Accessible Parking for the Learning Commons at Marywood University
Accessible Parking for the Learning Commons at Marywood University
This petition will serve to voice the opinions of students, faculty, staff, and administrators at Marywood University and the wider community who see the need for accessible parking for the Learning Commons in particular, and to raise awareness of inadequate accessible parking elsewhere on campus.
In 2015, Marywood University completed construction of the new Learning Commons which replaced the former library and serves as a multiuse building. This multi-million-dollar project created new study, classroom, technology, and library space for students. The building also houses various offices which support students, including the Disabilities Services Office. Library services also are open to the community. If it sounds ironic that a building which houses the University’s Disabilities Services Office does not have adequate accessible parking, that’s because it is!
· The old library had accessible parking right next to an accessible entry to the building. However, when designing the Learning Commons, NO accessible parking was included for this building. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), accessible parking spaces are required “where parking facilities are altered or added.”
· A review of the identified parking areas for campus buildings finds that there is no designated parking for the Learning Commons. The parking in Conway Circle has three designated accessible parking spaces, added relatively recently, however a sign and parking areas defined by Campus Security label these spots for “visitors and the admissions office.”
· The ADA requires that “an accessible route must always be provided from the accessible parking to the accessible entrance.” These marked access aisles are to be at least 60” wide and at the same level and the same length of the adjacent parking space(s) served. There are no access aisles in Conway Circle. Drivers must exit into the path of traffic.
· The ADA requires that there be curb cutouts where the access aisles connect with accessible routes to buildings. There are no curb cutouts in Conway Circle. The closest curb cutout requires that the person travel through traffic lanes to access cutout behind the parking spaces.
· The ADA requires that accessible parking spaces and access aisles be level. There is a slope in Conway Circle.
· The ADA requires that barriers that are structural in nature be removed as long as such removal is “readily achievable” (without much difficulty or expense). Accessible parking and clear paths of travel to facilities used by all students are examples of reasonable structural modifications. The American Library Association’s 2001 “Library Services for People with Disabilities Policy” affirms these standards.
· Although the ADA does not designate a specified maximum distance to travel to the building, the distance of 176.5 yards from Conway Circle to the Learning Commons is extreme for someone with a mobility disability. The ADA states that accessible parking and accessible routes should be the shortest accessible route of travel. Again, note that there were accessible parking spaces immediately adjacent to the old library which were removed and not replaced.
· There are accessible parking spots for the Liberal Arts Center, however these would not be considered accessible spots for the Learning Commons according to ADA standards because the individual would have to cross a traffic lane to connect to the accessible path to the Learning Commons. Further, these spots do not have access aisles which connect to curb cutouts and accessible routes.
· It should further be noted that accessible parking throughout campus does not meet ADA requirements (e.g., not all entrances have signs directing to the nearest accessible entrance, not all accessible parking spaces have access aisles, connections to access routes, curb cutouts).
INCONSISTENCY WITH MARYWOOD UNIVERSITY CORE VALUES
Respect: “Honoring the uniqueness and dignity of each human person; demonstrating ethical and just interactions; and caring for the earth and all creation through a commitment to sustainability.”
How ethical is it to restrict access to a building where students may have required courses, where they would go to access disability services, tutoring, study rooms, the café, the library, and so on?
In response to a request to add accessible parking for the Learning Commons, University administrators replied that it would be “too expensive.” Keep in mind that Marywood added an amphitheater behind the Learning Commons and recently spent a large amount (over a million dollars?) to add Esports. How is this just?
Empowerment: “Access to education that enables all to achieve their full potential to live as conscientious citizens in a pluralistic society.”
How can students receive access to a full education when they are unable to physically access this building meant to fuel their education?
Service: “A commitment to promoting social responsibility which fosters community engagement to meet real needs.”
How is it socially responsible to restrict access to essential buildings for individuals with physical limitations, including members of the wider community?
Excellence: “Manifesting Marywood University’s pursuit of the highest level of achievement in support of ‘Sanctitas, Scientia, Sanitas’.”
How is the university achieving the highest level of excellence when it cannot even meet the minimal requirements set forth by the ADA?
In 2020, it was proposed to administration that a possible site for sufficient accessible parking spots is at the rear of the Learning Commons along Morgan Road to the right of the service entrance. This area is level, close to the accessible rear entrance, and adjacent to the Learning Commons access sidewalk.
It is important that all students at Marywood have access to the Learning Commons to fuel their learning experience at Marywood. The lack of accessible parking for this building sends a clear message that all students are not valued equally at Marywood and contradicts the core values that Marywood has identified.
We ask everyone who is reading this petition to take the time to sign your name to support the addition of sufficient accessible parking at Marywood University’s Learning Commons building so that individuals with physical limitations are provided equal access to use the great services that are provided in this building.
Please feel free to share this link widely, as individuals from the outside community are also welcome to sign the petition. Thank you!