Last Updated on August 20, 2021 by Lawrence Berezin
A Non-resident member of the NYC driving public with disabilities received a parking ticket because she didn’t have an NYC handicap parking placard
“Katharine Lai had a New Jersey State disability parking permit and, upon coming to the City for various errands, parked in a no-parking zone near City Hall. As a result, she received two summonses on December 16, 1996, for parking at an expired meter. If she had possessed a Special Vehicle Permit, her car would not have been ticketed. Her permit, however, did allow her to park nearby at a City-run parking lot with designated handicap parking spaces.”
“Lai sued the City of New York, arguing that its policy for allocating handicap parking spaces in the City violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-12213, and various constitutional guarantees. The district court rejected her ADA and constitutional claims (brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983) and granted the City’s motion for summary judgment on January 15, 1998. See Lai v. New York City Government, 991 F.Supp. 362 (S.D.N.Y.1998).”
Lai appeals to the United States Circuit Court
The Circuit Court affirmed the decision of the lower court. Here are some of the reasons why:
- The City’s policy discriminates on the basis of residency and not disability; and, therefore, does not violate the ADA
- The limited number of on-street parking spaces justifies the regulatory scheme established by the City; and, therefore, passes the rationality test of the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution
- The City’s decision to give special parking privileges to those with the most pressing needs–severely handicapped City residents and nonresident who work or study in the City–is reasonable and that the two-tiered parking system substantially relates to the City’s policy goals. See Barnard v. Thorsten, 489 U.S. 546, 552, 109 S.Ct. 1294, 103 L.Ed.2d 559 (1989).
I disagree. If you are a person with a severe disability and live outside of NYC, your disability is no less severe and restricting than someone who resides, works or attends an NYC school on a full-time basis. As a matter of fact, a visitor to NYC is dangerously less familiar with the arcane NYC parking laws and is more likely to be ambushed by a warrior’s scanner.
- A resident of any State, which State has equal or more stringent requirements as NYC for the issuance of a Special Vehicle Identification Permit (“SVIP”); and which State reciprocates by providing the same parking privileges to NYC residents with disabilities as provided to State residents, shall be entitled to the same handicap parking privileges as a NYC resident with an SVIP
Here’s a link to a blog post about NYC parking rules for persons with disabilities
Please share your thoughts and opinions on this very important issue. Is the NYC handicap parking policy fair or foul?
Martin Weiss says
My brothers handicap placard does not contain his correct license plate number and he has requested a new one. However, it has not arrived and he has receive a ticket. I understand there is a special unit to mail an explanation to. To whom does he mail it to get the ticket rescinded?
Larry Berezin says
The “special unit” you’re referring to is the Parking Violation Bureau Hearing by Mail Unit. You’ll find the address to mail your brother’s defense to on the back of the ticket. It’s PO Box 29021, Brooklyn, NY 11202-9021. Please be sure to send it by certified mail, return receipt requested in order to prove timely receipt.
I don’t want your brother to be ambushed by a process that is anything by benign. In NYC parking ticket land, you don’t “mail an explanation,” you fight a parking ticket because you have a substantive or technical defense. For example, if you get a parking ticket for standing in a bus stop zone, your defense may be that you stopped temporarily to expeditiously drop off or pick a passenger. Or, you may have a technical defense to the parking ticket, such as, the body type was entered incorrectly.
If you present the proper proof, the judge will dismiss the parking ticket, not “rescind” it.
In your brother’s case, he must raise a substantive or technical defense, and present sufficient proof to persuade a judge to dismiss the parking ticket. The Evil Empire is not looking for your explanation, they’re looking to keep you money. What defense is your brother going to raise to justify his parking with an improper handicap placard? The Evil Empire doesn’t invite your brother to park with a “bad” placard while he’s waiting for a new one.
A parking ticket hearing is not conducted under the Marquess of Queensberry rules, its a contact sport with your money as the prize.
Let us know the outcome.