Laws in Cambridge don't apply on private property

Today I went to Cambridge Honda and noticed that, as usual, the
mechanics were putting finished cars "right out front" for customers.
In the two marked accessible parking spots. I asked the service desk
person if they could maybe not do that, taking the angle that you
never know when someone will need the spots, and I wouldn't want them
to get in trouble. Service person told me she's been asking them for
years not to put the cars there. Right.

I called the Cambridge Police non-emergency number and asked if they
could maybe spot by or send a letter or something. They said they
couldn't do anything since it's private property. I told them that I
thought state laws still applied and localities certainly ticket
people on private property. He said they wouldn't do anything unless
it was on public property. I asked if, for future reference, they were
able to enforce it if someone with a placard called and needed the
spot. He told me again that it was private property.

Hey everyone in Cambridge! Feel free to break laws as long as you're
on your own property!

(On a more serious note, maybe it would help if people took note of
this practice and wrote the dealer letters saying they've driven by
and noticed it or whatnot and wished they'd reserve the spots for
people with placards.)


Jodie said...

I've always been under the impression that a business on private property is required to have accessible spots, but that the business would have to call the police or a tow truck to have it enforced- not just in Cambridge, though some municipalities may have different rules.

eeka said...

Yes, that's basically the way it works, but the state law is that the business is REQUIRED to enforce it, not that they may enforce it when they choose. Also, cops don't need the business's permission to enforce the law if they're driving by or if they get a call or whatnot. I've called when it's been more of a situation of "I'm trying to go shopping with a person with a placard in my car, and the spot is taken by someone without a placard, and the business doesn't care" and they will come, at least in Brookline and Dedham where I've personally done this. And each state has a specific state law basically saying that spots need to be provided equal to or above the ADA's requirements, which is why cops can ticket people without it being an ADA issue. (If something is ONLY an ADA requirement, there'd need to be an identified PWD who is complaining that they were denied access; with the state laws that every state voluntarily enacted, the cops can drive by and see a car abusing a space and can ticket without having to go find a PWD who wants the spot.)

I can get them not wanting to send a cop out to a business just to enforce a parking space abuser who's going to be gone by the time they arrive, but I did explain that this is an ongoing issue, and that my car routinely gets parked illegally after they look at it. Why are the police reluctant to go speak with someone in a preventive sort of manner and insist that it has to wait until a law is being broken heinously? Even without fining the place, they'd likely change the behavior if a cop came by and said "look, you can't do that."