Tow, ticket handicapped parking violators, reader suggests

Dear Street Smarts,


     Q Would you please check and see why the handicap parking spaces are not being enforced? I have COPD and am on oxygen 24/7 and use small tanks of oxygen when my wife takes me to the doctors, get a hair cut, blood taken, etc. I can walk a few steps but have to use a wheelchair for everything beyond 40 feet or 50 feet. Why aren’t the Sheriff’s Office or California Highway Patrol checking these parking lots? My barber said he called the Sheriff’s Office and they would not or did not respond. Why? People are parked in the handicapped spaces without permission. Thanks for checking on this.

     Bob Popwell  


     A May I ask which parking areas you see violations occur? Do you park on the street or in parking lots at specific businesses?

      If you park in spots designated for handicap parking on the street in unincorporated areas of the county, such as Aptos, Soquel or the San Lorenzo Valley, call the CHP at 662-0511. That agency deals with traffic/transportation issues in those areas. If you are in a city -- Scotts Valley, Santa Cruz, Capitola or Watsonville -- you'd call the corresponding police department or parking enforcement agency to go out and write a ticket for the offending vehicle. Those fines are about $300.

     However, if you are parked in a shopping center parking lot and able-bodied people are parking in spots reserved for the disabled, it is up to the business /property owner to call a tow company and have the offender towed. Police agencies consider situations on private property a private party/civil matter and tend to not get involved.

     Getting your car off a truck or out of a tow yard also will cost a pretty penny. However, the problem when calling a tow company is that sometimes the offender leaves before the tow truck arrives.

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3 Responses to Tow, ticket handicapped parking violators, reader suggests

  1. Capitola Citizen says:

    I would like to add to Bob Popewell’s suggestion…tow, ticket, handcuff and BOOK these violators. I suggest you ask either the parking officers in Capitola or Santa Cruz about the violators they run into. you’d be amazed how many are illegally using Grandma’s parking placard while they park their SUV or BMW in a handicapped parking spot all day at the beach. Grandma is usually at the convalescent home and nowhere nearby. This is highly illegal, and you would be astounded how often it happens. Also astounding is how indignant people get when confronted by the officers who ask to see ther permit and find out who it belongs to. They know they are in the wrong and get angry when the permit is confiscated and they are issued citations for misuse of the placard AND the illegal parking. It happens A LOT, Ramona. Just ask the parking officers, believe me.

  2. B Polhamius says:

    Amen. I am handicapped also, although mildly compared to some, due to chronic pain and physical conditions. On my “good” days I save the handicapped spots for others; on my “bad” days I am truly grateful for them. It is a big problem. Also, given the aging of all of us baby boomers, there is a need arising for even more handicapped spots. Many times I arrive only to find all the spots taken by others, who do have legitimate stickers or placards. Also, to those who begrudge the handicapped our preferential parking, I would trade a day in a “normal” body for the parking privileges, any day. Thanks for the chance to speak out.

  3. Normal says:

    Also, please keep in mind that just because someone looks “normal” doesn’t mean they don’t have a disability that you may not be aware of. My daughter has a permanent disability. She is harassed quite frequently because she doesn’t fit what people think “disabled” should look like.

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