Update: See previous post – April 25, 2010 Disabled Parking Permits (Accessible Parking Permits)
In March 2008, the City of Toronto dramatically increased the amount of the fine for illegally parking in a Disabled Parking Zone from $150.00 to $450.00.
The parking enforcement officers provide tickets everyday to motor vehicles that park in Disabled Parking Zone, without a valid Disabled Parking Permit (in Toronto it is called an Accessible Parking Permit).
Apparently, the only motor vehicles that are allowed to park in Disabled Parking Zones, without an Accessible Parking Permit, are City of Toronto Parking Enforcement Officer Vehicles.
On August 24, 2010 at approximately 10 pm at a Tim Horton’s at 1214 Caledonia Road a Parking Enforcement Officer Vehicle was observed parking in a space designed for those with disabilities/special needs in a Disabled Parking Space. The Parking Enforcement Officers parked over the sign, in the disabled parking zone and walked into the Tim Horton’s and had a seat.
The parking spots next to the disabled parking spot were empty.
A woman, Ms. Melissa Goncalves, outside of the Tim Hortons noticed that this vehicle was parking in the disabled parking zone (reserved for those bearing an Accessible Parking Permit) and began to take pictures. It was only after the abled bodied enforcement officers sitting in the Timmy’s noticed that she was taking a particular interest in their choice of parking spot, that they quickly came out and drove away.
Ms. Concalves sent the picture and the story to CP24 (see picture) and CP24 followed up on the story.
When CP24 brought it to the attention of the Police, rather than acknowledging that the Police Services “Parking Enforcement” Officers displayed poor judgment and admonishing the act (disrespectful behaviour towards those who are disabled and towards the public for flaunting the law), Toronto Police Constable Wendy Drummond (spokesperson for the police) responded by saying that the parking enforcement vehicle was not parked in an “authorized” disabled spot, which requires clear markings on both the ground (indication on the ground painted) and a posted sign stating the bylaw.
Constable Drummond stated that without a posted sign (on the side of the Tim Horton’s wall, directly in front of the parking spot) and clear markings on the ground, the spot isn’t enforceable (so technically, anyone, including the parking enforcement officers can park there and cannot be ticketed).
If this sign wasn’t posted on the outside wall of the Tim Horton’s directly in front of the disabled parking spot, Constable Drummond says it isn’t a valid disabled parking spot (even if there are clear huge markings painted on the ground):
See Highway Traffic Act R.R.O. 1990, REGULATION 581 ACCESSIBLE PARKING FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
10. A parking space designated by a sign under section 11 on land owned and occupied by the Crown may be used only by vehicles displaying a valid disabled person parking permit in accordance with this Regulation. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 581, s.10.
11. A parking space designated on Crown land or under a municipal by-law for the use of persons with a disability shall be distinctly indicated by erecting a disabled person parking permit sign which shall,
(a) be not less than forty-five centimetres in height and not less than thirty centimetres in width and bear the markings and have the dimensions as described and illustrated in the following Figure:
(b) be not less than sixty centimetres in height and not less than thirty centimetres in width and bear the markings and have the dimensions as described and illustrated in the following Figure:
R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 581, s.11; O. Reg. 612/05, s. 5.
Both Toronto Police Officers and Parking Enforcement Officers work for the City of Toronto’s Toronto Police Services Board.
According to the law, neither of these Officers were disabled and should not have been parking there for their donut and coffee, especially when there were empty spaces on both sides of the cruiser. The fact that they immediately came out when the photo’s were being taken, showed their presence of mind and the fact that they knew they should not have parked there. Ms. Drummond attempts to defend these actions and appears to condone this behaviour, without hinting for even a second, that the behaviour under scrutiny was disrespectful and wrong. The optics in this case are terrible.
“Person with a Disability” means an individual:
(a) who cannot walk without the assistance of another individual or of a brace, cane, crutch, lower limb prosthetic device or similar assistive device or who requires the assistance of a wheelchair,
(b) who suffers from lung disease to such an extent that his or her forced expiratory volume in one second is less than one litre,
(c) for whom portable oxygen is a medical necessity,
(d) who suffers from cardiovascular disease to such an extent that the individual’s functional capacity is classified as Class III or Class IV according to Nomenclature and Criteria for Diagnosis of Diseases of the Heart and Great Vessels, ninth edition, published by Little, Brown & Co. in 1994,
(e) whose ability to walk is severely limited due to an arthritic, neurological, musculoskeletal or orthopaedic condition,
(f) whose visual acuity is 20/200 or poorer in the better eye, with corrective lenses if required, or whose maximum field of vision using both eyes has a diameter of 20 degrees or less, or
(g) whose mobility is severely limited by one or more conditions or functional impairments;
This isn’t the first time that this has happened, but at least in one of the first instances (in May 2008 at a Mississauga Tim Horton’s) this behaviour was taken alot more seriously by Peel Police.
According to a second spokeswoman for the Toronto Police, Isabelle Cotton, a parking space is not considered an official wheelchair-accessible spot unless there is a sign painted on the pavement, as well as one posted above the spot. In this case, there was only a sign on the ground, she said.
It appears that both Wendy & Isabelle, while stating that it’s not technically “illegal”, both miss the point. Both are attempting to be good spin doctors and to deflect attention away from the real issue – should they have parked there?
This is wrong and should be frowned upon by any decent citizen. There was no necessity of having to park there, no emergency, no rush, plenty of other parking spaces that were empty. They went in for a break, as many of us do – but not under these circumstances.
Why can’t the police just admit their wrong and get on with it, as opposed to telling us that it isn’t illegal and therefore it’s ok.
See the CP24 video.