CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Accessible parking spaces are there for a reason.
The City of Charlottetown and its civic board for people with disabilities are reminding the public of the importance of ensuring the spaces are left open for those who are legally entitled to use them.
The designated parking permit program serves about 6,700 Islanders with mobility impairment and provides easier access to buildings such as stores and offices.
The program is managed by the P.E.I. Council of People with Disabilities. Parking permits are provided to those unable to walk more than 75 metres without serious difficulty or danger to their safety or health. The permits and designated spaces are a necessity for people with disabilities and are not a privilege, says a news release from the city.
Parking is not permitted in a space designated as accessible parking unless the vehicle has a valid emblem or permit approved by the Highway Safety Division and the Council of People with Disabilities that clearly identifies the vehicle is owned, operated by or used for the transportation of a person with disabilities. Violation of the law will result in a fine.
An international agreement means that emblems or permits from other provinces, states and countries are also valid in P.E.I.
Anyone parking next to an accessible parking space should also try to leave as much space as possible between the accessible spot and their vehicle to allow for the safe exit of the person using the accessible space. There should be enough room provided for wheelchair ramp mechanisms to lower and open either from the side of the vehicle or rear of the vehicle. When possible, motorists are reminded to consider not using the parking space next to an accessible parking spot as a courteous gesture and to make it easier for the person to safely exit their vehicle. The public is also asked to be cognizant of wheelchair access ramps and not to block access to them.
The city said the public’s co-operation is appreciated in removing barriers for people with disabilities and respecting the designated parking spaces and those entitled to use them.