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Disability Parking Laws and Rights



This symbol identifies facilities which are accessible to individuals with disabilities. Parking spaces and ramps are specifically designed and reserved for use by people with disabilities, people using wheelchairs, braces, crutches, walkers or canes, people with arthritis or heart conditions.

These spaces are extra-wide to accommodate wheelchairs and are placed as close to the entrance as possible for those who are unable to walk long distances.

When you see the symbol of access on a parking space, please be considerate of other’s special parking needs and park your car in the regular parking spaces. IT IS THE LAW!


Q:  What is accessible parking?
A:  Accessible parking requires that sufficient space be provided alongside the vehicle so that persons using mobility aids, including wheelchairs, can transfer and maneuver to and from the vehicle. Accessible parking also involves the appropriate designation and location of spaces and their connection to an accessible route.

Q:  Is accessible parking required by law in New York State?
A:  Off-street parking spaces for people with disabilities are required by law at shopping centers that have five or more retail stores. Signs must be posted.  Spaces reserved for people with disabilities must be located as close to the shopping center as possible and distributed to provide convenient access.

On-street parking spaces reserved for people with disabilities are designated by local law or ordinance.

Q:  What are the provisions for parking for medical care and other services for persons with mobility impairments?
A:  A greater number of accessible parking spaces are required at facilities providing medical care and other services for persons with mobility impairments. The term "mobility impairments" is intended to include:

  • conditions requiring the use or assistance of a brace, cane, crutch, prosthetic device, wheelchair or other mobility aid;
  • arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic conditions that severely limit one's ability to walk;
  • respiratory diseases and other conditions which may require the use of portable oxygen; or
  • cardiac conditions that impose significant functional limitations.

At outpatient facilities, 10% of the parking spaces must be accessible. Facilities that specialize in medical treatment and other services for persons with mobility impairment are required to have 20% of parking spaces accessible.

Q:  May a person dump snow in the disability parking spaces? Can I get fined?
A:  New York State Vehicle & Traffic Law 1203-e states that any person who knowingly dumps or shovels snow onto a parking place for handicapped persons rendering such place unusable for parking purpose is in violation.

Q:  Why is the area next to the parking spaces striped?
A:  This area is known as the ACCESS AISLE. It is the space adjacent to accessible parking space to allow people using mobility aids to transfer and maneuver from their vehicles. Lift-equipped vans need this space in order for people to enter and exit their vehicles. In addition, access aisles are necessary for some people who need to be able to fully open the vehicle’s door in order to enter or exit the vehicle.

Q:  Why does the sign next to the accessible parking space say “No Parking Anytime”?
A:  That signifies the space is an access aisle and should not be used as an accessible parking space.

Q:  If all the accessible parking spaces are in use, am I allowed to park on the access aisle if I have the proper license plates or a hang tag?
A:  The access aisles are not accessible parking spaces. No one should park on the access aisles with or without proper license plates or hang tags.

Q:  If I am just waiting for someone, am I allowed to park on the access aisle? I would move if someone needed me to do so.
A:  Stopping or parking on the access aisle should not take place under any circumstances.


Any vehicle that has a license plate or valid permit displaying the International Symbol of Access may use parking spaces designated for use by a person with a disability. The person to whom the license plate or permit was issued must be traveling in the vehicle in order to use these spaces.

Medical Guidelines

Permanent Disability: A “severely disabled” person is any person with one or more permanent impairments, disabilities, or conditions listed below, which limit mobility:

  • Uses portable oxygen
  • Legally blind
  • Limited or no use of one or both legs
  • Unable to walk 200 ft. without stopping
  • Neuromuscular dysfunction that severely limits mobility
  • Class III or IV (American Heart Association standards) cardiac condition
  • Severely limited in ability to walk due to an arthritic, neurological or orthopedic condition
  • Restricted by lung disease to such an extent that forced (respiratory) expiratory volume for one second, when measured by spirometry, is less than one liter, or the arterial oxygen tension is less than sixty mm/hg or room air at rest.
  • Has a physical or mental impairment or condition not listed above which constitutes an equal degree of disability, and which imposes unusual hardship in the use of public transportation and prevents the person from getting around without great difficulty. A physician must describe the specific impairment, disability or condition and explain how it limits mobility.

Temporary Disability: A temporarily disabled person is any person who is unable to ambulate without aid of an assisting device, such as a brace, cane, crutch, prosthetic device, another person, wheelchair, walker, or other device. Parking permits are issued for temporary conditions up to six (6) months.  Medical Certification must be completed only by a Medical Doctor (MD), Doctor of Osteopathy (DO), or, if licensed in N.Y.S., or by a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM).

PLEASE NOTE: License plates for persons with permanent disabilities are secured through the:
New York State Department of Motor Vehicles
Poughkeepsie Office, 22 Market Street
Poughkeepsie, New York 12601
(845) 486-2130

Parking Permits may be issued for either a permanent or temporary disability. You do not have to be a driver or registered owner of a vehicle. Permits are obtained through your municipality’s issuing agent (City or Town Clerk).

Each permanent or temporary permit has an expiration date:
Blue Tags – Five (5) years
Red Tags – Six (6) months

An expired permit is not valid and cannot be used.  


The following actions will result in fines and/or revocation of a permit/license:

  • Stopping, standing, or parking a vehicle in any area designated for handicapped parking without a valid registration
  • Illegal use of the plate/permit.  Non-disabled person used a parking permit or plate to park in a reserved space
  • Material alteration of the handicapped parking permit
  • Making a space unusable by shoveling or dumping snow in the space
  • Failure to provide and clearly mark off-street parking spaces for use by people with disabilities, where required by law