Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Our brave, new, common-sense-free world.

The Indianapolis airport has a "cell phone lot" where you can sit and wait for the person you are picking up to call and let you know they've arrived, instead of driving around and around like you have a trunkful of ammonium nitrate and a case of buck fever.

While sitting in the lot, Ben Swenson noticed what appears to be a bizarre artifact of our modern American bureaucracy, which is getting to the point that it makes the politics of ancient Byzantium look like the student government at your local high school.


Jeff the Baptist said...

My building was built in the '40s for WWII. It is almost completely handicap inaccessible, no ramps and lots of stairs. We have 6 handicap spots for ~60 people.

ParatrooperJJ said...

Most likely there is a state or local requirement that there be a certain ratio of normal to handicapped spaces in any parking lot.

Bubblehead Les. said...

"Youse want the Federal monies fors yous parking lot, yous gotta folla da Federal rules, see? By da way, yous votin' for da Boss, right? Hey, Tony, come over here and 'splain to dese people why it'd be good for der health to vote fors the Boss."

Steve Skubinna said...

Oh, so this Swensen guy is a bigot and hates the differently abled, is he? Why doesn't he want handicapped people to park in his cell phone waiting lot, huh? You can just tell he's a Republican.

Okay, wingnutz, here's the short answer - it's for the children!

One place I briefly worked had signs in Braille by all the doors, ad the person showing me around was very proud of that spiffy little touch to include the visually impaired. I asked her how a blind person would know to put his hand right at the spot to read the sign. She got very quiet and thoughtful.

I think I ruined her day.

ExurbanKevin said...

Probably for the same reason that Tampa Bay's new lifeguard towers had to be handicapped-accessible.

theirritablearchitect said...

Paratrooper JJ gets a Kewpie doll. Publicly accessible lots have to be designed with, if I recall, 2% of total spaces in these situations.

Just someone diligently doing their job, as it were, and following (praying to?) the law.

Never has made any sense to me either, where I'm required to put signs, with size and font types, etc. Just bureaucratese, citizen.

Move along.

Eck! said...

I'll take a different swipe.

If common sense were common, every one would have it.

Yes, ago I wrote several technical manuals as part of my work. Starting with the first section I'd pass it around for review. Most frequent comment besides common spelling and grammar was "please write at the sixth grade level". Huh? I was targeting the writing for engineers you know people that took 4 years go college. Seems that is the level of wording and language expected (1980s!).

Well obviously these people have gotten to government service and can't read higher than the 6th grade level or write there either. That and their grammar is something even I find tortuous. They write rules and laws, imagine. We good citizens have to ponder what in all it means.

Yes, the stupid will rule the earth.


Montie said...


The handicap accessible lifeguard tower is a marvel of modern American bureaucratic incompetence.

I loved the quote from the state agency member who when asked by the city about getting waiver, said that denying it was a "no brainer". She didn't realize just how right she was.

I also loved that the city, instead of going to the expense of an elevator is going to put in a chair lift like the one the Phillies were made to install in the home team dugout for $18,000 that has never been used in the seven years since installation.

Soon we will join "The Place Where Great Britain Used TO Be" as "The Place Where The United States Of America Used To Be".

Anonymous said...

Probably because it was an Americans with Disabilities Act requirement.

Which, on the whole, does more harm than good, so there the occasional stupidities.

Stuart the Viking said...

One of the funniest things I have ever seen is braille on signs for the mens and womens restrooms where the sign was mounted above the door. Not only would a blind person not think to look there, many of them wouldn't be able to reach anyway. Personally, I have chosen to ignore such things. Why let them bother you?

As for the wheel chair parking in the "waiting" lot I have to disagree that this is a bad thing. I can imagine that there may come a time when a handicapped person might need to exit his/her vehicle for some reason (get a book out of the trunk, get a drink, empty a colostomy bag, whatever). As someone who's best friend is a para, and who's step dad was a quad, believe me when I say that it is difficult to find a place to safely drop the wheelchair ramp and exit without parking spots designed to do this. Another disabled friend had an idiot park ON his ramp once because he couldn't find an open spot.


Joanna said...

When I was a teenager my dad took me to a local fast-food place and found almost every handicapped space taken by a big new-money SUV hauling a big new-money boat. My dad, who has a wheely plate, just quietly parked in front of it and waited for the cigar-chomping new-money idiot to come out and try to drive away.

That was a good afternoon.

Tam said...


"Not only would a blind person not think to look there..."

As it were... ;)

Mike S said...

A question containing the phrase "why is there are" and ending with a period made my brain hurt.

Robin said...

One thing that I think most people do not realize is that the ADA has imposed billions of dollars in costs upon our nation.

The original purpose was to increase opportunity for the disabled to join the workforce. And what exactly is the amount of increase of the disabled in our workforce from before the passage of the legislation? Statistically, none. Zip. Nada. No increase.

That's why you don't want Congress to legislate at all. They are universal failures.

BMiller said...

