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Vol. LXVI, No. 12
June 6, 2014

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Have a question about some aspect of working at NIH? You can post anonymous queries at (click on the Feedback icon) and we’ll try to provide answers.

Feedback: So where exactly does the money for the lunch that accompanied the tent show go? We used to be able to attend for free and now it costs $7/10. I decided this year that my money was better spent elsewhere. The last time I went (and paid), there were way fewer people than when it was free. This means those food vendors who do this get less exposure which means less people will know about them and frequent their businesses.

Response from Christopher Wanjek, Office of Intramural Research: I agree that, this year, the Taste of Bethesda lunch was not the deal it used to be. The event certainly no longer can be free; that’s a violation of government rules. The money from customers now goes directly to the vendors and to the cost of the tent. The Technical Sales Association (TSA) and the NIH R&W help support the event. The TSA helped us keep the ticket prices lower in recent years, but the organization suffered from the government shutdown last year. Many customers this year paid in advance; so for $7 they received two entrees, a dessert and a drink, which was indeed less money than a comparable meal on the NIH campus.

Feedback: Are there enough handicapped parking spaces for NIH employees? Answer: No! I broke my leg and am temporarily restricted in my mobility. My husband accompanied me to work on my first day back. Although we arrived at 8 a.m., there was no available employee handicapped parking in the Bldg. 10 parking garage or in MLP-9 just behind Bldg. 10. We had to do stacked parking in MLP-9 and then have my husband push me in a wheelchair through the garage to the elevator, which did not have a curb cut so I had to hop up a high curb just to use the elevator. This is totally unacceptable and I am sure that it is in violation of the ADA, which NIH is supposed to abide by. I’m sure I’m not the only NIH employee with mobility issues (permanent or temporary) who has had a similar issue with parking. While parking is always tight at NIH, those who need handicapped parking should not be required to improvise just to fulfill the NIH mission.

Response from ORS: Currently, the NIH main campus has a total of 9,889 parking spaces available for employee use. Based on current ADA regulations, NIH must provide a minimum of 109 accessible parking spaces solely for handicap parking. As of this response, there are 371 designated handicap parking spaces on campus, which is more than three times greater than required by minimum ADA standards.

In addition, Manual Chapter 1410–Parking Policy also allows for disabled persons with a valid handicap parking permit or a state-issued handicap placard to park in the long-term visitor lots or metered spaces without paying. By adding these 855 visitor spaces that are on the main campus to our 371 designated handicap spaces, NIH has a total of 1,226 parking spaces available to disabled persons with properly issued handicap permits. Thus, the available number of accessible spaces is more than 10 times required by the latest ADA requirements set forth in 2010.

Concerning your issue about the curb cut, a work order has been entered requesting an assessment of MLP-9’s elevator access to ensure ADA compliance.

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