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Bigger parking fines wanted for illegal use of disability parks

Dec 16th, 2014 | By | Category: Latest News, News

STORY CHANGER: Paula Booth, member of the Accessibility Advisory Group. IMAGE: Ashleigh Manning.

STORY CHANGER: Paula Booth. IMAGE: Ashleigh Manning.

FOUR NEW mobility parks are to be added by the Wellington City Council by next year, but it won’t fix the issues says the Accessibility Advisory Group.

Availability of parks, safety levels and fines were the main concerns raised by group which advises the council on disability issues.

Seven locations were suggested for the planned parks – The Terrace, Cuba Street, Brandon Street, Oxford Street, Featherston Street, Willis Street and Courtenay Place.

Group member and wheelchair user Paula Booth (right) says Willis Street is top of her list for new locations.

However, members agree the current fine of $150 for parking in a mobility park is too lenient and not effective, because many parks are taken when they are needed.

“I would like for the fines to be substantially increased, to act as more of a deterrent to parking in them,” Ms Booth says.

She says the high demand does not match the number of parks available.

“I definitely think Wellington needs more. There are not many in the central city where they are available, and the demand is very high,” Ms Booth says.

She says during the three years she has used a wheelchair, the only issues she has faced are with the availability and standard of parks.

“The availability of parks is a big issue, as well as ensuring the parks are up to a high standard, so they are the right size and that they have a wheelchair ramp up,” she says.

She says the safety of some parks is high but could be improved.

She also wants non-permit holders to stop using mobility parks illegally.

Ms Booth says where she parks in Victoria Street is not normally a problem for her, because there are two parks outside her workplace.

Traffic engineer, Steven Spence says before placing a mobility park the council and his team go through a process.

“Every mobility park is put through a legal process, through council committee and through consultation,” says Mr Spence.

Traffic engineers are asked to provide the parks and then after checking with the accessibility officer, they place the parks if they are needed.

Mobility parks are normally placed where there is demand for them, usually around shopping centres and inside the central city.

“There is a small amount in residential areas, with a possible one going up in Owen Street, Newton,” says Mr Spence.

Council accessibility adviser, Elizabeth St John-Ives says there are 62 mobility parks in the CBD, and most are used frequently.

She says each park must be usable and safe for the users, and most meet the standard.

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