Anonymous Complaint to DOJ Leads to Creation of 12 Disabled Parking Spaces Downtown


Officials said last week that they’ve re-designated 12 parking spaces in metered lots downtown for disabled motorists following an anonymous complaint to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The town had been “deficient in number,” according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann said, and quickly addressed the problem by installing three disabled spaces in Morse Court, six in Locust Avenue Lot and three in Park Street Lot.

“We had someone contact the Department of Justice and they came down and said that we needed to amend our number of handicapped spaces in three separate parking lots,” Mann told members of the Police Commission at their regular meeting, held Oct. 16 at the New Canaan Police Department.

The complaint “fell on the heels pretty much right after the original thing for Main Street,” he said, referring to a complaint that had been made to the state that could see New Canaan lose even more parking spaces near crosswalks. The town appears to be “targeted,” Mann said.

Asked by Police Commissioner Paul Foley how the number of required disabled spaces is calculated, Mann said “it’s a ratio” that’s based, largely, on how many total spaces are in a lot. Officials at the meeting also said the lots were reconfigured based on minimum requirements under state law for clearances between parked vehicles in disabled spaces.

The commissioners asked Mann why the federal agency was contacted regarding the disabled spaces (because it’s part of ADA), and whether the complaint was made anonymously (yes).

The discussion arose during a presentation from a transportation consultant regarding possible changes to parking and crosswalks on Main Street. Regarding Morse Court, the consultant said his firm is recommending that New Canaan run a double-yellow line down the access way to establish it as a street, and to have the curb-side parking face in one direction only (toward South Avenue). 

7 thoughts on “Anonymous Complaint to DOJ Leads to Creation of 12 Disabled Parking Spaces Downtown

  1. These parking issues… added handicap parking spaces, Possible crosswalk eliminations, loss of
    Parking spaces … et al…just smells funny. Why the anonymous phone calls,
    Why decisions made abruptly… why no input from elected town officials..
    It’s all done quickly and it seems to me in secret. No input from
    Citizens who are impacted by the reconfiguration of downtown. Big
    Government has landed on top of us with a big thump. We need answers and explanations from our town govt. what is the policy. What can we do
    To fight all these regulations. And what I particularly find chilling,
    Is the anonymous nature of these changes. I would think all the businesses in town would also like to know what is going on. They are losing business
    By the the rules and regulations of big govt.

  2. I ditto the above…How can an anonymous person get away with ridding 19 plus12 more parking spaces from us ? Who is this person ? and why has he taken it upon himself to be such a” police cop” ! Someone must have his name and how bout sharing !!! I feel so badly for our shops..

  3. Shouldn’t the town be following regulations in the first place? Why the comments we should be fighting back on handicap parking? Isn’t it in all tax payer’s benefits to have the town be proactively following state rules? Why should tax payers be weighing in on whether we follow state laws already passed?
    Furthermore there is value for ALL community members to have an accessible downtown!

  4. Finding these comments – save for Betsy’s – as discouraging as those left on the Facebook post and the statements being made in other forums. I cannot devote any more time or energy to explaining this comment by comment, so if it’s okay with the editor I will put the link to my public post outlining the matter here:

    The TL;DR version is this: the three lots in question were not accessible, and now they will be, and that’s the bottom line. It shouldn’t take a DOJ complaint for us to make that a priority.

    A few other points based on comments above:
    1) How do we know it is the same person, and that all three were men. Additionally, why does the gender matter?

    2) Based on the reaction this has caused, is it not obvious why someone would choose to remain anonymous? Seems to me those frustrated to the point of anger are proving exactly why – in the case of the last complaint – a disabled person would contact those responsible for making sure their rights are not being violated privately.

  5. I support the anonymous person who is forcing NC to observe state laws. As an immigrant from India, I saw a lot of laws that were never enforced at the cost of pedestrian safety. These rules exist for a good reason: to provide better line of sight for pedestrians crossing the roadway. And if the law requires a certain number of handicap spots, then so be it. We should never put cost over safety, because if we do then we turn into a third world country.

  6. Kudos to the consultant for recommending that wrong-way parking be eliminated along the curb at Morse court. The existing town parking ordinance doesn’t require a double yellow line for that stretch of road to be classified as a “street,” and the ordinance already prohibits wrong-way parking on that curb. But if that’s what it takes in the view of the Town, so be it. Let’s just get it done.

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