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EDMONTON—A new automated parking enforcement system that is supposed to free up Edmonton bylaw officers will cost drivers with disabilities. When the city starts using automated parking enforcement — replacing beat officers issuing written tickets with a camera system mounted to the top of city cars that will automatically mail out tickets to offenders — in EPark zones on city streets and parkades on July 15, courtesy parking for drivers who have an accessible parking placard on their car will come to an end. EPark machines are available in downtown Edmonton. (Claire Theobald / StarMetro Edmonton) EPark machines are available in downtown Edmonton. (Claire Theobald / StarMetro Edmonton) A parking enforcement officer takes notes as he patrols a loading zone in downtown Edmonton on Tuesday. (Claire Theobald / StarMetro Edmonton) A street sign indicates a designated parking spot for people with disabilities in downtown Edmonton on Tuesday. (Claire Theobald / StarMetro Edmonton) Previously, people with an accessible parking placard could park in paid city street parking spots for up to two hours for free. A letter sent to placard holders on June 13 from deputy city manager Gord Cebryk said the city was unable to offer courtesy parking for placard holders in EPark areas that will be monitored using automatic enforcement because the system — which scans licence plates and compares the information with registered paid parkers — can’t read the placards. Zachary Weeks, chair of Edmonton’s Accessibility Advisory Committee, said members came out against eliminating courtesy parking twice in meetings with city officials. He said he was disappointed a solution hadn’t been found in the two years they were in talks. “Throughout the whole process, we remained open and available to meeting with them to collaborate and find a viable solution to hopefully not impact citizens with disabilities,” Weeks said. One proposed solution, he said, was to have a special sticker or sign on the back of the vehicle or on the licence plate, just like a vehicle registration sticker, that could be picked up by the automated enforcement cameras. Weeks said city officials advised them it wouldn’t be possible. The committee was concerned about how the added expense would affect low-income people with disabilities, he said.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit https://www.thestar.com/edmonton/2018/06/19/courtesy-parking-for-disabled-drivers-ends-as-automated-enforcement-hits-edmonton-streets.html