Tulsa City Council Votes To Triple Handicapped-Parking Fines
TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa city councilors on Thursday decided to triple the fine for those who illegally park in marked handicapped spaces.
Before the city council meeting, the fine for parking in a handicapped spot without a permit was $150.
It passed because some city councilors said that's not enough.
People who advocate for those with disabilities say they see people taking advantage of the marked spots more often.
"If that will scare them, not to do that, then maybe that's what they should do," Vincent Jones said.
Jones recently had his second hip surgery and says seeing a car without proper tags in a "blue zone" is frustrating.
"'I'm one of the ones that really needs it sometimes," he said. "I have days where my hip just doesn't want to agree with me."
Councilor GT Bynum says the towns surrounding Tulsa are already at the $500 limit because it's state law.
"I don't think that handicapped people in Tulsa are deserving of less strike enforcement than folks in Ponca City or Lawton."
He says Tulsa gets around the law because it's a charter city and can set its own fine.
"We create it with the intention of protecting people and punishing violators, and then we don't update it for decades," Bynum said.
Currently, volunteers are the primary watchdogs for handicapped parking violators in Tulsa.
Councilor Skip Steele is against the fine increase, and says the real issue is that only two paid city workers have to watch both parking meters and handicapped zones downtown, which leaves the rest of the city wide open.
"I would agree it is a problem, but I guess it's only enforced inside the IDL," he said. "I think we would be better served if we simply wrote a ticket that said go to court."
Since the measure passed in the Thursday meeting, it goes into effect immediately.