The city of Austin, Texas is taking a new approach to the never-ending problem of people with disabilities being cheated out of parking spots designated for their use.
Under a resolution introduced in the Austin City Council on Thursday, community members will be able to take photos of cars illegally parked in handicap parking spots using a smartphone app called Parking Mobility. The photos will then be submitted to city officials so they can ticket the offending vehicles.
“I think it’s important that we make every effort that we can to maintain fairness and protect civil rights,” said Mayor Lee Leffingwell, who supports the measure, in an article in the Austin American-Statesman.
In the past year, the city has handed out 1,200 tickets for illegally parking in handicap parking spots. The tickets contain a minimum fine of $500.
“The only way we’re going to be able to address the problem is if we enlist help from ordinary citizens,” councilmember Chris Riley said. “A citizen (can) bring the problem to the city’s attention, and the city then deals with it.”
Similar programs already exist in cities such as Dallas, Denver and Tulsa.