Temporary free parking victory
Should mobility card holders have to pay for parking?
Mobility card holders have won their claim to park free in metered spaces in Palmerston North, at least temporarily.
A deputation, four speakers and a gallery of almost 30 supporters put their case to the city council’s planning and policy committee yesterday.
They had already won a stay when council staff discovered hundreds of people had not been warned they were expected to feed the meter or pay a $40 infringement.
Roading manager Graeme Tong decided last week that parking wardens would not issue tickets to mobility card holders for not paying.
However, people who overstayed the time restrictions could still be ticketed.
Mr Tong said he made the call after learning about the extent of discontent, and the non-enforcement would continue until councillors decided whether to charge in future.
Cr Chris Teo-Sherrell said the process of enforcing payment at the meters had been ‘‘screwed up’’.
Mr Tong said the mobility card had never entitled people to free parking, but the rules had not been enforced until the last week of June.
The move had been publicised in the Square Circular, with friendly reminders on cars, and in a mailout.
However, that mailout had missed hundreds of the 3200 card holders, some because they had asked not to receive mail from card issuer CCS Disability Action.
‘‘It was not as successful as we would like.
‘‘In some cases it was most embarrassing to get letters back to say that the person addressed was deceased.’’
Deputation leader Fran Zuppicich, who drives for an adult son with a disability, said she had collected 50 of the 250 signatures on a petition calling on the council to stop charging.
‘‘I don’t know anyone who got a letter,’’ she said.
Speaker Mike Girling-Butcher did not get one, and said communication had been poor.
David Vickery laid down the gauntlet.
‘‘I will not back down, and I will not pay, and you can give me ticket after ticket and I will just paste them on the wall.’’
Another speaker, Mary Harrison, said she had driven her late husband around for seven years, using mobility parks.
The real problem was finding able-bodied people had taken up mobility parks, she said.
‘‘That’s not fair on the people who really need them, and you need more people patrolling making sure only people with a card can get in there.’’
Mr Tong said the irony was that one of the motives for enforcing payment was to increase the turnover in disability parks, allowing more disabled people to use them.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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