Nov. 8, 2012
Do you park in spaces reserved for people with disabilties? Using handicapped parking spaces means more than an inconvenience to someone who needs it. People with disabilities drive around parking lots and often become discouraged and leave because they cannot find a parking space.
The Phoenix Mayor’s Commission on Disability Issues (MCDI) and city of Phoenix Equal Opportunity Department created the “Save our Space” campaign to remind the public about the importance of saving accessible parking spaces for people who really need them. Partnering with the Phoenix Police Department, the campaign calls for a strong community commitment to following existing parking ordinances.
“Accessible parking is a matter of safety. People with disabilities need the extra room to deploy ramps, wheelchairs, scooters and walkers and a safe access lane to ensure they can go on about their daily activities,” said Jennifer Longdon, chair of the Mayor’s Commission on Disability Issues. “People with disabilities represent $8 billion of disposable income annually. It makes sense to make sure that every patron has access to accessible parking when visiting a business.”
Several years ago, the city passed an ordinance raising the fines for illegal use of designated disabled parking spaces from $140 to a minimum fine of $288 to as high as $480. The ordinance also makes it illegal for parked vehicles to block accessible curb cuts and ramps and to park in the yellow-striped access aisle adjacent to accessible parking spaces, even on private property.
The Police Department has recruited, trained and equipped a corps of ACE (Accessibility Compliance Enforcement) volunteers to issue citations for accessible parking violations. The department also has set up a hotline number, 602-534-SPACE (7722), for the public to report violations.
For more information about the Save our Space campaign, visit phoenix.gov/eod or to become an ACE volunteer, call 602-534-SPACE. Follow us on Twitter at @phxequalopprty.
Det. Walter Olsen