Fighting for You: Disabled Woman Questions Madison County Courthouse’s Compliance With Handicapped Parking

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The number of entrances into the Madison County Courthouse has gone from four to one. The Alabama Supreme Court made the change to protect judges, security and citizens. A Huntsville woman thinks the change puts one group of people in danger.

Tina Pearson lives with a disability. She emailed WHNT NEWS 19 claiming the handicapped parking at the courthouse is not optimal. Pearson's called the handicapped parking at the courthouse awful. She says there's not enough parking for people who are disabled. She also said what's there is too far from the only entrance. She wants the courthouse made more handicapped-friendly.

Pearson is a survivor.

"I had a stroke six years ago," said Pearson.

She knew it would be hard doing a lot of things, including talk. WHNT NEWS 19's Venton Blandin asked Pearson to slow down at one point during the interview.

"It's the same thing when I am walking a long distance. I get winded really quick," added Pearson.

It happens each time Pearson goes to the Madison County Courthouse.

"You start shaking. Your legs start shaking. Your upper body shakes. You feel like you ran a marathon," added Pearson.

She finds it stressful to pick up car tags, parking decals and handle other business at the courthouse.

"The entrance is all the way around the building. It is very difficult to walk that far to be able to get into the courthouse," added Pearson.

"It gets very frustrating. I am sure you've been there," said Beverly Lowe.

Lowe works in the city's Parking and Public Transit Department. She feels badly for Pearson, but says there's not much she can do to help.

"Right now, we are doing everything we can and every effort to make it convenient for all citizens," added Lowe.

Forty-nine parking spots wrap the courthouse. Eight are designated for those with disabilities, that's double the American with Disabilities Act's minimum standards.

"As a city, we decided that we wanted to be above that and go beyond what was required of us," added Lowe.

"That doesn't really solve my problem as far as when I need to go to the courthouse, does it? I pay taxes in this city just like everyone else," added Pearson.

Lowe says the best way for all people with a disability to get into the courthouse is to use the ramp, instead of the stairs, and walk around the upper section to get to the entrance. Pearson wishes the city could do more.