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.
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.