Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, Chair of the New York State Assembly Task Force on People with Disabilities, today announced the introduction of legislation that, if signed into law, will allow persons with certain severe disabilities to park for free in metered parking spaces.
Assembly Bill A.10563 strives to solve a logistical problem for people with disabilities who drive, but who also have a lack of fine motor skills or simply cannot reach parking meters. Many individuals who fit this description have to bypass available metered parking spaces or risk getting a parking ticket because they physically cannot put payment into the meters.
"Advances in technology have been able to provide people with some of the most limiting disabilities the ability to drive a vehicle," Assemblywoman Paulin said. "The amount of independence that driving brings to people with disabilities is beyond measure. But without adequate and accessible parking spaces, getting to a destination becomes just another frustration, if not an impossibility, for those who cannot exit their vehicle without them. That is why I feel so strongly that this bill is a necessity for New York's disability community. The time has come for us to minimize the challenges of parking for people with disabilities, especially in areas where parking is largely monitored by parking meters."
This bill is modeled after an existing law in the State of Michigan that is already in effect to address this problem. Assemblywoman Paulin's legislation allows people with disabilities who are already entitled to a disabled person license plate or parking permit but cannot operate a parking meter because of their inability to put payment into the meter's payment slots to park for free in metered parking spots. In order to obtain the waiver to park for free in these spots, interested persons will have to submit a Department of Motor Vehicles-designed form, completed by a licensed physician, to their same local government office that currently issues disabled person parking permits.
Furthermore, to limit abuse, there are several protective provisions in the bill. For instance, when utilizing the waiver to park for free in metered parking spaces, the person with the qualifying disability must be the parked vehicle's driver. When a person with a qualifying disability is traveling as a passenger, the driver of the vehicle can, and should, put payment into the meter. Violation of certain provisions in the bill may result in revocation of the permit or civil penalties.
"This bill will improve the quality of life for many disabled drivers on a daily basis," Julie Sullivan, member of the Eastchester Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities and primary advocate for this bill, said. "I personally will no longer need to ask strangers to get change out of my wallet in order to avoid a parking ticket when I leave my village. This is a great example of good government – Assemblywoman Paulin has taken a suggestion from the Eastchester Advisory Committee and is devoted to make it a law."
Mary Marvin, Mayor of Bronxville, offered her support for Assemblywoman Paulin's initiative. "The Village of Bronxville’s government is in full support of Assemblywoman Paulin’s initiative and sponsorship of a bill to waive the cost of metered parking for citizens with certain disabilities, and we are particularly proud that one of our own residents, Julie Sullivan, assisted her in formulating this change. I believe this bill is another important step to eliminate a barrier to a disabled person’s full enjoyment and access. We as a Village are committed to continuing to work with Assemblywoman Paulin, who has been remarkably responsive to the needs of our Village, to do whatever we can to equalize access for disabled citizens.”
Assemblywoman Paulin has chaired the Assembly Task Force on People with Disabilities for the past two years. During her tenure, Assemblywoman Paulin has advanced a comprehensive legislative agenda aimed at improving the lives of persons with disabilities in many areas, including disabled parking, housing, election reform, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protections.
"I am fully committed to eliminating the obstacle of metered parking for those with disabilities who are excluded by it," Assemblywoman Paulin concluded. "This bill has become an important part of the Task Force's legislative agenda that I will continue advocating for until it is signed into law."