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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: September 8, 2017 10:50 AM
From: Senator John C. Rafferty, Jr. and Sen. Scott Martin
To: All Senate members
Subject: Modernizing Pennsylvania's Disabled Parking Laws
In the near future, we intend to introduce legislation that will improve access to disabled parking spaces of this Commonwealth with a focus on prohibiting the obstruction of access aisles and strengthening enforcement measures.

According to the Commonwealth’s parking lot construction standards, approximately 4 percent of a parking lot is allocated for disabled parking spaces with even less space available for an access aisle. Given the limited availability of disabled parking spaces, individuals who legally hold a disabled parking placard or plate need these spaces to be protected and properly enforced.

Too often, when a disabled person attempts to park their vehicle in a space reserved for those with disabilities, they are unable to realize the appropriate accommodations because an object or another vehicle is partially or completely blocking the access aisle. An access aisle is an area generally marked with diagonal lines adjoining a parking space reserved for persons with disabilities, in compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This space is necessary for disabled persons to safely enter and exit a vehicle with equipment such as a ramp or a wheelchair lift. Title 75 prohibits unauthorized use of parking spaces designated for disabled persons, but is silent on the blocking or improper use of access aisles.

Additionally, law enforcement has asked for clarity in their ability to issue disabled parking violations. Our legislation will streamline the roles and responsibilities of law enforcement and parking lot owners or lessees. We will also enable the option for state or local public agencies to create a parking enforcement specialist to assist with enforcing the disabled parking laws. Further, the legislation will allow a witness to report a violation to a police officer or a parking enforcement specialist. Violators will be subject to towing, charged with a summary offense and susceptible to increased fines.

Other states including California, Florida, Texas and Washington have addressed these issues and we believe it is time for Pennsylvania to follow suit.

Please join us in support of this long-overdue legislation to provide the needed protection and enforcement measures to modernize our disabled parking laws.

If you have any questions, please contact Nolan Ritchie, Senator Rafferty’s Office, at nritchie@pasen.gov or Cindy Lonergan, Senator Martin’s Office, at clonergan@pasen.gov.

Introduced as SB888