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What's wrong with this picture?

August 01, 2010
  • At the South Mountain Welcome Center off westbound I-70, the parking spaces closest to the restroom entrances, shown in the foreground, are marked "for fuel-efficient vehicle parking only," while the handicapped parking spaces, visible in the background behind the concrete divider, are farther away.
By Heather Keels, Staff Writer

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The problem: At the newly reopened South Mountain Welcome Center rest areas on I-70 near Myersville, Md., the closest parking spots to the restroom entrances are marked for "fuel-efficient vehicle parking only," while the handicapped parking spaces are farther away.

Diane Hooper of Hagerstown, who called in about the situation, said she saw a woman with an oxygen tank attempting to take a shortcut over grass and shrubs to shorten the walk from the handicapped parking spaces to the restrooms.

Who could fix it: Maryland State Highway Administration

What they say: SHA spokesman David Buck said the handicapped parking spaces are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and were designed, after much consideration, to be centrally located between the restroom entrances and other amenities such as the picnic tables, pet walking area and playground.


However, he said the SHA received at least two other complaints about the situation, including one from a rest area user who asked why a young, healthy driver of a fuel-efficient car should have a shorter walk to the restroom than an 83-year-old who moves with the help of a walker.

"It's a point well taken," Buck said, acknowledging that restroom access might be a more pressing need than the other amenities.

Buck said the SHA would look into whether there was a better arrangement.

The fuel-efficient vehicle parking was included as part of an effort to achieve a silver LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, rating, Buck said.

--Compiled by Heather Keels

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