DENVER (CBS4) – After the parking staff at the Denver Auraria Campus ticketed him for a parking violation in 2017, Chris Hinds made it his mission to make sure Coloradans who are disabled are never punished for something they cannot physically do.
Thanks to Hinds’ tireless work, Colorado now issues purple placards, which allow Coloradans with the placard to park at any electronically metered spot free of charge anywhere in the state.
“This is proof that one person really can make a difference,” Hinds said.
Hinds believed he was in compliance with City of Denver law when the Auraria Campus ticketed him. Denver allows those with blue handicapped placards to park at metered spots free of charge. However, when he contested the ticket with parking officials, he was told their paid parking is exempt from Denver law.
“They said, ’We are a state entity, the Auraria campus, so we don’t have to follow Denver’s rules,’” Hinds said. “That’s really confusing for someone with a disability to have to know exactly who controls that parking space, and what their rights and responsibilities are. If it keeps you from your parking meter, you should get free parking.”
With a unanimous, bipartisan vote of approval for the purple placards, now some Coloradans with qualifying disabilities can park without fear of being ticketed at electronically monitored spots.
In order to qualify for the purple placard, one must have a doctor’s certification of the following disabilities:
- Fine motor control in both hands.
- Ability to reach a height of 48 inches from the ground due to lack of finger, hand, or upper extremity strength or mobility.
- Their ability to reach or access a parking meter due to the use of a wheelchair or other ambulatory device.
Hinds said one of the main issues he had with modern parking meters came with the angle the screen was at. Though he can reach to put his credit card in the meter, he could not see the 48-inch-high screen that pointed toward the sky.
“I don’t know if I put any money in. If the card was declined. Did I get 30 minutes or 30 hours of parking? I don’t know,” Hinds said.
In order to qualify for the purple placard, Coloradans who are disabled would need a doctor’s note proving their eligibility. They would also have to fill out a proper application for the placard.
Hinds said the purple placards can only be given to those with physical disabilities, not intellectual disabilities. Also, parking that is monitored by humans is exempt from the purple placard.
“This really is a transportation access bill for everyone in Colorado,” Hinds said.