A few weeks ago, a constituent informed my office of a problem that she was having with the Ramsey County Violations Bureau. She is a handicapped individual who was tagged for parking at an expired meter. As you are aware, individuals with handicapped plates/permits can park at any meter without paying the parking fee.
Though her getting a tag was not the responsibility of the Violations Bureau, she was very much concerned that there was no way to dismiss the tag without her appearing in person at the Violations Bureau and showing her handicapped parking permit. She felt, and I agreed, that there must be a better way of resolving these tags than to require someone who has a mobility impairment to transport themselves downtown to prove that they have a mobility impairment.
She suggested that the permit that she is given from the State has a number assigned to it and that the permit is also only assigned to the one vehicle she uses. This being the case, there must be some way that the office can cross-reference with the State to determine that a vehicle with a permit to park at meters was inadvertently tagged. I asked the Violations Bureau to look into this potential solution to see if we could reduce the difficulties in the future.
I received my response a week later; in checking with the State, it was determined that the Violations Bureau would be able to cross-reference with the State any time that someone with a mobility impairment is accidentally given a tag at a parking meter. Those individuals will no longer have to appear in person but should be able to straighten out the situation over the phone.
I was pleased to see Ramsey County take this step forward on accessibility and hope other counties follow their lead.
Dave Thune is City Council Member for Ward 2 in St. Paul, MN