‘‘Most pregnant women are able, and in fact are encouraged, to be physically active. Walking is the best form of exercise for most of these women. In the event they are unable to walk greater distances, they can ask for, and obtain a placard. There is no reason why a physically capable pregnant woman should be using the limited number handicapped parking spaces when there are people who truly need them,’’ Smith-Crowley wrote in a March 2008 letter to the bill’s sponsor.
Smith-Crowley said she sees stork parking as a completely separate issue, since it’s something stores usually do as a customer service and it usually doesn’t take away from existing handicapped parking spaces.
Gloria Kraemer, 51, of Long Island, N.Y., started a Web site in the late 1990s advocating for parking for pregnant women or mothers with young children. The oldest of her four daughters are 18-year-old twins, and she never had the opportunity to park in stork spaces but remembers thinking there was a need for them.
‘‘With the twins, I was really OK. I could handle them in the parking lot. I had the double stroller,’’ Kraemer said. ‘‘But adding that third one, I thought, ’Now there really should be something for moms.’’’
Kraemer said she sees it primarily as a safety issue. And she said the last thing she would want to do is take away spots set aside for handicapped motorists.
‘‘My concern is for the safety of children and pregnant women,’’ she said. ‘‘As life gets busier, people are more careless in their driving. Cell phone to ear, trying to adjust a/c, fiddling with the iPod while driving. All these things create more accidents even in parking lots.’’
On Monday night, I stopped at my local grocery store again just to grab a few items. There it was again — the stork parking space, completely empty. I made it there without competition, and parked.