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Saturday, October 6, 2012

City of Phoenix and Handicap Accessible Parking Enforcement

You're probably aware that parking in a handicap parking spot is illegal.  It is a crime.  It is just as much a crime if you park in that spot for 90 seconds while you sit in the car while the engine is turned on just as much as it's a crime to park in that spot for an hour while you go into a store.  You cannot maneuver your vehicle into a handicap spot, in any fashion or under any circumstance, if you do not have a handicap plate or placard registered under your name.  It is also just as illegal to block access to those parking spots--even for a few moments.  I know it doesn't seem like a big deal.  I know it's tempting.  I know that area of the parking lot is "right there".  So convenient.  It doesn't hurt anybody if you just hang out there for a little bit.  Right?

But it's illegal.  And the people you affect when you real-quick no-big-deal commit these offenses will be unnoticeable to you.  Know why?  Because they can't get out of their cars and shake their fists at you due to the fact that you're in or blocking access to their parking spots.

I am an understanding, patient person.  These are virtues I embody simply by way of being a parent of five year old twins.  However I do struggle to find patience or understanding enough to deal with my neighbors who block our access to parking spots.  Or who purposely choose to park in a handicap accessible spot "just for a minute" because it's the most convenient option for them.  Well, parking in a handicap accessible parking spot is the ONLY option for me.  It's not even for ME--not that that should matter.  Vulnerable five year old kids in electric wheelchairs are entitled to the courtesy and protection that handicap parking spots provide just as much as curmudgeonly elderly folks are (I love them, please don't construe that comparison to mean that I'm ageist--just trying to illustrate a comparison).  And it is NOT cool to even contemplate parking in these spots if you don't have to.  If you don't HAVE to park in handicap parking spots, why not rejoice in this freedom by parking in the furthest spot from the store's entrance?  Maybe it's just me but I think this is a BRILLIANT alternative!  Hike, prance, heel-click your way to the entrance from your treasured farthest-away-parking-spot.  Think of the calories you'll burn.  Why don't more people do this?  Why isn't this a thing?!?

This probably goes for all U.S. cities, but I can speak authoritatively that within the City of Phoenix it is crime to park in or block access to a handicap accessible parking spot.  There is such a thing as an Accessible Compliance Enforcement program here.  And they ticket the hell out of people who illegally park or block access to handicap parking spots.  This is a $288 ticket, you guys.  And they also can quickly determine if the handicap placard being used actually belongs to the driver of the vehicle who parked in the handicapped spot.  If the ACE unit isn't around and you notice a vehicle parked in a handicapped parking spot without an accessible plate or placard, you can note the license plate and report it via voice mail to 602-534-SPACE.  A warning letter will be mailed to the owner of the vehicle, which may not be as effective as a parking ticket but at least it's something.

So that's my public service announcement for the week.  It turns out that some people don't know this stuff.  I don't particularly enjoy writing such educational posts, but if I don't then who will?  Use your thinking caps, folks.  If your actions result in me not being able to park in the parking space I need to park in, you're doing it wrong.  Stop being assholes.  And three cheers to do those of you who aren't!  xo


  1. What a pain in the ass!

    But folks, do remember that some people, who need handicap parking, have handicaps that aren't always readily visible. My aunt has one due to knee problems exacerbated by her lymphoma. DH's aunt has one for her MS... which is debilitating, but not always visibly so.

  2. Oh yes, I should have addressed that. Not all handicaps involve something as obvious as a wheelchair. I know someone who drives a nice car and is a very trendy dresser, but the more steps she takes each day the greater the risk of her knee blowing out and then she collapses in the middle of the parking lot. I've seen it happen. She looks 100% healthy until she's laying on the pavement in pain. It rarely happens (because she's good at limiting her walking, sadly), but when it does it's a big deal. Another example of an "invisible" disability.

    As long as there's a plate or a placard, I don't judge.

  3. I know this is a SUPER old post but I just pulled everything into a new reader and this was somehow on top - - I guess I should change the order the reader displays stuff .. ANYWHO. Fabulous post. It peeves me when people dont have tags/plates or park in the hashlines. I NEED Those. I have to be able to have room on BOTH sides ... driver side to get ME out and passenger side to get the baby out.

    I get funny looks and scowls so often before I get out though. . trendy looking woman in a minivan .. and then they see the chair and look away. HA.