A disabled parking spot outside Mawson Domino’s pizza is the latest spark in an ongoing debate about roads and parking problems in Canberra following a retired couple being slugged $615 after missing the sign.
Mawson retirees, Don and his wife, Perry, are angry their calls for the ACT Government to fix up the sign and make it clearer have fallen on deaf ears after they brought it to the attention of Access Canberra and two government ministers.
Admitting the couple is “not as sharp as we once were”, Don points out the signage is “far from helpful” due to its neglected state, not being featured in a prominent position, and not being consistent with other sites reserved for drivers with a disability.
“Because of the paucity of signage, many of your constituents (particularly those coping with age-related decline) are exposed to the same horrible, innocent error my wife made last November,” Don wrote in an email to ACT Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel.
“Meanwhile, we also believe some drivers with disability permits pass this site, unaware it is reserved for them.”
In response, Mr Steel said a Transport Canberra and City Services officer had reviewed the site and confirmed the signs and line markings are up to the standards in place when they were installed.
The parking spot in Mawson does not have the blue and white disabled signage as some other spots across Canberra do.
Mr Steel said it would be unrealistic to update all of Canberra’s 85,000 signs every time new standards come into place, and that the ACT Government only updates signs when they are damaged or need to be replaced.
The officer decided the spot was clearly marked with signs on the building and the disabled symbol on the road, wrote Mr Steel.
But Don, who has been living in the area for half a decade, tells Region Media he had never noticed the spot was reserved for disabled drivers despite frequenting the area.
The $615 fine cannot be revoked, despite Perry’s good driving record, because it is classified as a serious offence.
Don agrees it should be classified as a serious offence, but that Access Canberra needs to reflect this in its signage.
“Frankly, I think the fine is unfair because the signage is inadequate,” says Don. “Someone is asleep at the wheel. They have ignored this site and they are just not prepared to do anything about it.
“It is a reprehensible offence, and I cannot have any sympathy for people who use spots reserved for the disabled.
“But being a serious offence, it is a two-edged sword. It requires the parking people to ensure they take the signage seriously.”