BRADENTON BEACH – New signs have been posted at the Bradenton Beach Post Office to further clarify the recently enacted after-hours public parking policies.
Some of the new signs apply to the post office’s only handicapped parking space, from which a vehicle bearing a handicapped parking placard was recently towed.
Parking allowances clarified
Three pairs of new red and white signs have been placed near the three parking spaces at the east end of the parking lot. Those spots are reserved for post office customers only, seven days a week, 24 hours a day – and one of those spaces is the post office’s lone handicapped parking space.
These new signs say, “This space reserved for 24 hour post office use only. 15 minute time limit strictly enforced. Violators will be towed or ticketed.”
The signs also reference Ordinance 58-35, which is part of the city’s parking laws.
These new signs replaced three green and white signs that simply said, “Reserved for post office customers only.”
New red and white signs are also now affixed to the west side of the building where post office employees park.
Those signs say, “Reserved parking for post office staff use only 5 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday – Saturday. Violators will be ticketed and/or towed at vehicle owner’s expense.”
There’s also a newly-designated golf cart and scooter parking area along the western edge of the post office property. This area is designated by brown brick pavers, with a white paver border and a painted inscription that says, “Golf Cart / Scooter Parking Only.”
According to a text message City Attorney Ricinda Perry received from Victor Seebach, the post office’s officer in charge, golf cart and scooter parking is allowed in that specifically designated area at all times.
Still in place are the existing red and white signs installed in November that say, “Reserved parking for post office customer use only, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday. Violators will be ticketed and/or towed at vehicle owner’s expense.”
According to these signs, after-hours public parking in these designated spaces is allowed between 4:30 p.m. and 8 a.m. Monday through Friday, and around the clock on Saturdays and Sundays.
The after-hours parking allowances are the result of a parking agreement between the Bradenton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency and the Bradenton Beach Post Office.
When the parking agreement was entered into in October, Perry said it could be terminated if the after-hours public parking proves problematic.
Those who use the post office parking lot for non-post office business are encouraged to pay close attention to the signs to avoid being ticketed or towed.
Handicapped towing incident
On Saturday, Feb. 29, Karen Ziegler contacted The Sun via email and expressed her displeasure with a towing incident that occurred in the post office parking lot the night before.
“My disabled handicapped parents got towed last night having dinner on Bridge Street. That is so wrong! I want the city to reimburse me $253. They parked in the handicapped spot and clearly posted their official handicapped placard. According to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), they shouldn’t have been towed at all,” Ziegler stated in her email.
When informed that the handicapped parking space at the post office is one of three spaces reserved for post office customers at all times, Ziegler wrote, “Regardless of the handicapped being one of the three spots, there are two things: 1. There is not enough handicapped parking for patrons around Bridge Street. 2. According to the ADA, handicapped vehicles should not be towed,” Ziegler stated.
“$253 was a crazy amount of money for an 87-year-old handicapped senior, veteran and father and an 87-year-old mother who can’t walk far. I am so upset for my parents. You don’t know how hurt and disappointed I am,” Ziegler stated, noting her parents also had to pay for an Uber ride home.
When contacted, Perry said she was not aware of specific language contained in the Americans with Disabilities Act that specifically prohibits handicapped designated vehicles from ever being towed. She also said the towing company is contracted by the post office and not the city.
Offering her non-legal opinion, Perry said parking in that handicapped parking space while enjoying dinner on Bridge Street could prevent post office patrons with ADA needs from utilizing the post office after-hours, including accessing their P.O. boxes.
The Sun’s limited review of the ADA website provided no additional clarity. A limited review of Florida Statutes provided some clarity.
According to Florida Statute 316.1955 (4)(a), “A vehicle that is transporting a person who has a disability and that has been granted a permit may be parked for a maximum of 30 minutes in any parking space reserved for persons who have disabilities.”
To avoid being ticketed or towed, handicapped drivers who are not conducting post office business may want to avoid using the designated handicapped parking space.