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In First, State Adopts Updated ‘Handicapped’ Symbol

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An effort to adopt a more in-motion symbol for accessibility is gaining traction with New York requiring all new signage in the state to utilize the

An effort to adopt a more in-motion symbol for accessibility is gaining traction with New York requiring all new signage in the state to utilize the “Accessible Icon.” (Accessible Icon Project)

A revamped version of the blue and white icon that’s long symbolized accessibility everywhere from parking lots to restrooms will soon be commonplace in more communities.

Under a bill signed late last week, New York will be come the first state to require all new and replacement signage used to signify accessibility for people with disabilities to include a more active, in-motion image of a person using a wheelchair.

The state will also change the terminology on such signs, employing the word “accessible” instead of “handicapped.”

The shift is about more than aesthetics, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in signing the legislation.

“This bill is an important step toward correcting society’s understanding of accessibility and eliminating a stigma,” Cuomo said.

New York City and a smattering of other localities, businesses and schools have already agreed to adopt the revamped symbol, known as the “Accessible Icon,” which first gained momentum through a grassroots effort in Boston.

What’s more, the icon is currently on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City as part of an exhibit of culturally-relevant designs developed in recent decades.

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Comments (45 Responses)

  1. Amy says:

    how can we get people to stop using the van accessible spots when they don’t need them to unload a wheelchair?

  2. Joe Gregory says:

    A meaningless gesture by a politician grandstanding for the votes he might think that he will get from the ignorant who do not see through this meaningless legislation.

  3. Cody says:

    So, My tax dollars are going to pay for all this new signage when we cant even afford to repair the road. All this does is help handicap people’s ego. Its fine for new signs, but replacing old is just a waste of money

  4. vmgillen says:

    Private entities will bear most of the cost to replace signage . . . there are more blue-line spaces in mall parking lots and large residential developments than in publicly owned facilities. Further, new signage will be used for newly-approved parking areas – and to replace broken, bent, or otherwise defective signs. This is not a call for wholesale replacement. And, Ego???? Say what? Arguably, that was what the “End the “R” word” campaign was about. You have ANY idea how much that cost? Every Agency, public or private, that had the “R” word in it’s title, had to retool – changing stationery was just one of the costs. Any pending legislation had to be rewritten and re-submitted. Laws were re-written, and had to go through a pro-forma process for enactment. Ego? Please Google “social construction of disability” for an idea of how important this can be!

  5. Steve says:

    The “new” symbol does not meet current Federal standards. Money spent replacing signs only for the new symbol could be much better spent.

  6. Jennifer says:

    Good response vmgillen!
    To Joe Gregory: meaningless gesture to gain votes? He’s had his two terms and is not able to run again.
    Cody: Ego? You obviously don’t know anyone w/a disability, which by the way has replaced the word ‘handicapped’. I work w/individuals w/intellectual disabilities and would assume, since you are receiving this newsletter, that you have something to do w/persons w/disabilities as well so am baffled at your comments, unless you just receive it to bash the population who have them which is appalling.
    There but for the grace of God go you or I. Think about it . . .

  7. Tacitus says:

    Well, I am all in favor of this. As I see from the comments on here, we have a lot of work to do reducing the bias against disability.

  8. Sharon Lamp says:

    As a power wheelchair user I have to say the old signage represented me as well as a stick figure can be expected to. The new signage represents a manual wheelchair user in motion and that’s cool too. I do like the idea of changing up accessibility signage a bit. Too bad it has to be one way or the other though.

  9. Jason says:

    I have two handicapped children. “Handicap” is not a dirty word and there is NO need to change it. The new term will be “accessible”. Accessible for whom? For Handicapped persons! Good grief. I agree that this is a meaningless gesture by a grandstanding politician. And that symbol…are they racing? By daughters dont race…nor do they lean foward like that. It’s a silly zig zag looking symbol that did not need to be changed! Other than the color its hardly even recognizable as a person in a wheelchair. It loiks like a japanese symbol painted on the ground. This is not what we should be spending tax dollars on. Its a phony distractor.

  10. Ric says:

    The International Symbol of Accessibility went through significant discussion with input from several different disability representatives to become the endorsed/adopted symbol. I believe similar discourse needs to happen before any politician decides to use it to garner votes. And frankly there are much more useful/beneficial steps one could take to improve society; like employing qualified persons with disabilities; providing access into public buildings; providing accessible communications on web sites, just to name a few…

  11. Charles says:

    Signs and words don’t change situations or societal thinking. My race was called Colored when I was born in 1955, Negro, in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. If you wanted to make a member of my race angry before 1965, you would call us Black. Stokly Carmichael changed our designation to Black. After “Roots” the mini-series on television, Many called themselves African-Americans. It is 59 years later, inttergration is much greater, but not because we changed our label. It’s because we fought hard for social change!

