Questions Posted to "Ask a Dispatcher"
Q. Why are there no parking zones if they are not enforced? Everytime I go to Walmart, I see someone parking in the no parking zone. Let's say a person with a disability parking tag parks in the no parking zone because there are no other handicap spots left, does that justify them parking there?
Dear Juneau Resident,
You bring up a very good point. It's relatively easy to make a restriction but the hard, and expensive part, is the enforcement. Stores are required to have so many handicapped spots, depending on capacity, but have no obligation to do private enforcement along the lines of what the city contracts for the parking garages and airport. Same goes for the no parking zones that make up the fire lane on private property. If people are parking in a way that the driver is ignoring the painted lines, like in a stripped area, the officer may have trouble finding an ordinance that fits. There is nothing in JPD's field guide that references restriction by paint.
People who are actually city employees and can do parking enforcement at those places have a list of priorities that involve safety issues first then issues like parking on public streets and other issues like impounding abandoned vehicles. While JPD is doing okay compared to police departments down south facing massive cuts, there probably is any department who, in this economy, is staffed to do every activity possible in a proactive way. With the private companies doing no enforcement (and they wouldn't get the money from tickets if they did) and city employees with many other priorities, private property parking gets pushed down the list.
There is a police theory out there that if an officer does disability parking violations that person can catch many people with warrants. That makes sense since if someone is willing to violate laws that get them warrants, that same person probably violates parking restrictions without a second thought.
That theory isn't as much of a motivator in a smaller city versus a big city since JPD officers get to know people and can probably catch more people with warrants by watching the streets to see the person. Or maybe going to that person's Mom's house and knocking on the door.
What you can do is ask the store management to call JPD or call JPD yourself and report vehicles illegally parked when the violation is happening. The disability space being used with no placard is a much heftier fine and parking in an area posted for "No Parking". Again, violations of painted lanes might be trickier and lead to a verbal warning if the driver is located. You can ask the JPD dispatcher if someone is available to write a ticket. A bad time for that request is probably a day when the weather is terrible and people are going to or coming from work. Other times there is a chance someone will be available to write tickets.