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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    7

    Default Defenses to a Ticket for Blocking Handicap Ramp

    I got a ticket for "blocking handicap ramp" next to my school, I violated:

    22500 No person shall stop, park, or leave standing any vehicle whether attended or unattended, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with the directions of a peace officer or official traffic control device, in any of the following places: (l) In front of or upon that portion of a curb that has been cut down, lowered, or constructed to provide wheelchair accessibility to the sidewalk.

    The comment on the ticket said that I had parked within 6 feet beyond the grooves/cuts in the sidewalk. CVC 22500 doesn't state how close I can park to one. The problem is that since there was a long driveway connecting to the sidewalk it seemed like i parked next to any driveway but for some reason the city decided to put a ramp connecting to the driveway, when the ramp isn't even ment to be used to cross the street, because there is no crosswalk or ramp on the other side of the street. I looked furthur into the curb ramp and learned that the sidewalk does not follow ADA guidelines on what a proper ramp should be.
    ADA guidelines state:

    "R303.3.2 Detectable Warnings. Detectable warning surfaces complying with R304 shall be provided, where a curb ramp, landing, or blended transition connects to a street."
    and R304 states:
    "R304.1 General. Detectable warnings shall consist of a surface of truncated domes aligned in a square or radial grid pattern and shall comply with R304."



    The jeep is my car and as you can see no markings on the "ramp" whatsoever.
    This is what a real ramp should look like:



    ALSO R303 STATES:

    "R303.2.2 Parallel Curb Ramps. Parallel curb ramps shall comply with R303.2.2, and shall have a running slope that is in-line with the direction of sidewalk travel."



    In this pircture the grooves are parrallel with the the direction of the sidewalk. Also if you look back up to the picture with the yellow warning bumps on the ramp you will notice the grooves are pointing out toward the street meaning that foot traffic is ment to go head towards the street.



    In this picture you can see that the "ramp" is actually there to blend in with the super long driveway rather than to provide access to the street.

    This is the conclusion I have come up with, do you think I have a good chance of fighting this ticket?
    Do you think if I went to the city and have them write a letter that the curb ramp is not constructed properly so I can show to the parking enforcement office?

    I would love to hear some insight from you guys. Thanks for reading!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    CT & IL
    Posts
    5,273

    Default Re: Blocking Handicap Ramp $258 Ticket Do I Have a Strong Argument

    ...constructed to provide wheelchair accessibility....

    Who is going to testify in respect to this? While it may be used for that purpose, only the person who designed it can provide this tidbit of material fact.

    And how are you, a driver supposed to know?

    Arguing about the design? Unless you are a ramp engineer I doubt this will get you anywhere. As far as you testifying. This is something the state has to prove. Object if the cop just says it is; that's a legal conclusion.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Tacoma, WA
    Posts
    1,534

    Default Re: Blocking Handicap Ramp $258 Ticket Do I Have a Strong Argument

    I applaud you for doing your homework rather than posting here asking for someone else to do it for you. However, while your conclusions are reasonable, they overreach in a couple of places. While I won't try to convince you not to at least try your arguments in traffic court, in my opinion they fall short.

    While you are correct that 22500 says nothing about 6 ft beyond, your pictures show that the rear of your vehicle actually protrudes into the cut-down area. And, 22500 also does not say anything about the cut-down area needing to comply with ADA guidelines...it just says that it has to be cut down to provide wheelchair accessibility.

    You come closer with your argument that the ramp is not intended to provide access to cross the street (the direction your vehicle partially blocks). It is apparent that it is intended to provide access across the "intersection" of the sidewalk and the driveway into the parking lot (which your vehicle does not inhibit). Nonetheless, your vehicle is parked "in front of or upon that portion of a curb that has been cut down..." So, while you may have an argument that you did not violate the spirit of the law, you are in violation of the letter of the law.

    If you are willing to put forth the time and effort, you can try your luck in court. Just don't get your hopes up too high. I would say your chances of getting a judge sympathetic to your argument are maybe 50/50. If you decide to take it to court, try the "spirit of the law" argument and throw in the ADA thing too...ya never know.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Blocking Handicap Ramp $258 Ticket Do I Have a Strong Argument

    Thanks for your insight, where I was going with the ada guidelines is that, for the ramp to be considered a handicap ramp it has to have been built properly correct? But the ramp itself is nnot built to code so how can I get a violation that specifys the ramp as handicap. Also I'm wondering is that cvc22500l says that no parking infront or upon, technicall since the sidewalk was ment to connect the driveway I was not parked in front nor was I upon it. Also the cutdown never touches the street. Any of these points argueable?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    CT & IL
    Posts
    5,273