  12. JoAnne says:

    I agree with vmgillen that this is not about “ego”. Please, this is about person-first language and setting a standard for how we perceive and treat people who just happen to have a disability. Changing perceptions takes a long time and using different language can really help with the change.
    Amy, I too am frustrated with those who use the spots when not necessary. Have you ever seen someone park on the dotted lines next to the legimitately parked person? That leaves no space for them to reenter their car. That happened to a friend of mine who had to find a unique way to maneuver herself into her car so that she could back out far enough to load her wheelchair. Fortunately, she was able to walk the few steps she needed to go without her chair. Sometimes, though, the individual in the car may not have a wheelchair, but may not be able to walk a long distance. These spots are for them, too.
    I am saddened by the vitriolic sound of some of these negative responses. I hope we can open the hearts and minds of those who are able bodied.

  13. Jean says:

    Signs don’t need to replaced. You can get stickers to cover the old symbol. I actually picked up 100 of these stickers to upgrade my community. Sometimes it is easier to be forgiven than to get permission.

  14. sam says:

    Ok…well…for those who say the is meaningless..Imagine being a little kid who can’t walk….not because they don’t know how but because their body just won’t hold the weight, and telling them they most likely will never ride a bike, run in a game of kick ball or just have kid fun. These kids NEED to feel loved by their peers, what better way for them to learn than with a society that invites their challenges. This may be meaningless to you, BUT it is not to the child who still has a dream of walking one day. Things like this uplift their spirits. And for those who say we don’t need to use the van accessible spaces because we don’t have a van….I have a disabled 7yr old daughter who’s wheelchair does not require a van to load and unload (I do this myself by picking it up), and where I don’t need the space for the wheelchair, I do need the space to lift her out of her car seat without breaking her bones, and the space to place her in her wheelchair safely so we aren’t run down by someone not paying attention while driving.

  15. Gael says:

    Ridiculous!!!! This is only an attempt to soothe the egos of disabled individuals who feel their disability somehow degrades and defines them. I have been handicapped for over 60 years, and yes, there were (and still are) many times I felt people around me did not respect me, or recognize my abilities—-but changing a sign on a parking place by my empty car will not change how others, or I, for that matter, perceive me. I don’t see a reason to spend taxpayer money on new signage, or the efforts it will take to notify the public about a change that 3/4 of them will not even notice.

  16. Scott Ricker Reli-Abilities says:

    Interesting and the motivation is a positive one, but here in Massachusetts, the universal symbol painted in a pain spaceis ot hat the Access laws require per 521CMR chapter 23 . So many contractors charge about $50 per symbol to be painted within the parking space but rain and snowmake that symbol unrecognizable. Chapter 23 of 521CMR requires an upright permenant sign be installed within 10′ of the front of the space, so the business owners and facility owners are being ripped off and misled into thinking the job was done corretly and their parking lot now omplies to state and federal laws

  17. Maryanne Ford says:

    It seems like a huge waste of taxpayers’ money to me. I would much rather see the efforts increased by law enforcement to issue fines to those parking illegally in those ‘handicapped’ parking spaces. It is even worse for those requiring side entry wheelchair access when some oblivious fool parks right alongside the van. I swear I think their fine should be even higher, ‘trapping’ a person either inside or out of their van because they use a wheelchair. I personally bring a large orange cone and plant it smack in the middle of the space adjacent to the wheelchair van to save room for van lift to open out. If someone is too lazy to find a legal parking spot they are definitely too lazy to get out of a car to remove a traffic cone!

