Advocates outraged over hospital's plan to reduce accessible parking spaces

Advocates outraged over hospital's plan to reduce accessible parking spaces

BOSTON — Parents and advocates for children with mobility issues are outraged at a local hospital's request to omit van accessible parking in its new garage renovation plan.

Lauren Dyer spent most of her young life traveling to Boston Children's Hospital for treatment, but when the busy mom of two took her little girl to an appointment at Children's, she was shocked at the lack of accessible spots in the parking garage and their placement.

"Trying to find a parking spot was really difficult," Dyer said. "It's a huge concern. Fortunately for me, I get the wheelchair out the back because it's the easiest but I still need to go out the side."

Content Continues Below

Like local accessibility advocate and mom Dawn Oates who took to Facebook with her concerns, taking her daughter to the hospital one to seven times a week.

"The signage is not the appropriate signage," Oates told us via video chat. "The dimensions and strippings are not what they should be. The count of the spots are not what we believe they should be."

Oates and others caring for children with mobility issues tell Boston 25 News they're outraged at the recent request by the hospital to the state architectural access board. Children's asked to waive the requirement for additional van accessible parking in a renovation plan for the garage because of its feasibility.

In a statement, Boston Children's Hospital said:

"To assist with our parking plan for all patients and families, we engaged a third party to assist us in understanding the parking needs for our patients and families with disabilities. After a thorough internal review of the findings, we have crafted a plan that ensures our parking options meet the accessibility needs for patients and families."

The plan would increase the total number of accessible spaces to 33 from 20 for roughly 700 parking spots. No additional van spaces.

Dawn and others are calling on the board to deny the hospital's request and for Children's to add more van parking, clear of obstacles.

"We feel like this is an injustice. We feel not listened to. We feel like there's a lot to be done to protect us that people are ignoring and it's up to us to be the enforcers of it," said Oates.

The hospital's application says they plan to provide two additional van spaces off-site.

At Monday's meeting of the architectural access board, they voted to conduct a meeting in October.