People laugh at the idea of someone taking their parking ticket to the Supreme Court, but sadly, sometimes someone might actually need to do that if the parking regulation is so poorly written as to cause harm to innocent and helpless people .
Here is the sad story that so far, no one will help us with: Recently, my care provider, Libby, arrived to pick me up for our Tuesday work-out at the YMCA. As usual, she needed to park across our driveway and then bring me out to her car. We need the flat part of the driveway so that I can roll up in my walker and then transfer into her car from the passenger side. This is the safest way for me to get into the car. As she walked me out that day, we almost did not see the paper which was trapped under the windshield wiper, but after Libby dislodged the paper, we were stunned and upset to find out that it was a parking ticket that we received for parking across our own driveway. Again, I am restating that this is the safest way to get me into a vehicle without having me pitch forward on the steep driveway or stumble over brush and uneven surfaces leading to the raised curb.
My mom looked up the vehicle code, which basically states that it is illegal to park across a driveway, thereby blocking access to legally parked vehicles. But in this case, the driveway is our own, and the vehicle blocked was our own vehicle, and my mom definitely did not mind having Libby’s car there for a few minutes in order to put me into the car without suffering pain and injury. Libby was not actually parking the car. She was not going to leave it there while she went inside and had lunch or something. She was making a simple transfer of a handicapped person to preserve my health and for my welfare. Not one single person was affected by this temporary transfer, but I was helped. It was an entirely beneficial use of the driveway. Yet, suddenly, we had to deal with an expensive, undeserved ticket.
My mom, still believing in basic justice and the humanity of man, wrote a letter ✉️ of explanation to the administrative offices, feeling reasonably assured that an accommodation would be given, once the city officials realized that certainly forbidding us to use our own driveway for a safe transfer was not the original intent of this law. It was not like we were parking across our neighbor’s driveway because there was not enough room for us to park at a party or some such use.
However, to our dismay, the citation was upheld because we did break the letter of the law as it was written, and apparently, no one could use their brain or their sense of reason or compassion to assist us with this matter.
⌛️Undaunted, my mom spent many hours on the phone, explaining the story over and over. ☎️ She called everyone she could think of whose job description might have something to do with helping handicapped people and issues regarding accessibility. She called disabled advocates offices, ADA offices, disabled rights offices, legal aide, the city, the DMV, DMV legal department, an influential attorney, thinking he might have a heart (he didn’t bother to answer the call or email.) Many of these agencies advised my mom to call the other agency whom she had already called who had told her to call that agency, and so on and so forth. No one would listen or care. It seems that this situation is exactly one which falls under the title of “disabled advocates” or “disabled rights”, but amazingly, it also seems that none of these people want to do their jobs. When the ADA law was originally written, someone had to initiate it. Someone wrote provisions for blue parking spaces and handicap placards (which we had properly displayed). Someone decided that if there were no blue spaces available, a handicapped person could park in a green space. Someone made these laws, and I am sure they have been added to and amended from time to time. Yet not one person would give my mom the time of day regarding this issue. And yet any reasonable person could readily see that this law was not written to prevent me from safely getting into a car.
Libby’s Car and My Placard
To add insult to injury, after my mom paid the ticket and requested a hearing, a few days later, Libby received a statement demanding an additional $46+, advising that the payment was late. My mom looked at the original letter which stated that we had 21 days in which to make payment; she paid it two days after receiving the letter. Amazed, she saw that the letter was dated December 20th, yet it was received on January 11th. The letter must have remained in the city offices for most of the days which we were supposed to have to pay the fine.
I am sure that the people who wrote this law intended to prevent individuals from parking across and blocking the driveways of others. I am certain that the writers of this law did not mean that someone could not temporarily use their own driveway, with their own consent, to transfer their own handicapped daughter into a vehicle for the purpose of keeping her safe.
My mom believes that this interpretation of the law subverts the true intention of the law in that the letter of this law actually blocks my care providers from keeping me safe and helping to preserve the quality of my life. Otherwise, I would be stuck indoors most of the time.
Some time in history, laws regarding accessibility were created. People had to take the initiative to provide accommodations for disabled people. At some time, someone cared. After the laws were made, agencies were created to monitor the follow-through of these laws and accommodations. When CVC 22500 (e) was written and invoked, this type of situation was obviously not yet considered, and an amendment or accommodation is in order. The California law does in fact make a provision as follows: “. . .except that a bus engaged as a common carrier, school bus, or a taxicab may stop to load or unload passengers. . .” https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes If such an accommodation can be made for taxi cabs, why not add a provision for loading and unloading handicapped people for their safety? It was accidentally omitted! Both the municipal and state laws require accommodations.
Yet, it seems that no one will put down their coffee cup long enough to initiate a process and ensure the spirit of this law. The State of California and the City of San Diego insist on enforcing the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law, and that’s not fair!
One last thought. My mom wrote our local councilman about this situation, and was pleased that an assistant took the time to write back, but it ended with no solution and no follow-up. A couple of days ago, my mom went on-line to look up the exact wording of the law again, and to her further surprise, it appeared that a sentence fragment had been added by the City of San Diego under the bulleted list of areas of prohibited parking: “. . .in front of a public or private driveway (even your own driveway.) Did the city immediately add those last words to avoid confusion after my mom contacted those offices with this issue? It’s hard to tell, but it seems like covering themselves and avoiding extra work is what they do. https://www.sandiego.gov/parking/enforcement
Yesterday, Libby came to pick me up for work-out again—this time to go to The Challenge Center. She is now so afraid of getting a ticket that she backed into the driveway to put me into the car that way. We were both uncomfortable and shaking as she attempted to put me into the car from that steep angle. It was not safe. Also, the entire street was full of cars in front of our house, as well as our neighbors. Curb parking is not entirely safe anyway, even if it was available. Isn’t that great?
The Safest Way, Using the End of the Driveway
Me, Safely in the Car Now
Dear Readers, please add your comments with your opinions and advice regarding this issue. If anyone knows who the proper channel would be to solve this problem, please let us know. As we look at the long lists of assembly members and senate committee members, we are exhausted and do not know where to begin as this is just one thing that affects our lives in the handicapped world. As my mom says, “Everything is the Great Wall of China” or another Mt. Everest to scale, each and every day before we begin to do the things we need to do each day. If anyone knows a way to help with this issue, please advise.
THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!