LETTER: Disabled Parking Spaces Being Abused in Watertown



The rampant and ongoing abuse of disabled parking spaces around Watertown and particularly by visitors to our schools is not just illegal (it can come with a hefty fine), but also shows no compassion or empathy for those of us who really need these spaces.

I am the parent of a seventh grader and fifth grader at Watertown Public Schools, and also a wheelchair user. When I arrived at WMS on Tuesday for my son’s parent-teacher conference there was a car parked illegally in one of the disabled spaces. It did not have a disabled parking permit, and was also parked at such an angle that it encroached by several feet onto the hatched area that separates the two disabled spaces. This area provides essential space for a wheelchair user to get in/out of their vehicle or use a ramp. The only available parking space was a regular space. These spaces are much narrower and do not allow me to open the door fully, bring a wheelchair alongside the car, or extend a wheelchair ramp. As a result my husband had to stop in the driving lane, help me out of the car and then pull into the space.

When we came out of our conference, a different vehicle was illegally parked in the same space, and again my husband had to back out of the space, stop in the driving lane and then help me into the car. Had I been attending a meeting at the school by myself, I would have been unable to get in/out of my car, and as a result I would have been unable to access the building and carry out my everyday responsibilities as a parent.

This is not the first time I have seen these abuses at our schools and around Watertown in other public and private parking lots. For instance, I have been prevented on multiple occasions from bringing my sons to the Dealtry Pool due to there being no parking available, whilst cars without disabled placards are parked in the marked spaces. These spaces are reserved for people with disabilities for a reason, not just for convenience. Please respect your fellow citizens right to equal access to all of our town’s amenities.

Naomi Ridge

10 thoughts on “LETTER: Disabled Parking Spaces Being Abused in Watertown

  1. I have noticed this all the time at Hosmer school too. Just last night a parent picking up their kid almost hit me as I was walking on the sidewalk with my dog only to speed into the disabled spot and jump out. Every single day I see parents parking in the spots there not caring about people that actually could need it.

    • I see it all the time at the Hosmer School I mentioned to them they can get a hefty fine and they answer that they are only picking up their child from the after school program
      and won’t be long

      • I live around the Hosmer school and have multiple times had parents block my driveway either on the street or IN my driveway. I’ve even been trying to leave my house and had to wait because I’ve been blocked in.

        • Yes! I also live near the Hosmer School and have been blocked in to my driveway at least several times a week with no way out because of parents parking there. It is infuriating, and getting worse by the day.

        • Yep, this is a common thing; rude, inconsiderate, ignorant, lazy parents that place their welfare above all others. My favorite ones are those that get temperamental and flustered when you ask them to not block or park in your driveway. When I addressed this issue with one of the police reps at a community meeting a couple of years ago, he advised me to call and they’d send someone down to deal with the offenders. Only problem with that is if it takes 5-10-15 minutes to respond, the scofflaw is long gone.

          Perhaps what needs to be done with both the handicapped parking and
          blocking driveways situation is for school principals to use the schools mass email system to alert parents to the problems and followed up by having the towns traffic enforcement officers conduct routine patrols of the affected areas. Maybe after a few tickets and tows they’ll get the message.

  2. Not only do non handicap people parking in parking spaces labeled for handicap some of the spaces at not placed where a wheel chair can be used when the person is alone. Example: the handicap space on Elton Ave it is on a down slop. So the person in a wheelchair who is alone would have to wheel themself up the incline to get to the stores. Which is a hard thing to do alone. Even if the handicap person is using a walker, cane, or crutches. It is difficult to walk on an incline.
    These things should be taken under consideration when redesigning our squares.

  3. It has been a problem at the Hosmer all year. A friend of mine also a parent at the Hosmer who has a placard has not been able to use a space several times because there are cars parked illegally in these spots. One time by a town employee driving a town SUV, when approached was very dismissive. This issue has been brought up to the principal as well as calls into the police department and yet it dtill continues to be a problem.

  4. It has been a rapid problem at the schools including the high school for years. I have a HP parking spot and there are always people parked in it, not just standing but parked in the spots for a long time. No one enforces. No tickets.

  5. Never realized that this is a serious problem in Watertown
    but I do know that if it does happen then either Parking Enforcement
    or the police should be called immediately and the appropriate action taken.

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