askST: Are there provisions for handicapped drivers if no handicapped space is available?

Reader Zhu Meishan wrote in to askST: "Are there are any provisions for certified handicapped drivers or caregivers of persons requiring mobility assistance to use two parking spaces, if no handicapped space is available?

"I understand there is such a provision in California, USA. This would be an excellent solution for Singapore, especially since there are many old buildings here which do not provide parking lots with wheelchair access."

Senior transport correspondent Christopher Tan answered.

There is no such provision here. Meanwhile, it might be useful for those who need handicapped parking facilities to plan their journeys so that they are not caught in the above situation. A number of alternative travel arrangements - including public transport and taxi options - can be made with proper planning.

In space-conscious Singapore, it might not be feasible to keep adding or enhancing parking facilities - whether it is for handicapped or able-bodied users.

Allowing handicapped users to park astride two parking spaces may also inadvertently lead to abuse or resentment, given that it is often hard to prove whether a bona fide handicapped space was indeed unavailable at the start.

That said, the Ministry of Social and Family Development says it will look at the suggestion "together with relevant government agencies, taking into account the other cities' experience, and the context in Singapore".

Till then, it might be more expeditious to lobby for handicapped parking spaces to be made available in places where they are not.