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Denver auditor says disabled parking is inadequate, lacks enforcement

Disability advocate calls it systematic failure
Posted: 10:57 PM, Aug 22, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-23 01:14:23-04

DENVER -- The Denver City Auditor is calling out the city's disabled parking system in a scathing new audit.

In the 39-page report, Auditor Tim O'Brien said there aren't enough accessible parking spots.

"There are many times when I consider going to a place and just think about the parking and just decide not to go at all," said Denver disability advocate Chris Hinds. Hinds was paralyzed and bound to a wheelchair after getting in a car crash.

O'Brien's audit found 65 percent of the 20 parking lots the city reviewed didn't have sufficient disabled parking.

His office also found a lack of enforcement when it comes to people illegally parking in these spots, because most of the tickets are written by volunteers.

"More than 17 percent of Colorado adults are living with a disability. There are laws on the books requiring accessible parking, but spotty enforcement means that the laws can be ignored in many locations," O'Brien said in a news release. "Frankly, I think the City's disjointed approach has fostered public insensitivity in this area."

"It happens all the time, and people have gotten bolder in my opinion," said Hinds. "I'm just trying to get equal access."

He took Denver7 to a parking lot off 19th Avenue and Logan Street to see the problem firsthand.

"It looks like here used to be a disabled parking space," he said, pointing to a small amount of blue paint, and a spot where a disabled parking sign likely once stood.

"Seems to me that there is a systemic failure here," said Hinds.

O'Brien's audit also found that some businesses are getting away with painting over disabled parking spots because no one checks up on them, and there is no inventory kept by the city.

"My hope is they actually do it, they go through with the audit," said Hinds. "I see this as an opportunity for Denver to get back into compliance."

Denver7 reached out to Republic Parking System, the company that owns the parking lot off 19th and Logan St. A spokesperson told the station they recently got the lot back and plan to install new disabled parking spots soon.

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