Troubleshooter: Illegal parking frustrations

RALEIGH Laura Holland says when she catches it, she calls police and it just keeps happening -- people parking illegally in handicapped spots with no handicapped plate or placard.

"We've had moving companies, delivery companies, you name it," she said.

Holland says for more than a decade it has been a daily struggle to try and find parking when she has her handicapped son, TJ, with her.

She says when she spots cars without an official placard in a spot; she actually puts a flyer on their car trying to educate the driver about handicapped parking. And when the Holland family actually catches a driver, they confront them.

"My husband said you can't park there because I have a handicapped son, and they started laughing and they wouldn't move," she said. "I don't think people take the signs very seriously."

Besides just taking up the actual handicapped spot, she says the biggest problem is when people park between two handicapped spots, clearly marked with lines not to park so those with wheel chairs can get out of their vehicles.

Holland says it's so tight she can't even get her son in or out of her mini-van.

"Some people think it's convenient, just because we want to be closer to the doorway, we park here because we need to get out of the car, it's not easy getting him in the car and we just need the extra space," she said.

ABC11 Eyewitness News I-Team Troubleshooter Diane Wilson rode around north Raleigh with Holland and her son to see how tough it would be to find a handicapped spot.

Within minutes, they found a dumpster from a store remodel taking up a handicapped spot.

"It's like a slap in the face," Holland said.

And an even bigger slap in the face was when Wilson asked the man who says it's his dumpster why it's taking up the handicap spot?

"Because no one uses them," he said.

And Holland says that attitude is the problem.

As they ride around the shopping center, they found two more spots that would appear to be handicap parking as the poles were there along with the markings on the parking lot, yet there were no handicap signs.

An employee of the restaurant that the spots sit in front of said both signs were damaged in a storm.

She said they weren't down for too long and explained how the landlord of the shopping center takes care of it, and that he is aware of the problem and the signs will be up soon.

The next day, Holland and Wilson went back to the spots and the handicap signs are up -- a little victory for Holland and her son.

And not soon after, the dumpster that was taking up the handicap spot was moved. The owner of the shopping plaza tells ABC11 that they didn't realize the construction crews put it there and were thankful for bringing it to their attention.

Holland says she wants people to put themselves in a position if they were handicapped and try to better understand and sympathize with the handicap people how difficult it is daily and parking is just another issue that adds another stress.

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