Speakout!

December 04, 2005

Gridlock everywhere is a mall turn-off

THE ISSUE -- The holiday season is upon us. Do you plan to shop at The Mall in Columbia, or avoid it? What do you like -- or dislike -- about the mall? Glad that you asked. Now that the holiday season is upon us, I plan to avoid the Columbia Mall like the plague. All of the recent building and add-ons has left a sour taste in my mouth. There is no place to park and apparently the mall management is not concerned. The traffic flow in and around the mall is annoying as well. Gridlock everywhere! I think that I will do more online shopping this year.

Pam Richardson

Columbia

Too little parking for the disabled

I have a physical disability that prevents me from walking more than 100 yards. I got my first handicapped tags in 1982, long before the Americans With Disabilities Act was passed. I got them simply because of the fact that by the time I walked from the edge of the parking lot to the stores, I could walk no more.

Unfortunately, the situation here in Howard County is no better than it was in 1982. Then, the problem was that people parked illegally in the handicapped spots. Now, the problem is that there are way too few handicapped parking places. If I want to shop in the mall, I have to walk farther than I did before I got the tags. Obviously, I'm over 20 years older, so it's not easy to guess whether I'll give my money to the local mall businesses.

Today, my Christmas shopping is done on the Internet and where the shopping centers provide enough parking for gimps like me. And if Columbia Mall whines after Christmas about loss of revenue, perhaps they might reflect on the fact that the state's disability Web page claims that about 10 percent of Maryland's residents have disabilities. You can bet the mall has less than 1 percent of its parking designated for the handicapped. Us 9-percenters just go elsewhere or on the Web.

Dave Denzler

Highland

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