No Wheelchair Accessible Parking Pay Station Causing Controversy

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- Is there a double standard for parking in the City of St. Louis?

Some who are disabled say yes, because a credit card pay station at the city owned lot in the 3000 block of Olive Street sits elevated on a concrete island with no wheelchair ramp.

"This is an example of complete thoughtlessness about the disabled," said Steve Patterson, who has been using a wheelchair for several years since suffering a stroke.

"The treasurer`s office didn`t think at all about the disabled other than having a couple of spaces."

When Patterson complained about the situation to the city last year, Richard Bradley, President of the Board of Public Service responded by e-mail saying, "my understanding was that the handicapped spaces were to be free and that is why the pay station is not ADA accessible."

But instead of free spaces, the city simply installed old fashioned coin meters which only go up to two hours, as opposed to the credit card pay station that lets drivers park for four hours.

"If you are coming here for a couple of hours you may not have $2 to $3 worth of coins on you, but you can easily swipe your card, pay and get a receipt," Patterson said.

Jared Boyd, chief of staff for the treasurer, agrees a mistake was made when the lot was designed, but it was made by the previous treasurer, who saw to it that other city owned lots with credit card pay stations did include wheelchair ramps.

But Boyd says at a price of about $8,000 to fix it, adding a ramp to the existing pay station is not a cost effective use of taxpayer dollars because the coin meter compromise is considered a "reasonable accommodation" under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

"The solution of placing the parking meters out there is not perfect but it is the best thing we can do right now."

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