Do you park in spaces reserved for people with disabilities? Using handicapped parking spaces means more than an inconvenience to someone who needs it. People with disabilities drive around parking lots and often become discouraged and leave because they cannot find a parking space.

The Phoenix Mayor's Commission on Disability Issues (MCDI) and city of Phoenix Equal Opportunity Department created the "Save our Space" campaign to remind the public about the importance of saving accessible parking spaces for people who really need them. Partnering with the Phoenix Police Department, the campaign calls for a strong community commitment to follow the existing parking ordinances.

Several years ago, the city passed an ordinance raising the fines for illegal use of designated disabled parking spaces from $140 to a minimum fine of $289 to as high as $480. The ordinance also makes it illegal for parked vehicles to block accessible curb cuts and ramps and to park in the yellow striped access aisle adjacent to accessible parking spaces, even on private property.

The police department has recruited, trained and equipped a corps of ACE (Accessibility Compliance Enforcement) volunteers to issue citations for accessible parking violations. The department also has set up a hotline number, 602-534-SPACE (7722), for the public to report violations.

For more information about the Save our Space campaign, visit phoenix.gov/mcdi/dispark.html or to become an ACE volunteer by calling 602-534-SPACE.

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