Having to deal with accessibility to a building or facility is one thing, but they also have to deal with parking issues. Blue zone parking spaces are there to ease with accessibility, but if someone is parked illegally in one of these spaces without a permit, that person who legitimately needs it is left to find a parking space that is less than ideal for their needs. What is even worse, they may not even have an option for parking if the blue zone is full. You might think you are only running into a store for a minute and there would be no harm in parking in one of these blue zone spaces, but that may just be the moment when someone really needs that space.
Last week the Provincial Government announced they are taking violations of blue zone parking very seriously. As a greater deterrent to drivers who park in these spaces illegally, those without proper permits for these parking spaces will increase. It's not just a minor increase either. Fines will go from the current range of $45 to $180 to the new range of $100 to $400.
The new regulations also state that signs identifying blue zone parking spaces are to be permanent and visible at all times.
The new fines will come into effect on April 1, 2012. The regulations on signage will came into effect for new and proposed buildings on Feb. 15, 2012. Existing properties which are subject to the Buildings Accessibility Regulations and the Designated Impaired Mobility Regulations will be required to comply by Sept. 30, 2012.
While the new fine structure is still a ways off, why not use this prompting to remind yourself about the purpose behind those "convenient" parking spaces and park in any of the other available spots. It wouldn't hurt any of us to put an extra few steps into our daily routine, and you will also be showing respect for those with mobility issues.
- Karen Wells