As a community can we please police ourselves when it comes to accessible parking? Is it too much to ask that people respect publicly posted accessible parking signs?
This spring and summer the number of accessible parking spaces that are occupied by able-bodied people has been consistently and disturbingly high. Let’s be clear – it is against the law to park in an accessible parking space or block access to that outlined, striped box next to it where people may be exiting a van in a wheelchair. No parking where the sign is or next to it.
First of all, it is rude and selfish and lazy. Is it really so hard to walk a few more feet to the store or shop or dining establishment? Secondly, what kind of a message does that send to those who actually need to park in those spots so that they can more easily access stores, shops, etc.? What kind of a message does it send to visitors to The Valley about the respect we show for people who legitimately need access to those spots?
Third, planning on a quick trip to run into a store and pick up something is no excuse. Five minutes of blocking the accessible parking spot is too long. Five minutes is as bad as 50 minutes, so just don’t do it.
And what kind of example does it set for employees if business owners or bosses consistently encroach on the accessible parking spaces? What kind of example does it set when business owners remove their accessible parking signs?
Finally, if we can’t police ourselves, can we ask the Vermont State Police and Washington County sheriffs who patrol here to please make this a priority? The penalty for parking in accessible parking spots is $200. It shouldn’t take too many tickets for violating the law to impact the most persistent and inconsiderate repeat scofflaws to take heed.
We recognize that speed enforcement is also important, but ask that this be given a priority for a month or two to see if change can’t be affected by repeated expensive tickets.