NJ Lawmaker: Fine Snow Plow Operators Who Block Disabled Parking Spots

CBS New York 

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — When the next storm hits, be careful where you dump that snow — one New Jersey official is pushing for new legislation that would fine snow plow operators if they pile snow in spaces set aside for people with disabilities.

The ‘Snow Removal Bill,’ introduced by Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle, will impose a fine for snow plow operators who deposit snow on designated access ramps, curb cuts, special parking spaces, or other areas designed to provide access to people with disabilities, CBS2’s Elise Finch reported.

“If areas are clearly marked accessible, these should be cleared out right away,” Huttle said. “It not only safeguards people with disabilities, it’s obviously a safe thing to do and it’s the neighborly thing to do.”

The first offense would result in a $250 fine, with each subsequent offense costing $500.
The bill was approved by the Assembly Human Services Committee earlier this week.

“A lot of people I spoke with say they can’t get out of their doors to go places,” Christopher Gagliardi, of Englewood Access advisory committee, said.

Paula Walsh, who has been using a wheelchair to get around for nearly 50 years, said her wheelchair is ineffective against snow-covered sidewalks and ramps.

“I think they assume that people in wheelchairs don’t go out in bad weather,” Walsh, of River Edge, said.

Snow plow operator Chris Kraykowski believes that the proposed bill is good in theory, but the reality of snow removal will make compliancedifficult.

“In some snow storms, especially like the one we just had, it is extremely difficult to do,” Kraykowski said. “It’s hard for us to really see all the markings especially when the snow starts piling up.”

Improved marking are currently being discussed by New Jersey lawmakers as the bill is considered.

If approved, the bill could take effect as early as this spring.