the other side of the bus — to manually start the ramp before he could get it to fold back into the bus.
Can you see the safety hazards here? Traffic, a blocked lane, parked cars that could move at the wrong moment, possible damage to the wheelchair when it went off the curb, possible injuries from several potential sources. I'm sure that isn't an exhaustive list.
At least this guy was in a basic wheelchair, relatively lightweight, and could help move himself. We have a couple of other employees who are even more disabled. They use heavy electric wheelchairs.
This is all because of people abusing a bus stop with a clearly posted "No parking" sign. They're supposed to go use the public garage across the street. Most of them know that — management has reminded them repeatedly. Sure, it requires a little bit of a walk, but they can go through a perfectly safe tunnel under the street, out of the weather and away from traffic. There are a few disabled employees who would have a real problem making that trip, and I don't begrudge them using the bus stop instead. But the rest? Hm?
Puh-leeze, folks! "No parking" signs are up there for a reason. Honor them! Park somewhere else. That little bit of extra exercise will be good for you. And you don't know what kind of trouble you won't be causing for someone else.