  18. Disabled Vet says:

    Come on! Certainly the PC gods are dancing in merriment at this silliness. Aren’t there really more important things to “grassroots” about? At times, I refer to myself as “all crippled up” and then shout at my image in the mirror. Never came to blows because the fellow in the mirror would back down first.
    A picture is only there to get the “don’t park here” point across. It’s not about making a person feel good. If an individual with disabilities has a self-esteem issue, perhaps some acceptance counseling is in order. Being limited stinks, but it is what it is, and beefing that a platform needs created to ensure everyone likes you is a willing acceptance that you’re mediocre at best.
    It absolutely irritates me that I’m unable to do what I use to do. But, life isn’t fair in its attempts to end your life, and eventually life will succeed in killing you. Hardships are only in the eyes of the beholder and a bit of good old American P and Vinegar will push you through. The toughest man I knew broke his back twice, cut off his hand, had his arm torn off, and was still to tough to kill… at 96 years old the old folks home took care of that in two weeks, because it took his will to live.
    This type of pandering emphasizes and creates another specialty political class. Just another group with hurt feelings, who believes they are being trodden upon while living in the most fruitful nation in the world. Hardships will always stink, in the service we called it, “embracing the suck” and yes, you can do it too. Extraordinary people are ordinary folks who determine themselves to do extraordinary things. Be above the “equality.”

  19. Clancysrider says:

    I am amazed at how much negativity this is engendering here … article does not say anything about replacing signs, just new ones and this means they are not taking highway repair money; people can choose to call themselves handicapped, differently abled, physically challenged or anything they choose but the community of our peers has overwhelmingly chosen person/people with a disability/ies; ego – can’t say for everybody but my opinion of myself is not changed by something on a sign, however I think the image of people with disabilities may be improved in the minds of the general public through repeated efforts to see us as active and active within our geographic community. Lighten up folks, it’s a sign.

  20. Tim says:

    Well, I’m not sure what is really achieved by redesigning the access symbol. At the end of the day, its purpose remains exactly the same. It designates where people who have physical challenges can find accommodations, such as closer, or wider parking spaces, wheelchair ramps or other forms of assistance. I live with a disability, as do many close friends of mine. Personally, I believe the one real thing here that helps us is the push to change the old terminology. I prefer the term “Access” to older terms like disabled or handicapped, because “Access” reminds people of what we CAN do if given the opportunity and support (where needed). Let’s focus more on being seen as equally capable, but with different abilities and needs, and stop groaning over parking space pictures.

  21. Anne says:

    Interestingly enough, the symbol now reflects a certain subset of wheelchair users—and not other users (such as a person in my own family). I have always thought that the symbol of the wheelchair alone applied to all users whether or not any one of them has the ability to propel themselves manually or uses a power wheelchair, or, instead, is in need of someone else to push the wheelchair.

  22. Momx5 says:

    Thank you Jason, Maryanne and Disabled Vet! Of all the things that could be changed to help me care for my son, all they could do was change a logo?…But at least they still recognize the need for closer parking and no curbs! As a busy mom, with a totally physically and intellectually disabled son I would like to see a sign that reminds others to stay out of the loading zone when parking. It’s the quick errand trips that are most frustrating. Loading and unloading his wheelchair usually takes more time than my trip in the store and I have received countless bruises while being the buffer between the wheelchair and the illegally parked car. I am going to the hardware store today to buy an orange cone – Brilliant!
    Disabled Vet – Sometimes being limited does stink and although there is only one disabled child in our family, sometimes restrictions in travel and plans disables our entire family. But on the flip side, we have all learned to “embrace the suck” and my other children are better people because of the uniqueness of our “normal” life. Really enjoyed your last sentence!!

  23. Vikki Stefans says:

    I like it. Maybe people will stop asking why there need to be accessible spots in front of the gym and sniggering about it as if no one on wheels could ever be athletic enough!

    I think maybe a second symbol on the spots with special clearance for vans could have a van and lift symbol designed and a VAN ONLY statement added – actually I think I have seen this around in a few locations. OTOH, some people who are ambulatory also need the extra space to get out of a car and maneuver to standing position when they start using a walker or whatever.

  24. Sharon Toji says:

    This symbol cannot be substituted for the standard required symbol on any signs that are required by the federal government. It could only legally be used for additional signs, that are posted in addition to the required symbol signs. The format of the International Symbol of Accessibility, like it or not, is set by an international agreement, to which the United States is a party. The Department of Justice could choose to levy fines, although they may not go to those lengths.

    The approved symbol is internationally recognized, and people with vision impairments have a more difficult time recognizing symbols like the New York approved symbol. People may think it means some other type of accessibility. People need to think very carefully before they tamper with international symbols that are included in federal regulations.

    I believe the Access Board in Washington would back up my statements.

  25. Ellie says:

    I am still trying to decipher an electric chair, confined to a wheelchair, bound to a wheelchair and suffering from a disability. We have a lot more changes in our culture to be made. When these descriptions are used in daily culture, we further serve to feed ignorance, rather than education, perception and acceptance discussed below. A sign is not going to provide this change…sadly.

