Many residents were appalled by the garbage that was in front of handicapped parking spaces in Westchester by the senior center. The garbage and van didn’t allow access for voting in June, and still doesn’t allow access for meetings.
“I am writing to you in shear frustration on behalf of my handicapped mother-in-law and other handicapped patrons of Westchester Senior Center and Westchester Library located in CD 11 on the busy Manchester and Lincoln Boulevards and in support of the woman and children who wish to use this parking lot for the library or to use the parking lot for children’s sports,” a resident wrote.
“Am I wrong to believe that clear safe access to public spaces is a right to all, and not just for the homeless?”
CTN reached out to Ashley Rodriguez, who is the public information officer for L.A. City’s Department of Disability and asked about obstructions, such as garbage and tents in front of handicapped parking.
“It is illegal to park in an accessible space if one does not have a valid Disabled Persons Parking Placard,” Rodriguez said. “Vehicles blocking an accessible parking space should be reported to LA Department of Transportation (LADOT) Parking Enforcement who can issue a citation to the vehicle.”
She said that “people can report encampments causing access problems to Los Angeles Housing Services Authority online at: https://www.lahsa.org/portal/apps/la-hop/request.”
(The Westside Current and CTN would like to do a follow up story. If residents have reported access problems to LAHSA, please send an email so we can follow the action taken and report back to the Department of Disability.)
If a handicapped individual cannot access a sidewalk, because of broken cement or other issue, visit https://safesidewalks.lacity.org/ to request a repair.
Rodriguez was asked about the vehicles with handicapped placards that seem to be permanently in the same space on the street.
“A Disabled Person Placard allows a vehicle to park at a meter and exceed the time limit associated with the meter parking,” Rodriguez said. “However, a vehicle is considered ‘Abandoned’ by LADOT if it exceeds 72 hours in the same parking space without moving after it was observed and recorded by a Traffic Officer.”
She said that an “Abandoned” vehicle can be cited and impounded by LADOT. But, if a person is living in the vehicle, a Traffic Officer has no authority to enforce anything other than the parking violation.
“LADOT Parking Enforcement has a team for addressing Parking Placard misuse and in the past, they would coordinate enforcement operations with California DMV enforcement teams from local offices,” she said.
Disabled Person Parking Placards from other states are honored, however, if they have an expiration date, that vehicle may receive a citation.
In Westchester Park, one resident wanted to know “If a person has a valid handicapped placard from the state of California, may that person basically dwell in his vehicle in a handicapped spot?” She added that “He takes up about five handicapped spots and his trash sprawls on either side.”
The resident was told that complaint was currently being investigated, so the department could not comment.
CTN asked about the Pacific Palisades Recreation Center bathroom, which are not handicapped accessible and was told that since they were “grandfathered” with the building, they didn’t need to be redone.
Rodriquez replied, “the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not have a grandfather clause because it is a civil rights law. However, the California Building Code does have a grandfather clause. If there is a bathroom with accessible stalls nearby (at the same park), there should be signage in place directing people from the inaccessible bathroom to the accessible one.”
There may be handicapped bathrooms in the large gym, but it had been closed for several years during Covid.
CTN also asked about the playground at the Palisades Rec Center, which is not handicapped accessible. “Does the City not have to upgrade those areas for the handicapped?”
Rodriguez said that “The Department on Disability has been working with the Department of Recreation and Parks to review their facilities and identify any barriers that result in limitation to accessibility for people with disabilities through the City’s Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan. Once the plan is complete, the Department on Disability will provide Recreation and Parks with an execution strategy to remove barriers,” and recommend a site visit with ADA Compliance Officer Geoffrey Straniere.
There is an online form where one can submit an Americans with Disabilities Act – disability.lacity.org (and click on forms).
CTN filled out a complaint about the lack of handicapped restrooms at the Rec Center on August 26, and will keep readers posted.