Hours ahead of the first NHL pre-season game in Rogers Place, the city has done a flip-flop in its plans for disabled parking. The original advisory on the Getting to Rogers Place web page noted that “during Oilers games and major events at Rogers Place, two-hour courtesy parking is not available for vehicles displaying the provincially-issued disabled placard.”
It went on to say, “During events, please use the drop off point for persons with disabilities along 104 Avenue west of 102 Street.”
However, that advisory has now been removed from the website, and those with disabled placards will get to use the same two-hour method that has been in place for daytime use.
In an email from a communications spokesman, the city is now confirming two-hour courtesy on-street parking will continue into the evenings.
“The decision to not offer courtesy disabled parking in the evenings at on-street parking spaces was based on the original intent of the program, which was to help individuals conduct their necessary activities during regular daytime hours,” the email said.
Things changed after some eleventh hour lobbying from Zachary Weeks, who’s on the Accessibility Advisory Committee, as the chair community engagement committee as well as a member of the policy committee. “They were very much open to what I had to say,” he said in an interview. “They realized they might have made a quick decision but at the end of the day they corrected it.”
He argued — successfully to the city — that the disabled have a need to go to other locations besides the arena in the downtown, and they need the two hour opportunity to carry on into the evening.
“That’s not just taking in events at Rogers Place, but there’s a ton of other things that you’re able to do, go to a restaurant with your friends or what have you, so it makes sense to have that two-hour policy extended into the evening.”
“We will be meeting with the Accessibility Advisory Committee in October to review the extension of the two hour courtesy program into the evening,” said an email from the city.
The city will meet Monday with the AAC, Weeks said.