  26. Brenda says:

    We’ve had a more progressive version on our Idaho campuses for several years. Oregon State even has an app with sensors to find the closest accessible spots on campus.

    I think the meaningfulness in this is that an issue is being recognized. I think the new symbol should be seen as universal between manual, power, and power assist chairs (although we leave out walkers,etc.). I’ve never had too much issue with “handicap” spots, because, as in golf, it provides an equalizing factor, but I prefer “access” as someone mentioned before. I also agree with the person who went out and bought stickers – a few friends of mine who had access to asphalt (and PVC pipe for drainage) went around town one night long ago and created as many “curb cuts” as they could, and the police determined it was not a crime since they were actually making the city compliant. We should certainly be teaching people which spots to use, and when to use them as Amy said. I always think about taking a blue spot if there is only one left or the van accessible spot even though I use a chair and need the extra room to get out or navigate snow, etc. But on a sunny day, I know someone needs it more if I can find an open spot.

    Love the comments for and against – really made me think about things! I wish we could be more united in our hopes because we are the largest minority populations and could have such power to change things – perhaps we could unite on employment?

  27. DR Hutchison says:

    Maybe a new logo will be more noticeable, not be as easy to overlook or ignore.

  28. Pasquale Ginese says:

    While this is about time we are also hearing that Governor Cuomo is singling out NYS Developmental Disability population by having agencies have NYS Developmental Disability on their license plates. One step forward and one step back. If this is true: Not good NY

  29. Julio Pech says:

    @ Cody: You’d be singing a different song if you were “handicap”.

    People don’t realize that images are a far more efficient mode of communication than words. Graphic Arts 101. Simple. To change this image means a lot. Notice the difference? It’s moving. Movement is expressed in this design. Not stagnancy. Not “I’m bound by this chair”. Movement. This sign will communicate to us much louder than words can and in time, will continue to work toward breaking the stigma that people with handicaps are “lame and useless”.

    Was it a waste of money? At first, I thought it was. Thinking twice now. Dislike the idea that it has now become a political message. Now I’m bored. Power to the people…not slimey politics.

  30. Brian says:

    As a wheelchair user, I could care less what the picture looks like underneath & in front of my truck. Let’s come up with an idea for non wheelchair users to park in a different space. Although some citizens are not able to walk very far, so keep the spaces close for them. They do not need the extra space on the side of handicap parking. My door needs to open all the way for me to transfer into my truck. I don’t care if the spaces are away from the building, I just need the extra room to open my door. Also someone needs to come up with an idea, to keep non handicap users from borrowing somebody else’s placard. There’s so many people that do not need handicap parking.

  31. Teresina says:

    The disability symbol (new and old) still does not help parents/caregivers of children with autism and other disabilities who need to park close to buildings,eg supermarkets,leisure centres,etc

    There are many persons with chronic disorders eg arthritis who need parking spaces close to buildings-where can they park?

    Also there are guards,law enforcement officers,etc who think that you must be IN a wheelchair to park in these spots. Some don’t understand that you can be out of your wheelchair and be a driver of a vehicle!

  32. Arvid says:

    How do we get a high res copy of the logo? I would like to put it on the side of my van so people will be more aware that I need space for my ramp to fold out. Lots of interesting perspectives in the posts. Some a little too much “all about me”, but our experience is what we know the most about.
    Revising people’s perceptions with new thoughts is probably something ego-cent_ric humans should consider. Being stuck with thinking, and ways of doing things, that have been around for many years wear thin just as the paint that needs to be replaced over time too. I’ve been waiting for AB’s to move their vehicles for 34 years. Waiting for the 10 second wonders (I’ll be quick only a couple seconds) in 30 below weather, waiting when I’m late for class or work or whatever still sucks but these are the people we want to be our advocates so we better learn how to inform them kindly and live on.

  33. Daniese McMullin-Powell says:

    I often wonder why anyone continues to use or refer to the word “handicapped” even in your headline on sinage for accessibility…

  34. Malcolm says:

    I don’t need the extra space, I just need visibility of the vehicle from the main door of the facility. My Cancer has taken my short term memory from me. I can tell you my phone number when I was 6. I cant tell you what I ate for dinner tonight.

