Mislabeled parking

watchdog

Sign allowing handicapped-only use remained on a street in Highlandtown long after the resident moved out

March 08, 2009|By Liz F. Kay | Liz F. Kay,liz.kay@baltsun.com

THE PROBLEM : A reserved handicapped parking space in Highlandtown remained in place for weeks after it was no longer needed.

THE BACKSTORY : Edward Zorn had a handicapped space he didn't need. His mother-in-law had applied for a handicapped parking space in front of her Highlandtown home at least four years ago because his father-in-law used a walker or a wheelchair to get around.

The father-in-law moved to a nursing home in November, and his wife moved to Harford County. However, the reserved parking space stayed there, Zorn said, despite three calls to the Baltimore Parking Authority, which oversees residential parking permits.

"I was attempting to be a good neighbor," said Zorn, a Pylesville resident. "In that neighborhood, parking is a real problem."

He made his third call Jan. 7 and finally mailed a letter to the supervisor in charge of residential parking.

About 1,000 parking spaces are reserved in residential areas for disabled people, said Michelle Thompson, who oversees reserved residential parking for the disabled.

She said the authority had no record of a complaint before Zorn's January request to remove the space and a 311 call from a neighbor last month.

Sometimes there is a delay in removing a designated space because staff must verify that it is no longer needed.

People have occasionally reported that a person died when that is not the case, she said.

"You would be surprised," Thompson said. "Parking is very political in Baltimore."

A work order for the job was submitted to the city's transportation department Feb. 18, and while inclement weather can slow down the process, by last week, the signs on the 3300 block of Fleet St. had been removed, Thompson said.

WHO CAN FIX THIS : Michelle Thompson, residential reserved disabled parking manager. 443-573-2823. City residents should call 311 to report problems.

update

Remember Schuyler Denham? The former Baltimorean had requested a hearing date from the environmental control board to contest a citation for his Mondawmin home, but he continued to receive lien notices while waiting to be scheduled because of a backlog. He reports that his daughter testified at the hearing Feb. 25, and the citation was dismissed, without fees or court fees.

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Is there something in your neighborhood that's not getting fixed? Tell us where the problem is and how long it's been there by e-mailing watchdog@baltsun.com or calling 410-332-6735.

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