Disabled parking all day in spots with a time limit

The in basket:  Michael Hilt of Manchester writes, “Evidently I need some clarification on the parking rules for the city of Bremerton.

“With the completion of the downtown tunnel and the waterfront park, the city has posted signs along First, Second, and Pacific Streets advising this area is one-hour parking only.  There seems to be only one dedicated handicapped slot here, on Second Street.  

“However,” he said, “more than a dozen vehicles with handicapped stickers (both blue and red – I don’t understand the difference) routinely occupy spots along these streets all day.  

“Most of the vehicles also have PSNS civilian access stickers on the windshield indicating to me the vehicles belong to PSNS civilian employees, thus conveniently giving them prime parking at the front of the Bremerton Gate. 

“This would seem to limit the availability of parking for visitors who wish to tour the park and museum and those who wish to shop in the downtown area. 

“First, can those with handicapped parking stickers use a dedicated one-hour spot all day?  If so, this seems to be a benefit not available to others who park downtown all day and are forced to pay for all-day parking within the city.”

“Second, doesn’t PSNS offer parking, either on base or in one of their off-base garages, for their handicapped employees?

“I think some PSNS workers have found they can take advantage of the situation,” Michael  said.

The out basket: It certainly seems that way. At noon on March 25, 16 spaces from Second Street to the ferry terminal were occupied by cars with disabled placards hanging on their rear view mirrors.  That was about 50 percent of the available spaces in that area. Many but not all had Department of Defense decals as well.

But, yes,  those with disabled plates or placards can park all day in spaces with time limits if there are no signs saying otherwise. They also can park at parking meters without paying, though I’m not sure there are any more parking meters in the county.

Lt. Pete Fisher of Bremerton police traffic says a city can enact its own rules to modify the state or federal laws that allow this, but he doesn’t believe Bremerton has done so. 

It makes no difference that a car might also have apparent access into the shipyard, he said.

The Navy does provide disabled parking spaces, says Lt. Michelle D. Kibodeaux, assistant operations officer at Naval Base Kitsap. ”

There are 15 spaces in the Navy’s parking garage in Bremerton, 125 spaces in Z lot , located across from Pier D, and 20 in F lot, located outside Missouri gate. There are also several sporadic disabled parking spaces located around the base, available primarily to areas that support customer service and require a disabled customer service space, she said. A Kitsap Access bus provides trips to and from Z lot, the one inside the base.

She noted that presence of a DOD sticker doesn’t necessarily confer parking privileges on base, or even necessarily identify  the car as that of a shipyard person, as it’s good on many other bases as well.

Fellow Navy PAO Tom Danaher says the Navy doesn’t involved itself in parking enforcement questions outside the base fences.

I’ve never learned why state law (RCW 46.61.582  Free parking for persons with disabilities) grants this kind of exemption from normal parking time limits to those with the proper plates and placards, but I hope to hear some comment on this blog from advocates for the disabled as to why it’s defensible. 

Maybe we’ll even hear from a shipyard worker or two about why parking outside the fence is preferable when they can drive inside.

3 thoughts on “Disabled parking all day in spots with a time limit

  1. Just because you have a PSNS sticker doesn’t mean you can park on base. You still need to have a parking sticker which are very limited. I don’t agree one bit that just because you have a handicapped parking placard that you should be able to park unlimited hours where everyone else has to be limited to a certain amount of time or pay for all day parking. I feel it is abuse of the system, and the city of Bremerton needs to change that rule if they are allowed.

  2. Hello, Travis (AKA, Road Warrior)
    Your interesting article: “No Time Limit for Drivers Who Have Disabled Stickers,” inspires me to write from personal experience in another state, though many states have similar or the same laws for the disabled.
    To qualify for a disabled license permit, either temporary or permanent, stringent rules must be followed: A physician must provide written testimony to prove that a patient meets all requirements by law, before a permit can be issued. In my late husband’s experience, he was required to take a driving test every year to renew his license and keep his disabled plate. For the rest of us, we don’t need a yearly driving exam, until we move to another state or there’s other driver related problems.
    Often, serious disability is not seen by onlookers. With Multiple Sclerosis, as an example, numbness and weakness comes and goes, some days are more debilitating than others. Those who suffer from this illness may be ambulatory, but getting around is extremely difficult. Some patients have heart conditions that limit how far or often they can walk. Not having to park far away or to re-park often allows them to continue employment and to be more independant. They can enjoy outings that otherwise may be discouraged if there’s parking issues. This parking advantage is often the bright spot in their challenged lives-sometimes there aren’t many benefits that add to the quality of their days. It can be hard to understand what’s going on when disability happens to someone else.
    Ga Neille Hostvedt

  3. The blue placards are often called “Permanent” versus the red ones are temporary. Most long term (blue) placards must be renewed every four or five years. Ohio gives you an additional two hours beyond the time limit other states allow parking at meters for free such as Florida. The big reason is I need additional time is to navigate my way to a location and very well might need to travel further for an accessible route. A level playing field or opportunity to use the space. Clearly not the issue here. As a handicapped person I should be afforded an extra amount of time to perform a task the unencumbered can do more quickly. Clearly no one else is parking there with a one hour limit and going to work. Just me but other than a loading area all spaces should be a minimum of two hours.

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