  35. Fred Hess says:

    I live in PA and we just put down the first icon in Western PA I use both a manual and a power chair depending on if I am driving myself or taking the city bus it fills (to me) the idea of both types of chair. And yes it does promote the general public to ask questions about it and opens a dialog with them to explain disabilities with them. As far as people saying handicapped no hardly knows what it means or where it came from. After the Crimean wars people that defended their country and lost limbs had no way of working and there wasn’t Social Security the only way for them to earn money was to beg. However begging also was illegal so what the government did was say vets could beg but you can’t hand them money hand to hand. Made it difficult to beg to say the least right. What they would do is hold out their hats so the money would go from your HAND to his CAP hence handtocap. that’s why people who know this don’t like it I work for a living I’m not a begger and neither are the people on SSI or SSDI. so call yourself what you will but don’t call me a bum.

  36. Amy EDS says:

    My biggest problem with this change is that it does not address the fact that most people with disabilities are NOT in a wheelchair. By “updating” the symbol with yet another wheelchair user huge opportunity to better educate the general public is lost. As seen here, there are people with cancer, people with autism, people with chronic fatigue, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, MS, a broken arm, severe arthritis, etc etc etc. They use these spots too, Yet they are not represented.

    Suffering from an “invisible” disability along with my daughter, I have experienced first hand criticism for using things that are for handicapped/disabled/accessible. Most people expect the disabled to be in a wheelchair, and when they are not, they are not afraid to inform you of your “abuse” of a spot, button to open a door, etc.

    Once again, as touched on below, it takes a long time to create societal change and acceptance. But every little step forward is still a step closer. Yes, this might have been politically motivated, but if it creates some change that shouldn’t be overlooked. Yet at the same time, I would argue that the person who designed this is not very well versed in our community, or they would realize that they really missed the mark. Handicapped does not mean wheelchair. It can mean that, but that isn’t the defentition.

  37. Janie says:

    Shame you didn’t use “Accessible” vs. “Handicapped” in the title of this item… Apparently someone didn’t get the overall message re: shifting to accessibility to eliminate the stigma. ;)

  38. Richard says:

    Being a parent of an adult son (age 30) who is blind, autistic and profoundly MR/DD/ID (pick your favorite depending on your age and political persuasions), the fact is that most “disability politics” by persons we can only call “advo-zealots” is inherently discriminatory against lower-functioning, multiply handicapped folks. No doubt Cuomo… who is a Kennedy-branded heir to a New York dynasty, similarly talent-free… is going to have happy individuals with Downs Syndrome waving cheerily beside supposedly “disabled” racers in wheelchairs or paralympian jocks with spring-loaded prosthetic appendages in his campaign literature. Meanwhile the “disability community” shunts into the shadows severely disabled folks and their families, closing our necessary institutional settings and otherwise falsely interpreting “Olmstead,” while tossing helpless people into for-profit “ISS” and other “community settings,” where many are quite simply “farmed” for Medicaid Waiver dollars. There is a “body count” attendant to this, but few keep score. This is a form of “political eugenics,” and the “differently abled” high functioning are being used as the “Sonderkommando” (look it up) to railroad individuals like my son and his peers. Tom Perez, please take a hike! Selling our kids out to the SEIU and “far out” ARC/US parents-in-denial is insane, inhumane, despicable. Parents should join serious advocacy orgs like VOR while standing for reality-based justice!

  39. Mary says:

    I agree with vmgillen. It’s about perception. If people with disabilities are percieved to be able, to have potential the same as non disabled people, then both societal attitudes and social policies will change so that barriers are removed which currently prevent people with disabilities from achieving their goals.

  40. Ayo Maat says:

    It is unfortunate that people still think that those who are disabled mainly or only use wheelchairs, and manual ones at that, but the real gist of this change is to correct the notion that we are handicapped, a very outdated word still used by government, esp. at the federal level; or that the parking handicaps us. Accessible is a better word. Btw, we should get rid of the term wheelchair-bound as a general term to describe those who use wheelchairs. We are no more bolted or bound to our chairs than petsons who drive cars or use lift chairs. The wheelchair is a mobility device. Though I cannot race or use my hands to operate the wheels of my wheelchair, I am alive, active and able to operate the joystick of my wheelchair mosy of the time. I am also not deaf, though some are, but shouting at me grom above and through a thick glass or high counter that is not accessible does not help. At my wheelchair level, I can hear and see you much better. Thank you.

