Charlottetown mulls reserved parking for new mothers

April 18, 2013
Pink Reserved Parking Sign for New Mothers

View the sign here.

New mother Angela Court is pushing for downtown reserved parking spaces in Charlottetown for pregnant women and new parents. “The 30-year-old mother called up city councillor Edward Rice on Monday, from her home in the Prince Edward Island capital, suggesting the idea for the reserved parking spots.” [Source:] “I brought it up simply because it hasn’t been feasible for me to go downtown, having an infant in the car seat, screaming, unhappy, and miserable,” she said.

Big retail stores across Canada have already reserved parking spaces for expectant mothers and new parents. If Charlottetown also implements this proposal, it could be Canada’s first city to do so.

The National Post reports, “Proponents say the special spots, which might be painted pink, while disabled stalls are painted blue, would help attract busy parents aggravated by the lack of parking downtown.

Charlottetown councillor Edward Rice has vowed (along with other councillors) to promote the idea to the police committee and council. He expects little opposition.”

However, this point of view fails to consider other citizens. Some have pointed out that the potential to abuse such spots is high. Anyone with a child or a pregnant woman with no mobility issues could abuse the privilege. Moreover, a step in this direction may hurt the sentiments of people with disabilities who suffer in many ways but do not qualify for a disabled parking spot.

Court proposes that the honor code govern pink parking spaces. This might seem to be utopian, considering the high rate of abuse of disabled parking spots when violators know that fines apply. In 2010, Ottawa officials issued nearly 1,000 fines to people who misused a permit or parked without required permits in spaces marked for the disabled. (Report: CBCNews Ottawa)

Parking Lot with Reserved Parking

A reserved parking spot for everyone? Via JSmith Photo.

Regardless of the challenges in enforcing pink parking spaces, such a measure has been felt necessary by others as well. Notably, Facebook COO and former Vice President at Google, Sheryl Sandberg discusses the issue in her book Lean In. She talks of “waddling across a carpark while pregnant to make a meeting on time, and confronting her bosses at Google the next day asking why there was no designated parking for pregnant women.” (Report: The Courier-Mail)

She went on to say that, she was embarrassed that she didn’t realize that pregnant women needed reserved parking until she experienced her own aching feet. Perhaps pink parking spaces at offices will become a reality when more women are in senior positions. Yahoo has designated parking for expectant mothers.

Meanwhile, making those in power sensitive to the issue could do the trick. If Charlottetown does designate parking spaces for expectant mothers, other women could be inspired to work towards similar results in their cities.

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