Common sense and disability parking

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A small strip of parking has prompted calls for consistency in disability parking rules across public and private locations in the ACT.

Canberra Weekly was contacted by a reader who received a parking ticket while in a disability parking space despite displaying their permit. Their confusion is centred on the ‘on-street’ parking along Burbury Close in Barton.

According to an Access Canberra spokesperson, all on-street parking bays are monitored by Access Canberra Parking Operations. Vehicles displaying a current disability parking permit can park for free in ACT Government operated pay parking bays.

“Mobility parking permit holders can park free of charge in ACT Government ticket parking areas and carparks and on-street parking spaces that are free but time restricted: for up to two hours, if the time limit on the parking sign is 30 minutes or less; and, for an unlimited time, if the time limit on the parking sign is more than 30 minutes,” the spokesperson said.

However, the parking bays located on Burbury Close are not classified as on-street parking as the bays are on private land. They are operated by Wilson Parking.

CEO of Wilson Parking, Stephan Wuffli, said at most on-street and off-street carparks, including those owned by local government and private operators, “rates apply to all who use parking services”.

“When parking in a car park, most people understand that parking, just like any other product or service, is provided for a fee, and respect the terms of use accordingly,” Mr Wuffli said.

“At all carparks operated by Wilson Parking, regardless of location, disabled bays are reserved for drivers who hold relevant permits. We monitor these bays closely to ensure they’re available to those entitled to use them.

“In some instances, concessions to drivers displaying a valid disability parking permit may also apply, however, this is at the discretion of the car park owner. Wilson Parking operates this specific car park, however does not set or control the parking rates.”

The Burbury Close location does feature signage which says “parking fees apply” and for terms and conditions to “see signs at machines”. However, for those who opt to use the disability parking space, the ticket machine is about 14 car spaces away.

“This car park has two disabled parking bays at either end, with the ticket machine placed in the middle. In the interests of providing customers efficient access, we have informed the owner of the location concerns and they have advised of their intent to remark disabled bays to ensure both are as close to the ticket machine as possible,” Mr Wuffli said.

Rachel Sirr, executive director of People with Disabilities ACT, said payment systems should be as close to disabled parking spaces as possible.

“I think it’s about being considerate in the planning and design process,” she said, while adding there needs to be more common sense surrounding disability parking in the ACT.

Ms Sirr said the time allowed for disability parking depends on who manages the parking space, which “is very confusing and ridiculous”.

“They should be the same. It doesn’t matter if the government runs the car park or it is privately run.”

More information about disability permit conditions and time limits can be found online at accesscanberra.act.gov.au