“Disabled people and those with limited mobility will find this new app of enormous benefit when driving around Lower Hutt,” says Mayor Ray Wallace.
“Mobility parking permit holders will be able to find mobility parks with ease and report mobility parking misuse in real-time making it far simpler for them to go about their business without the extra hurdle of being unable to find or use an accessible park.”
The Access Aware app is available nationwide and requires each council, or private carpark provider to sign up to it before it is activated.
David Matthews, Chief Executive of CCS Disability Action says, “We are delighted that Hutt City Council has taken the initiative to join other councils around New Zealand as early adaptors of the Access Aware app. Feedback from our more than 150,000 mobility parking permit holders indicates that frustration with mobility parking misuse is at an all-time high.”
“We regularly hear that people without a permit park in a mobility car park because they are ‘just going to be a couple of minutes’ or ‘they didn’t see the sign’. The reality is that mobility car parks have been created for a reason and there is no excuse to use one if you do not have a valid permit. Hutt City Council has really stepped up by agreeing to use the Access Aware app and we commend them highly for showing this kind of leadership,” says Matthews.
People use the app to locate mobility parks in public spaces and to report incidents where vehicles not displaying a mobility permit are parked illegally.
Reports of parking violations can be reported on the app quickly. The location of the carpark is identified on a map and a message goes through to council’s parking services division who then go to the carpark and take appropriate action including issuing an infringement notice. “The Access Aware app now gives people with mobility issues the tool to report incidents quickly which will ultimately change behaviour,” says Hutt City Council Manager of Regulatory Services Geoff Stuart.
“Users of the new app are also encouraged to identify any parks not yet showing on the app so that a robust view of public mobility parking is maintained across Lower Hutt,” says Geoff Stuart
“It takes a great deal of effort and organisation for people with mobility issues to undertake many of the tasks other members of our community routinely do. It’s really important that if you have restricted mobility you can easily locate a carpark and that an able-bodied person isn’t occupying a parking space which is often nearer to a building entrance, the doctor’s office, their workplace or a chemist,” says Chair of the Accessibility and Inclusiveness Plan Subcommittee, Councillor Glenda Barratt.
It’s estimated that 25 per cent of the population live with a disability. There are almost 450 mobility parks throughout the city with around 160 belonging to the Hutt City Council and the rest being on private land.
Members of the disability community are invited to download the app from Google Play or Apple Store by searching for 'Access Aware'. There is a dedicated Helpline for questions and technical issues on 0508 227 322 which is available between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.