Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Using the Parking Mobility App
Once you download the app which is free, you have to verify your email address and then you can start sending in reports. But do you know all of what a violation looks like? There's more to it than just where you park. Let's start with what is NOT a violation.
-A disability placard, in clear view from the rear view mirror. On the dashboard is acceptable so long as it is in clear view. More on that coming.
-A license place with a disability wheel chair emblem on it.
-A license place that begins with DV or has "Disabled Veteran" on it.
You may come across a plate that say PH (Purple Heart). By state laws, this does not work. There must be a placard or wheel chair emblem present.
Now what does a violation look like?
The obvious is a car without any of the legal markings parked in a clearly marked accessible parking space. But there are other problems.
-Blocking: When any car parks on the slanted yellow or blue lines, they are blocking safe access to the accessible parking space. Let's look at an image:
So the SUV isn't blocking anyone from parking per se, but the lines on this side of the spaces are still meant for disabled persons to move around safely, without having to squeeze between cars to get to the store. ANY car parked on these lines is a violation. Even if they have placard or plates.
One thing that is great about the app is that, if something you send in isn't a violation, they will inform you of it. So if in doubt, send the report.
Parking on slanted lines between accessible spaces or next to one is also a violation. Even if they have a placard or plates. They are blocking someone's wheelchair access.
You will come across what I call "just shoddy parking". Where someone parks halfway in an accessible space and halfway over the slanted lines next to it. If they have their placard and plates, this is usually excused. But if in doubt, send the report. List it as blocking.
-Placard not visible: Sometimes you will come across a vehicle that has the placard resting on the dash, but is covered with old mail or some junk. Or maybe it's been shoved so far down the windshield, it's nearly all obscured. Us the drop down menu in the app and select 'Placard not displayed properly'. Do all the other prompts as normal.
-Fake, Expired or Defaced Placards: This is another report in the drop down menu. If you think it might be a fake placard or something might be off about it. This is the report you use. They will let you know if you are mistaken. I've seen placards pieced together in laminate with odd bits next to them that didn't make sense. You may have to get closer to the car for this report than with others.
-ID on the dash: Another trick you might see is an ID card left on the dashboard instead of the placard. This is a violation. Nothing replaces the placard except the proper plates.
How to use the app:
When you bring up the app, you will have a map showing your location and a menu you can tap on. When you tap on "Report Violation" you will see a selection of points you need to fill in.
Violation Type: This is the drop down menu for the violations I listed above.
Below this, you will see 2 or 3 dark windows you can tap on that are labelled for photos of the violation. It is suggested to use your zoom feature where you can so you don't look like you are too close to someone's vehicle. I like to stand back a good ten feet or so if possible and use the zoom to capture the information. I've even stood in another entire lane of parking to catch windshield shots before because people were sitting in the car. They had no idea I took the picture.
Scrolling down, you will next find a tap map for the location of the space they are parked in. You can move the indicator to the best of ability to show where they are parked on the map. If there isn't a indicator of a parking space there, you can add one easily.
Next, is the License plate. You don't have to put in the State, just the number/letter combo.
Finally, there is a comment section. I used this to put in what store I'm in front of or other business as a helpful indicator.
You can do these things in any order you are comfortable with. Most people get the photos and then move away to finish the report. All in all, the whole things takes seconds to complete and you carry on with your day.
A rule of thumb: It is asked that you avoid confrontations. If someone asks you what you are doing. You could say anything, and then just walk away. Some people say they are taking down accessible parking information for mapquest or something like that. Nothing wrong with being clever, just get the info and move on. Confrontations are not only dangerous, but usually don't help the situation. People will say all sorts of things, but don't like being told how it really is.
In my next write up I'll share some of the confrontations I wound up in and how to handle them quickly and safely. I have my past law enforcement experience to fall back on, and I'll share that with you.