Hinton takes parking mission to council

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 1999

FERRIDAY, La. – Gary Hinton faced the Ferriday Town Council Tuesday evening with a mission: get non-handicapped people out of handicapped parking spaces.

He succeeded in having the fine in Ferriday for parking illegally in a handicapped space increased from $25 to $75.

Hinton, who is wheelchair-bound, told the Ferriday Town Council that he has had constant problems finding a parking space in the town of Ferriday for the most mundane of errands: to the grocery, pharmacy or elsewhere.

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&uot;I’ve asked one person twice – a teenager healthy as a horse – to move from a handicapped spot,&uot; he said.

Hinton said he has also gone so far as to block people into handicapped spaces when they parked illegally.

Handicapped parking is specially designated for people who need additional space and a closer proximity to building entrances because of physical limitations.

Hinton said he requires six feet of space from the door of his van to open his door, lower his chair lift and roll his wheelchair off the lift.

When people park illegally in handicapped spaces, Hinton’s access to everyday businesses becomes limited.

Ferriday Police Chief Eddie Newman said the fine for parking illegally in a handicapped space was $25 plus court costs. Legal fees usually run around $75, said board attorney John Sturgeon.

&uot;I would suggest a steep fine,&uot; Hinton said. &uot;A $60, $80 or $90 ticket would make them think twice before doing it again.&uot;

The Ferriday Town Council amended their current town ordinance to raise the fine for parking illegally in a handicapped space from $25 to $75, plus court costs. The new fine could bring a total tab of $150 to anyone thinking they would save some time darting into a handicapped space.

&uot;I think the higher fine will make an impact on the number of people who park illegally in the handicapped parking spaces,&uot; Hinton said. &uot;Of course, there will be no impact unless law enforcement enforces it.&uot;