Handicapped Parking and Civility

Further to my concerns about our parking enforcement staff using common sense rather than the “letter” of the law — This disabled person writes of three incidents..

First she tells of a disabled friend who was panicked because she couldn’t find her placard and the officer was on his way. Second she tells of a veteran who parked with a tire one inch on the disabled space ($350 fine) and third she tells of her moment in the sun when she parked and rushed in to pick up something, and got a ticket three minutes after she had parked (forgot to hang her disabled placard on her mirror) – Did he watch me walk to the store and then write the ticket?

First, a disabled person sitting in their car in a disabled spot shouldn’t be afraid of the officer. She should have been able to explain her problem to the officer and he should have been able to check if she had a disabled permit and just couldn’t find it.

Second – One inch over the line – and a veteran to boot (it showed on his license plate that he was a veteran). This is a perfect spot for a warning. There certainly were no friends of parking made here.

And third – If in fact that officer did see the parker walk to the store, he should have his epaulets trimmed. How hard would it have been to ask the person where her permit was? She would have shown it and all would have been right with the world. I guess the officer could have “just walked around the corner” when he saw the offending car, but who knows. I hope this person was able to send in a copy of her permit with the citation and get it voided.

We live in a modern age of on line and vast databases. Why can’t we tie them together and attach permits to cars? If a person needs to drive a different car, then go in and add that car to your permit. It seems to me that if the permit is attached to the car, then officers can check, and if that little nicety isn’t available, at least the two can be married up after the fact.

Parkers are our customers, not felons waiting to be pounced on by the enforcement staff.

JVH

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2 Responses to Handicapped Parking and Civility

  1. Sounds like a classic case of getting one side of the story to me. Since I’ve been in charge of enforcement in Manchester (3 1/2 years), my enforcement staff has “collected” 450 disabled placards that weren’t being properly used. And that’s in a town of about 100,000 people. Quite frankly, that level of abuse makes both myself and my enforcement staff highly suspicious.
    Example #1 – Many people are deathly afraid of getting a parking ticket and think it’s a total personal disaster if they do. I’ve spoken to the mother of a college student that literally vomited over getting a $15 ticket because she used her college permit on the street and almost had to be taken to the ER for a panic attack. I see this “fear” more often in elderly and handicapped customers – it’s almost like a phobia. So maybe the person she’s referring to was just afraid of getting a ticket instead of reacting to draconian enforcement tactics. Did anyone talk to the agency repsonsible for ticketing about this?
    Example #2 – the woman says the veteran was parked “one inch” over the line. I’ve never seen ANYONE get a ticket for only being one inch outside the legal parking space. Most of the time, an “inch” on a parking ticket appeal is more like 3 feet when you look at the picture. Is there a picture? Did anyone talk to the enforcement officer or the director of the authority that issued the ticket?
    Example #3 – As stated above, “3 minutes” after the person parked is not necessarily a fact. It may be the perception of truth on the customer’s side, but how many of us would swear that the red light we hit every day on the way to work stays red longer when we’re late? Does this officer have a history of waiting in the wings to pounce on tickets or is the customer’s perception of the amount of time not accurate?
    Parking enforcement is always going to get a bad rap and there isn’t anything anyone can do about it – except take the time to get the other side of the story. Maybe what she says is true. Maybe it isn’t.
    Last point – how many states are willing to share their disabled placard database with enforcement personnel? My guess is not many. NH sure doesn’t. We have to make a phone call to the agency when we want to know something. If we’re researching an out of state placard, most of the time we have to get the police department to call because they won’t give us the information. Getting agencies to share this information is probably not as easy as you might think. I’m all for it, but good luck with that!
    I’ll leave it at this: Conversations I usually have with disabled parkers are most often centered around what else we can do to step up enforcement, not asking us to back off. The ones that get really mad at the ones that are using them illegally.

  2. Lindsay says:

    I agree with Brandy — too many people abuse the disabled parking placards, when they do not need it and are not the person to whom it was issued. If the citizen has the placard, she can protest the ticket. People just need to start paying for parking and not trying to get everything for free. Parking costs a lot of money for cities to provide. I’m all for ending subsidies to parking. If these subsidies went to transit instead, disabled people would probably have an easier time getting around – as well as the rest of us.

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