It all started when the State of New Jersey closed down a parking lot Downtown for some type of work or transformation a few month's ago that apparently had a negative impact on parking for disabled State workers, (although some say it has always been an underlying State worker negative-side-effect directly in the vicinity of all State buildings.)
Since the construction disabled State workers have been coming into the City early, finding a parking space with a meter that requires payment and taking the space hostage through the only hours we can issue tickets for people who let their meter expire or for those people who are not disabled and don't pay.
Chief Trenton prosecutor Nakia White said that "it is perfectly legal for a person with a "disabled placard" to park at a metered parking space, for free, for 24-hours."
North-Ward Councilwoman Marge Caldwell-Wilson has taken on the challenge that has negatively impacted the profit-generating or I should say non-profit-generating mess that is taking place in her Ward.
In fact she is on the Parking Authority board which meets this June 28th at 5:30pm on the second floor of City Hall in City Council chambers.
At this past Thursday nights council meeting I told Ms. Caldwell-Wilson about my research; I looked up the coin meter map on the city website, walked the route Downtown and found that 80% of all meters were taken by a vehicle with a "handicap" or "permanent handicap" placard hanging from their rear-view mirror and all of the vehicles were parked in front of expired meters.... of course.
Also only 25% of the 80% had disabled license plates to go along with their rear-view placard.
She relayed that since we only have four parking enforcement officers left, the TPD is now responsible for parking-violation-ticketing in the Downtown area although the handicapped cannot be ticketed.
We then held a brief discussion as to whether or not the placards are real and if anyone ever checks to ensure that they are and that the disabled person using it is the disabled person it was issued to.
Caldwell-Wilson stated that as a member of City Council and a member of the Parking Authority board, she is diligently trying to find a solution to the money losing parking meter situation and hopes the State of New Jersey takes responsibility for the fiasco and helps her work towards a solution that is in the best interest of all.
After reading this post, someone I consider to be a great mentor, Jim Carlucci also pointed out that this parking situation also adversely impacts eateries and other businesses and entities Downtown as people come into the City to patronize these businesses but can't find parking and just go somewhere else out of frustration. I overlooked that point when I began writing on this subject. Thanks Jim and good point.
So what is the State going to do about this?
The State needs to address the inadequate parking it has available for their disabled employees, otherwise the city should track every disabled placard number, figure out how many of them belong to State workers, tally up a bill and send it to the Governors office for Payment in Lieu of Parking.
Trenton needs every cent it can get and the States workers disabled or not, are holding --- a valuable and viable source of income for the City of Trenton and our businesses --hostage.
For the record, in case this is the first time you have ever heard of me or read this blog, I am a disabled person, so I am NOT "disabled bashing" I am trying to help my city in any way that I can.
We need the money!!
A photo sample of the parking-meter hostage-situation is below.