Advocate skeptical of parking fine hike

Danette Dooley
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Tom Badcock, executive director of the Hub. — Photo by Danette Dooley/Special to The Telegram

The executive director of the Hub says designated parking woes in St. John’s won’t improve until the city cracks down on people who share their permit with others.

The city announced last month it is looking to hike fines for people who park illegally in wheelchair-designated spaces from $75 to $400

“If you get caught giving (the permit) to a family member or a friend, that’s where the fine should be increased,” Tom Badcock said.

Service NL issues permits for blue zone parking. Those applying for a permit must have a doctor or nurse practitioner complete a form which is available through motor registration offices throughout the province.

Permit seekers are not required to have a driver’s licence or a vehicle. While permits can be used in any vehicle that the permit holder is a passenger in, the Service NL website clearly states that permits are not transferable and cannot be loaned to anyone else.

Badcock says people with permanent disabilities who own a vehicle should have a wheelchair permit displayed on their licence plate. People who don’t own a vehicle should have their photo on the permit, he said.

Jim Kelly has been permanently disabled since 1988. He uses a wheelchair for mobility.

Kelly said he’s often been asked for a loan of his permit which sits on the dash of his car. It shouldn’t be that easy to share, he says.

“The permit is attached to a person, not a car, but I’ve always said that it should be attached to your licence plate,” Kelly said.

Drivers also need to remember that it’s illegal to park in a blue zone and stay in the car to wait until someone with a disability returns to the vehicle, Kelly said.

“The person could be into the mall, and whoever brought them there will park in that spot for an hour or more just waiting for them.”

Kelly also wonders if the rates are hiked, how the city will enforce the law. Police are nabbing people regularly who have racked up thousands of dollars in unpaid fines, he said.

Coun. Tom Hann said he supports increasing the fines to $400 — the maximum permitted by the province.

Hann said he’s often seen people parking in a blue zone without a permit and, in one case, asked RNC officers who were in the area to find out who owned the car and ask them to move the vehicle.

When asked about problems with enforcement, Hann said people who see others abuse the permit system should call the RNC or the city to report the abuse.

“Report them right on the spot, and somebody should get out there and make sure that the tickets are issued.”

Hann is optimistic that increasing the fines will be a deterrent to those who break the law.

“Even if it cuts down 10 or 15 per cent, it’s better than what we’re doing now,” he said.

The city is also looking to increase fines for expired meters from $15 to $25.

Both proposals will be before council on Monday.

Organizations: The TelegramThe, Service NL

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Recent comments

  • Jean
    March 11, 2012 - 08:55

    I believe Mr. Hunt wrote this to stir up trouble....if not...I can only say it is not an advantage to be disabled...Those who are would love not to have to use these spots and be able to walk the length of the parking lot..or walk at all....Hopefully, you will never be made an "honest" man parking there....then and only then you will feel the pain..

  • BWJ
    March 10, 2012 - 23:38

    education is the key,educate the public,the enforcement "officers"and lastly but not the least the medical personnel. i agree with pictures on the permit. for enforcement the "officers" have to get out of their warm, city provided vehicles in inclimate weather. i am positive if the "officers" would spend any time parked,legally of course,at any box store or mall they would witness countless infractions. i could go on for quite a while, but i feel my main point has been made..

  • joe it all
    March 10, 2012 - 14:55

    Mr. Badcock is right. Vehicle permits should be on the licence plate and other ones should have a picture. Stores and malls also need more frequent policing.

  • David
    March 10, 2012 - 12:23

    This is great news for the local "ticket collecting" afficionados....another kind of infraction to start collecting, possibly tens of thousands of dollars worth! Collect 'em, trade 'em, put 'em on eBay! But get out there quick...those parking spots are now gonna go like hot cakes! Heck, bring a few beers with you, and try for the 'daily double'!

  • Robert
    March 10, 2012 - 08:58

    If the objective here is to make sure these designated parking spaces are used by ONLY those needing such spaces then education is the key. May I suggest that the ticket also include a full day of education at the culprits expense; may I go further and suggest the Hub put on this education to its benefit. And the price of the ticket must reflect the cost of this education.

  • Willie Hunt
    March 10, 2012 - 08:07

    Years a go down this way there was a buddy what could make the permits on he's computer. Everybody I knew had one. I dont see nothing wrong with it. Most times the blue spots are empty and im usually in and out in a few minutes. If you want to use a handycap parking spot and you dont have a permit you are better off doing it only when its raining or the weather is bad. Willie Hunt Pouch Cove NL

    • PETER
      March 10, 2012 - 12:03

      WILLIE HUNT, your ignorance is apalling, they are vacant waiting for someone to use them, not for lazy people who see nothing wrong with it if it's vacant. Maybe while you are parked there someone comes by who needs it. My wife is handicapped and has a permit, and so often the spaces are used by people like you with no permit who see nothing wrong with it. I hope you end u[p with sevral tickets, and get one every time you use it, maybe then you will wkae up. Man you must be just so lazy.