My personal favorites:

1.) Braille on a DRIVE UP teller machine.

2.) Little sign on the door of a fast food joint (next to the no smoking, no pets, shoes, blah, blah) reading "Braille and large type menus available" or some such. If you're blind how are you going to read the sign?


WV: olyster
Is that how BP is marketing gulf oysters now?

Kristopher said...


The only thing 'crats really fear is publicly looking stupid, and then getting fired or window-officed.

The proper response to all of these inanities is to defy them, and then dare them to try to jail you for it.

I'm sorry, Joanna, but these bureaucratic meatheads are making me want to paint over your Dad's parking spots.

Nathan said...

Heh. I remember asking that question myself the first time I used that lot :)

Joe in PNG said...

There you lot go, trying to bring logic into it. It's GOVERNMENT, fer cryin out loud. Logic has nothing to do with it.

DirtCrashr said...

The ADA imposes costs and some collect. There's a couple handicapped persons who make a living going around to shops and businesses outside Sacramento suing them for access to their bathrooms.
Rickety old places like Gold-Country antique and junk shops that are in buildings originally built in the 1880's and such. It's a shakedown racket.

But the Lifeguard towers are handicapped-accessible so the Lifeguard can bring his girlfriend up there - don't you guys know anything about lifeguards and swimmers? Sheesh.

D.W. Drang said...

Braille on a DRIVE UP teller machine.
You want they should build ATM keyboards specifically for the walk-up machines?

The handicap spaces in the police officers' lot at the new stationhouse is a perennial favorite.

rickn8or said...

Continuing with BMiller's "Braille and large type menus available" is the "Picture menus available".

If you're illiterate, how would you KNOW??

KA9VSZ said...

A disabled parking stall allows a wheelchair-bound occupant to exit the vehicle. Duh. It doesn't matter that there ain't nuthin' around worth going to. If you can't get in or out, it ain't good. Been there, done that, didn't like it.

Robin said...

Decades ago, I used to work on ATM software. The braille on the drive up ATM machine actually has a logic to it. Blind persons using a taxi can access it.

Ben said...

Sorry about the typos. That was posted from my phone and I'm not the best at rereading and correcting mistakes before I hit post.

I understand that rarely a wheelchair-bound individual will need to get out of their vehicle while parked in such a lot for whatever reason. However, it strikes me as vastly more likely that someone (disabled or not) would urgently need to urinate and yet there are no restroom facilities available. An enormous number of other possibilities are more likely than a handicapped person needing to make use of a cell phone lot, having to get out of their vehicle in the short time they are there, being unable to find a place to lower their ramp given the high turnaround that such a lot provides, and being unwilling to drive to a more convenient spot.

I'm not so much against putting handicapped spots in a very short-term parking lot the middle of nowhere any more than I'm against erecting a fire watch tower on a floating platform right smack in the middle of the ocean. You can always come up with a scenario in which this or that justification would make it seem desirable or even necessary, but that doesn't make it sensible.

Will said...

Along this line of blanket application of govt mandates:

The regs for CHP (FSP) towtrucks included installing pushbars (nerfbars) on the front bumper. This makes sense for those trucks that came standard with a chrome type bumper. Absolutely idiotic to mount them in the middle of a push bumper. (that's a flat faced, rubber covered bumper at least a foot high, that usually wraps around the ends) You can almost always push without causing damage to a painted bumper cover with it, but are nearly guaranteed to damage them with the rubber covered nerf bars.

This, among many other reasons, was why I suggested that Academy graduates be required to drive one of them for a few months before patrolling in a unit. They just laughed.

BMiller said...

@ Robin

That makes sense. I still see a slight logistical issue with knowing which bills are fives and which are tens but that's another problem for another day.

KA9VSZ said...

Ben at 1242:

Point taken and appreciated. The likelyhood of needing to exit the vehicle during a brief stay is rather low. I suspect if able-bodied drivers were unable to exit their vehicles (space restrictions, anal, er, I mean Homeland Security, whatever) in that lot, it would be rather underutilized. Wheels or legs, it doesn't matter, everybody oughta be able to get OUT. My car caught fire once; it was interesting... As an aside, I have to miss the upcoming assistive technology seminar at the UW; I'll ask one of my minions to ask around for other folks' take on the situation.

KA9VSZ said...

Jeff the Baptist at #1 comment:

Buildings/parking lots of a certain age (I forget and too lazy to check) are grandfathered-in so the owners don't have to comply with ADA until they do building remodling or repainting of the parking lot. Even then, they may be exempted due to prohibitive cost or just plain infeasibility. The rules sometimes actually are reasonable. Sometimes.

KA9VSZ said...

OK, last time tonight then I quit. Just to vent: This summer the field house in Fishers IN hosted the Power Soccer Nationals with about 40 power wheelchair players in the building at the same time. Everybody needs to pee sometime. There was one accessable mens stall, one for the ladies, and one "family" room (lotsa folks need an assistant). Now, imagine four games ending within minutes of each other. I did not have fun...