Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay today announced Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed legislation, A.9805/S.08822, that improves parking enforcement to benefit people with disabilities. The measure expands the ability of law-enforcement agencies to penalize drivers who park in access aisles that run parallel to designated parking spaces for people with disabilities.
“This is great news and a significant victory for people with disabilities. Ensuring that law enforcement can properly enforce illegal parking laws helps the disability community tremendously. I’m pleased that bipartisan efforts prevailed to advance this measure,” said Leader Barclay (R,C,I-Pulaski). “I want to thank Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli for working collaboratively with me to move this bill forward. But the real credit goes to the local advocates who have been vocal, persistent and determined to see this through. Their hard work was the driving force behind this new law.”
“The 1981 law did not take into consideration the development of large retail or ‘big box’ establishments with less than five stores in a plaza, so there was a loophole that discouraged local law enforcement from enforcing parking violations at these locations,” said Assemblyman Magnarelli (129th Assembly District). “The new law will ensure that those who illegally park at these establishments can get ticketed and towed, if needed, ensuring that those in need have access to the spaces that were intended for them.”
The legislation changes the vehicle and traffic law to explicitly authorize law enforcement agencies to ticket or tow illegally parked vehicles in accessible spaces at all shopping centers. Shopping centers with at least five retail stores and at least 20 parking spaces are required to have at least 5% or 10 spaces, whichever is less, designated as handicap accessible.
Prior to today’s action, the law did not cover retail establishments with fewer than five stores, because the law was explicit in requiring there be at least five retail stores in the shopping center in order to impose a penalty for such violation. As a result, law enforcement was previously prevented from enforcing parking violations at some shopping centers. This bill will close the loophole to allow for enforcement of parking violations at all retail establishments.
The bill passed unanimously in both houses of the Legislature and was delivered to the governor for signature on July 11.
“As a person with a disability, I am very pleased. I do not want anyone else to be in the situation I was in. I want to thank the New York state Assembly and Senate and Gov. Hochul for listening. This will end a two-plus year journey and will be a huge step forward for the disability community in New York state,” said Jim Cronk, ARISE Advocate.
“I am so pleased that the efforts put forth by Leader Barclay and the members of the Assembly and Senate resulted in such a major change for those with a disability. The power to enforce illegal parking in disability spots across rural New York will turn the corner for many with a disability. This will utilize proper access to business and services throughout New York for those who are consumers, participants, employees and community members that have a disability. I thank the governor for signing this bill,” said James Karasek, Oswego County Legislator, and a person with a disability.