February 28, 2013 at 6:43 AM
ATERSON, NJ – Some folks apparently think they get a free pass with their handicapped parking placards or license plates.
They don’t move their vehicles to comply with street-cleaning regulations. They don’t bother to put any coins in city parking meter. And they get upset when they find tickets on their windshields.
Speaking at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, Assistant Corporation Counsel Dawn Blakely-Harper said that handicapped status does not exempt drivers from following other motor vehicle regulations.
“The law is that if you can drive the car, you can move it for street cleaners,’’ Blakely-Harper said.
The issue arose on a Tuesday when a member of the public asked city officials whether there had been some change in municipal policy regarding parking enforcement against vehicles with handicapped identification. But officials said the perception that handicapped placards provided a free pass was a misperception.
Blakely-Harper, whose duties include serving as a municipal prosecutor, said the city court does offer folks with handicapped plates some flexibility on expired meter tickets. The city requires such people to pay the meter when they initially park at a metered spot, she said, but it does not require them to feed the meter if they remain at the location.
Blakely-Harper said another common source of parking confusion involves handicapped-designated spots in residential areas. People often think the designated spot becomes fair game when the person for whom the space was set aside moves away, she said.
Not true, according to Blakely-Harper. Parking in such a spot still may result in a $250 summons. In order to resume using such a space, neighbor must apply to the city to have the handicapped designation lifted, she said.