Nacogdoches Police work to lower handicap parking violations

Nacogdoches Police work to lower handicap parking violations
Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 1:34 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 6, 2022 at 11:41 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - “If everybody, you know just parks in a handicap parking spot just a minute, then you’re taking away those parking spots with persons with disabilities who actually need those parking spots,” said Nacogdoches Police Sgt. Brett Ayers over the department seeing many vehicles without the required permits parking in handicap spaces around town.

“We get complaints from citizens and people that are visiting our communities.”

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, business are required to have a minimum of 2% of the parking lot be handicap accessible.

“To me is extra frustrating that only 2% of the law that I can take up and I see all the time all over Nacogdoches people without placards or plates taking up those spaces,” said visitor like Chris Hines.

Hine serves as a Denver, Colorado council member and is an advocate for people with disabilities. When he comes back to his hometown to visit family, he finds it difficult most times looking for parking. “If I can’t park in a space in the lot, one of those few accessible parking spaces then I have to go somewhere else,” Hines said.

Hines has been in a wheelchair since 2008 when he was paralyzed in a car crash in 2008. “It’s important for me to have access to that little hashed area next to an accessible parking space.”

In an effort to see fewer handicap parking violations, the Nacogdoches Police Department and its Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) work together on the problem.

They created the Handicap Project in 2019 in efforts to keep handicap parking spaces available and educate the public. Ayers said CERT members can check out a vehicle through the department are able to issue citations for illegal parking.

“If we’re having to issue a lot of citations then we need to do more educating on the public so that people will voluntarily comply with not parking in handicap parking spots illegally,” said Ayers.

Illegally parking in a handicap space in Texas can result in a fine of up to $1,250 and or to 50 hours of community service