Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Daniel Benson to ensure that critical public access points for the disabled are not blocked by snow was approved by an Assembly panel on Monday.
“As we saw with the blizzard two weeks ago, large amounts of snow can hamper most people from getting around,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “Now imagine that you’re disabled and mobility becomes all but impossible if critical public areas aren’t plowed or shoveled properly. The removal of snow from public roadways, walkways, and other areas open to the public is a critical service during an emergency snow event.”
“Snow deposits that obstruct access to ramps, curbs, special parking spaces, and other crucial areas that provide access to people with disabilities create potential health and safety risks and impedes the mobility of many New Jersey residents,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “This bill is designed to ensure that we are more mindful of our fellow neighbors.”
Specifically, the bill (A-2361) prohibits snowplow operators or operators of equipment used for the removal of snow on a public roadway, public walkway, or on private property open to the public or to which the public is invited, from depositing snow or causing snow to be deposited on any properly marked access ramp, curb cut, special parking space, or other improvement designed to provide access to persons with disabilities.
An operator who fails to comply with the provisions of this bill will be fined $250 for the first offense and $500 for each subsequent offense.
The bill was approved by the Assembly Human Services Committee chaired by Vainieri Huttle.