The City of Brampton has launched an awareness campaign themed “Respect the Space,” urging drivers to be mindful and respectful of accessible parking spaces. Coinciding with National Access Awareness Week, May 28 – June 2, the campaign aims to emphasize that accessible parking is not a privilege, but a necessity for those with disabilities to move around the city with ease.
Pat Fortini, City Councillor for Wards 7 and 8, is the Council representative on the City of Brampton’s Accessibility Advisory Committee. He is reminding Bramptonians that accessible parking spaces are used by people with varying forms of disabilities, both visible and invisible. Examples of visible disabilities include when a person uses an assisted device such as a wheelchair or walker, and an invisible disability could exist if an individual has sensory or cognitive impairments and health conditions that limit their ability to walk. They are all eligible to use accessible parking spaces.
“When residents and visitors are more mindful about accessible parking spaces, we can make Brampton a more inclusive city.” Says Pat Fortini. “We can help raise awareness of this important cause and respect for people of all abilities, their independence and dignity.”
One in seven people in Ontario has some form of disability. As our population ages, it is expected that in the next twenty years this number will rise to one in five people.
In the last three years, 3,400 parking tickets were issued for accessible parking violations. Non-permit holders are advised to avoid parking in an accessible spot even if it’s just for a “few minutes” or when running a “quick errand”, and should avoid parking on the access aisles adjacent to accessible parking spots to allow those with disabilities to get in and out of vehicles with ease.
Permit holders who are eligible to park in an accessible spot are required to display their permit visibly on the dashboard or front windshield. When the permit holder is a passenger, an accessible parking space may only be used when the permit holder is travelling in the vehicle.
During the next few months, this message will be spread through visual reminders at select accessible parking spots, video messages from community members, social media, and other channels, as well as an enforcement blitz.