Longmont drivers should watch for the high sign

Dear Johnnie: Seems like the city of Longmont is fleecing us again. Check out the handicapped-parking spot right in front of the door at the Times-Call on Fourth Avenue. You will see that the sign is over 9½ feet in the air.

As you pull in watching for people and other cars and staying between the lines, then look up at the sign, all you see is the 2-hour parking limit. As you gather your stuff up to go into the Times-Call, you don`t think of looking up as high as a basketball hoop to check for any other signage.

ADA requirements for handicapped-parking signs have to be viewable from the driver`s seat of the vehicle. This is not the case of this spot. The parking enforcement officer understands this and is right there to hand out a $100 ticket.

This makes me think about the speed limit sign on Main Street Longmont had and the TV news had on the air not long ago. — Steve

Dear Steve: I wouldn`t be happy with a $100 ticket, either.

I decided to look into each of the items you mentioned, from the height of that sign, to its visibility from the driver`s seat, to the city`s practices when it comes to putting up signs for handicapped-accessible spaces, to the Americans With Disabilities Act.

To be exact, the bottom of the sign — which reads “Reserved Parking” and has the person-in-a-wheelchair logo — is 9 feet, 2 inches above the ground.

I had never knowingly parked in a handicapped-parking spot, until the day I decided to test my ability to see that sign from the driver`s seat. I happened to be in a small car, so when I pulled into the spot, I could barely see the 2-hour parking sign. Even leaning far forward, I could glimpse only the bottom of the Reserved Parking sign. (See the photo.) I can see your point better than I could see the sign.

I checked out other signs downtown and found the bottoms of them to be anywhere from a little more than 6 feet above the ground to a little more than 8 feet above the ground. As I made my way around downtown, I realized why none of the signs was less than 6 feet above the ground.

But to be sure I was right, I called Parking Enforcement and spoke with Art. “We`ve talked about that sign before,” he said of the high sign next to the Times-Call building. And he said he could think of only one situation where someone was ticketed at that sign. (Steve, I doubt that makes you feel better.)

“We try to get (the parking signs) around the 7-foot area. … If we put (them) too low, someone will hit his head.” That`s just what I thought.

Art said that anyone with complaints about the placement of the signs may call Parking Enforcement at 303-651-8658.

As for the ADA, I looked up the language about accessible parking spaces. Here it is:

4.6.4* Signage. Accessible parking spaces shall be designated as reserved by a sign showing the symbol of accessibility. … Such signs shall be located so they cannot be obscured by a vehicle parked in the space.”

That seems intended to keep a sign from being placed too low to the ground. But there`s an appendix, which “provides additional information that should help the reader to understand the minimum requirements of the guidelines.

When it comes to signs, it reads: “A4.6.4 Signage. Signs designating parking places for disabled people can be seen from a driver`s seat if the signs are mounted high enough above the ground and located at the front of a parking space.”

Those words “high enough” again suggest that the ADA is speaking of a minimum height.

Despite all that, if I didn`t already know that parking space was reserved, I might have missed that sign, too.

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