  41. Julie says:

    I think this is a great idea…BUT I would so much rather the thought Process & MONEY be wisely utilized to lower the price for Equipment and Resources. BE AFFORDABLE to all with Disabilities or as I prefer to say “Different Abilities”! to be able to purchase needed tools and equipment from a wheelchair to a chair that Can be used in the snow as WE HAVE SEASONS…I know there are track chairs for now created for those that want to get out to their horse at the barn, and OUTSIDE period…but who can afford anything like that let alone the Basic JUST FIT YOUR SIZE CHAIR??!!! REALLY. Just a passionate Aunt of a Wonderful Nephew who is 38 had motorcycle accident 5 years ago -has T.B.I.

  42. Barbara says:

    Momx5 I couldn’t agree more, your post could’ve been a description of our life. Countless times I’ve had to unload my now 12 year old son while partially parked in a too narrow spot and leave him sitting near by while I finished closing and parking my van. I’ve also come out to find a car parked in lines right next to my lift door where a sign asking to allow space is posted. I guess if you can’t figure the lines are not parking spaces they probably don’t care about my sign. I agree that all wheelchair users should be able to have some designated spots and I wouldn’t care if it showed a power chair or racing chair. Disabilities qualification for placards could also be redefined

  43. Laura Orean says:

    The changing of the symbol has been a topic of discussion for some time now. The organizations that want to make people more aware and respectful of the population that is disabled is just trying to “keep with the times”. The symbol has only be requested by the state of New York, it is NOT approved according to the Federal ADA Guidelines or as an acceptable “International Symbol”. The topic is still in discuss and no matter what they do, they are not going to make everybody happy. The decisions are being made by the complaints and concerns of the people speaking up to the various groups that work to improve accessibility in all aspects. These groups are working hard to make accessibility easier for everyone. The battle is with the people that don’t want to help and don’t want to follow the rules. The battle is trying to educate the people that don’t have accessibility issues. If you want to help, then step up and don’t park in handicap parking spots unless it’s there for you or the person you take care of, talk to businesses that don’t make their places accessible and fight for the rights of all people to be able to get where they want to go.

    Just think about getting a cup of coffee at your local coffee shop – how easy is it for you? Do you just grab the first spot close, even if it’s a handicap spot? Do you have to unload your wheelchair? Do you have to go down the street to find where the sidewalk is designed to get your wheelchair on it? Do you get to the door and relies it doesn’t open enough for you to get your chair in? If you do get inside, is there enough aisle space for you to get to the counter? It’s just one little cup of coffee, most people don’t consider how hard that can be. Now do this for everything you do every day of your life.

    Attention and education is the best way to help.

  44. Michael Carlson says:

    Having been a tetraplegia for 34 years and using a van with a passenger side lift, I’m well aware of challenges with parking. There is certainly no shortage of opinions when topics like this are raised. Folks, we’re talking about a painted symbol on asphalt or concrete. This does not compare with a “civil rights” movement. It’s a symbol! This is not going to change people’s perception no matter how much you want to believe it will. Trust me, it’s not. Look at a pedestrian sign, are they walking or standing still? Most would answer “the person is walking” (in-motion). I’m all for the new symbol as long as it’s phased in. There’s no need to rush out and paint over a new “old” symbol. If the old one is faded and needs re-painted, then put the new symbol on. If there’s a new development, then fine, put the new symbol on the asphalt. We don’t need to waste anyone’s tax dollars, just do it as it’s needed that way you’re not wasting anything. Again, this is not going to change people’s perception no matter how much you want to believe it will. Trust me, I live it and know! I am utterly amazed at the opinions listed here.

  45. Amanda D says:

    I think it’s great. A few points to make:

    1) The article clearly says the symbol will be used for new and replacement signage–in other words, no extra dollars spent, just a new symbol going forward which will gradually replace the old one.

    2) The word “handicapped” comes from “hand in cap” and refers to begging on the street, as if that is the only “work” a person with a disability can do. If that doesn’t insult you personally, surely you can see how it may insult others. “Handicapped” makes people feel belittled and causes sympathy. “Accessible” makes people feel empowered and causes awareness.

    3) The biggest benefit to having the new symbol is the new name–“accessible,” which is what it actually is, a space large enough to access a wheelchair. The phrase “accessible parking” will gradually replace the term “handicapped parking,” which will subtly affect people’s view of those with disabilities over the course of many years (it usually takes a generation). This is a good change, and a gentle, cost-effective way to address it.

    4) Any time a politician does something good, s/he will be accused of having ulterior motives. Every time a politician does something bad, s/he will be accused of having ulterior motives. The politician can’t win, but at least the disabilities community will get a boost.

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