    Default Re: Blocking Handicap Ramp $258 Ticket Do I Have a Strong Argument

    Quote Quoting vnixx
    View Post
    Thanks for your insight, where I was going with the ada guidelines is that, for the ramp to be considered a handicap ramp it has to have been built properly correct? But the ramp itself is nnot built to code so how can I get a violation that specifys the ramp as handicap. Also I'm wondering is that cvc22500l says that no parking infront or upon, technicall since the sidewalk was ment to connect the driveway I was not parked in front nor was I upon it. Also the cutdown never touches the street. Any of these points argueable?
    Thats a burden THEY have to prove...you need not show your pics (and some pics I would not show) IMO. If the officer says its a handicap ramp, object to this legal conclusion .. tell the judge that there is no evidence that he is an engineer nor was the person who designed the ramp.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Tacoma, WA
    Posts
    1,534

    Default Re: Blocking Handicap Ramp $258 Ticket Do I Have a Strong Argument

    Whether the ramp is "to code" or not relies on the California Vehicle Code (or could be Building & Professions Code, or Health &Welfare Code...Ca. has so many damn "codes" that its hard to keep up with), not ADA guidelines. The ADA guidelines are just that...guidelines. They are what the ADA recommends and many statutes do indeed adopt them. But, it's what CA legal codes require that counts. The section you are accused of violating just says "to provide wheelchair accessibility." It doesn't say it has to be "to code." Nonetheless, if you can find the definition and requirements for wheelchair ramps in the CA codes, and if this one doesn't meet those requirements, it is certainly worth arguing in court.

    As for you not being parked in front or upon it, again you have to go back to the wording of 22500. It says you cannot park in front or upon that portion of the curb, not the ramp itself. And, your vehicle does extend into that portion of the curb that slopes down to form the ramp. But, again, since the ramp is not intended for access to the street, it is still worth arguing. I don't see that you have a clear winner with either argument, but they are both worth a shot.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    165

    Default Re: Blocking Handicap Ramp $258 Ticket Do I Have a Strong Argument

    That's clearly a ramp. Whether or not it meets current ADA guidelines is somewhat irrelevant to your argument, and besides, ADA is federal legislation. A question; you don't show in your picture whether or not there is another ramp on the other side of the asphalt street, directly across from the ramp you have photographed. Is there one there or not?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    20,594

    Default Re: Blocking Handicap Ramp $258 Ticket Do I Have a Strong Argument

    Parking violations are not heard in a court of law unless appealed all the way to court (and if you lose, there is a small administrative cost in addition to the parking fine).

    When you contest the cite you will be making your case to an individual or a panel convened by the jurisdiction to hear parking citation matters. If you lose that one, then there may be another level of appeals to an agency administrator or administrators. After that, you can always choose to appeal the matter to a court.

    You MIGHT have a case as the CA MUTCD does defer to the ADA compliance rules for such curb markings. However, the two problems you might have ... one, the hearing officer or panel will likely not be familiar with the MUTCD or the ADA rules and will go with the simple description of the curb and your position relative to it. Two, if the construction was done before the modifications went into effect, then it is likely they will not apply.

    You have a well thought out argument, but you may not be able to do much with it unless you are willing to take at least three days off of school or work to attend hearings, and you are willing to risk a few more dollars to appeal it to an actual court.

    Maybe I missed it, but how much is the parking fine?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Blocking Handicap Ramp $258 Ticket Do I Have a Strong Argument

    The ticket costs $258, and thank you for your advice cdwjava. Also the construction of the ramp is new as you can tell from the discoloration of the cement from the other blocks.

    trafeng, there is no other ramp on the other side of the street, but there is another ramp on the other side of the driveway.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    165

    Default Re: Blocking Handicap Ramp $258 Ticket Do I Have a Strong Argument

    That makes a bit of difference then. If there is no ramp on the other side of the road then the ramp in question is clearly intended for pedestrians crossing the driveway, not the street. That's why its called a Parallel Ramp, its intended to serve walkers along the street, instead of two-way ramps at intersections where you can cross left or right. That being the case, its hard to see how your vehicle was blocking it. Some jurisdictions do have rules about how close you can park to a driveway, but that's not what you were cited for.

    Again, ADA does not apply. ADA guidelines proscribed the use of truncated domes at public street crossings, not driveways, and I don't believe that has changed.

    If you do dispute the ticket, be humble, and you might wish to let the police department know how it went (humbly) so they avoid that in the future. Those folks work very hard trying to maintain public safety so I'm sure they'd appreciate the information.

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