HARRISBURG – The Senate Transportation Committee today unanimously approved legislation aimed at improving accessibility of parking spaces for persons with disabilities, according to Committee Chairman, Senator John C. Rafferty, Jr. (R-44), who sponsored the measure along with Senator Scott Martin (R-13).
The number of parking spaces that are designated for persons with disabilities is limited. In order to accommodate vehicles equipped with ramps, wheelchair lifts and other devices, these spaces include access aisles, generally marked with diagonal lines adjoining the space. These parking spaces and access aisles are necessary to improve mobility for persons with disabilities to access medical appointments, shopping centers and other locations.
Senate Bill 888 aims to address deficiencies in current law pertaining to penalties and enforcement of parking spaces for persons with disabilities, including provisions for enforcing access aisles. Under this legislation, violators who illegally park in parking spaces or block access aisles designated for persons with disabilities will be subject to towing, charged with a summary offense and susceptible to increased fines.
“Our legislation should provide the needed clarity for law enforcement, public agencies and businesses to enforce, protect and maintain these critical parking spaces and access aisles,” said Rafferty. “Modernizing the Commonwealth’s disabled parking laws should ensure our interconnected transportation network is accessible for persons with disabilities.”
Under the proposed legislation, violators who block access aisles could be charged with a summary offense and could face increased penalties and/or having their vehicle towed.
“Parking spots are reserved for persons with disabilities for good reason. Without those spots and access aisles, many of them wouldn’t have an opportunity to get the basic necessities of life, including groceries and medical care,” Martin said. “Keeping these spaces clear is the key to ensuring many persons with disabilities retain as much mobility and independence as possible.”
Senate Bill 888 now goes to the Senate for full approval.
Nolan Ritchie, Senator Rafferty’s Office, (717) 787-1398
Terry Trego, Senator Martin’s Office, (717) 787-6535