Orange needs more disabled parking spots

ORANGE City Council has issued close to one $496 fine per week over the past year to drivers who illegally used disabled parking spaces.

But mobility permit holder Marlene Hanrahan believes the fines aren't enough to deter drivers from using the spaces.

"I've come up to people [parked in disabled spaces] who aren't disabled and I've challenged them and they're quite brazen," she said.

Mrs Hanrahan rarely uses her own disabled parking sticker, but also holds one for her disabled son Chris who she cares for full-time.

She said finding one of the city's 43 disabled parking spaces vacant is near impossible.

A recent trip to Adelaide where there were often rows of disabled parking spaces highlighted the shortage of spaces in Orange.

"Years ago I applied to council to put one in up near [Anson Street's] Apple City Medical Practice and we got one put in but we need more than one," she said.

"You do have to avoid different places because of it and it is very difficult."

Mrs Hanrahan said the worst places in Orange to find a disabled parking space were the Anson Street car park near Woolworths and Lords Place.

She said more were also needed near the city's medical centres and pharmacies.

Access Committee chair Cr Glenn Taylor agreed saying the city's 43 spaces could be doubled to cater for Orange's 1584 disability permit holders and the 625 from Cabonne.

He believes the demand will increase as the population ages.

"I've always advocated for more spots it's a very important issue particularly for older people," he said.

"They're the ones I feel sorry for because they physically can't walk the long distances."

Cr Taylor said he did not agree with Cr Russell Turner's suggestion to decrease the time limits for disabled parking to free up the spaces and said the state government rules were out of the council's hands.

From January 1 2012, council's parking officers' slapped 57 drivers with a hefty fine for illegally using one of Orange's 43 disabled parking spaces.

Council spokesman Nick Redmond said cracking down on drivers who abuse the system was always high on the officers' list of priorities.

Since January 2007, the council has handed out 315 tickets.

But both Cr Taylor and Mrs Hanrahan would like to see patrols increased.

"They can't be at all places all the time... I'm a big supporter of very large fines," Cr Taylor said.

"We have a zero tolerance policy. I don't know much else we can do."

clare.colley@fairfaxmedia.com.au

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop