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Council Receives Award For Painting The Town Blue

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Council Receives Award For Painting The Town Blue

20 November 2008 - CCS Disability Action has given Gisborne District Council an award for their outstanding commitment to making mobility parking spaces highly visible across the city. (EDS: Pictures attached)

The Council has been working with Inline Marking to make mobility parking spaces visible in their community by painting them bright blue.

The Council's land transport unit has been working with a newly formed disability policy monitoring group and together they looked at a variety of access issues. This included physically testing how easy mobility car parks were to use for both wheelchair and mobility scooter users, highlighting the need to change the shape and visibility of the parks.

Mayor of Gisborne, Meng Foon, said that painting the parking spaces was a "no brainer". "Previous research from CCS Disability Action showed that painting mobility parking spaces with vivid colours deterred misuse and that was something that Gisborne District Council wanted to do," says Meng Foon.

Earlier in the year mobility parking spaces were monitored during a nationwide CCS Disability Action study supported by the New Zealand Transport Agency.

Before being painted, 55% of people using the mobility parking spaces were doing so illegally, without a valid mobility parking permit.

The parking spaces were then painted blue and the level of misuse had dropped by almost a quarter.

During the same period the number of vehicles using the parking spaces with a valid mobility parking permit had risen from 40% to 52%.

Nigel Mead, Regional Manager of CCS Disability Action, hopes that other council's will take the lead of Gisborne District Council.

"The Council has done a fantastic job when you think of the time, effort, coordination and cost of painting the mobility parking spaces. Our studies show that increased visibility affects the rate of misuse and genuine mobility parking users benefit from the freed up spaces," says Nigel.

Recent amendments to Land Transport Rules mean people using mobility parking spaces without displaying a valid CCS Disability Action mobility parking permit will face a $150 fine set by the Ministry of Transport.

"Mobility parking permit holders rely on these parking spaces to access and contribute to their community. Hopefully increased fines and more visible parking will mean more permit holders being able to access parking spaces in their communities," adds Nigel.

While the legislative change has a huge impact on access to public mobility parking there are still concerns with privately owned car parks and their mobility parking.

"Working with Gisborne District Council has been great. They certainly bring to life the local expression "first to see the sun, first to see the light", and it's fantastic to see some of the private parking owners such as the airport, hospital, Woolworths and PAK'nSAVE also using the same concept. I hope that more and more private parking owners will make their mobility parking spaces more visible and adopt some of the principles in the new legislation. Blocking disabled people from getting on with their business, shopping and leisure activities is still a big problem in New Zealand," says Nigel.

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