November 15 2016
Police to Crackdown on Handicap Parking Violators During Holiday Shopping Season
By: Rich Hosford
The Board of Selectmen approved three expenses from the Disability Access Commission’s (DAC) Parking Fine Fund, including another round of crackdowns on drivers illegally parking in handicap parking spots.
DAC Co-Chair Maura Mazzocca was at the meeting with Burlington Police Department Sergeant Gerry McDonough to talk about the importance of the handicap parking sting, dubbed Operation Access.
They asked that $15,000 from the fund, which has money supplied by previous crackdowns, be spent to monitor high-traffic shopping areas during the holiday season.
Town Administrator John Petrin said giving the public advanced warning is meant to dissuade people from illegally using the spots but if they still choose to do so then at least the revenue generated will be used for programs that benefit people with disabilities.
“People need these spots, it’s not for your convenience but for people who need them to be able to access these shops,” he said. “And it’s not a convenience for them, it’s a need.”
It is also clear that despite the public warning in the press people still choose to risk a ticket by breaking the law. During last year’s holiday season there was a well-announced crackdown and still police issued 88 tickets for illegal parking and 20 citations for misuse of handicap placards. Four people were also found to have altered documents to illegally park in handicap spots.
Members of the Board of Selectmen said they were in favor of the program and hoped people would take note and not illegally park in the first place.
“hopefully nobody breaks the rules and parks there,” Board Chair Dan Grattan said. “We want this to be a dissuasion not a source of revenue.”
“But in the meantime we’ll take the money,” Petrin added.
The crackdown will begin on Black Friday.
The board also approved $1,200 to help defray the costs for uses of a therapeutic horseback riding program and $10,500 o make Regan Park handicap accessible. Mazzocca said the commission with work with the Recreation Department to create two accessible spots with an access aisle at the park and build a walkway from them to what will be an accessible playground.