Letter – Seymour has ‘inconsiderate,’ ‘selfish’ parking policy

Luciano-letter-picReaders of the Valley Gazette (especially readers with disabilities using walkers or wheelchairs) should be advised about Seymour’s policy regarding vehicles parked on sidewalks.

Tuesday afternoon the Seymour police informed me that businesses that have a sidewalk on their property are exempt from DMV or town ordinances prohibiting parking of vehicles on sidewalks.

Readers should note that legal dictionaries define a sidewalk as:
•    A walkway consisting of a paved area for pedestrians; usually beside a street or roadway, or
•    A hard-surfaced path for pedestrians alongside and a little higher than a road.

The key words are “walkway,” “paved area,” “for pedestrians,” “beside a street or roadway,” and “a little higher than a road.”

Furthermore, the Connecticut DMV Driver’s Manual specifies places where parking is prohibited. These are: intersections, crosswalks, within 25 feet of a stop sign, within 25 feet of a pedestrian safety zone, within 10 feet of a fire hydrant, more than one foot from the curb, and sidewalks.

While riding my electric wheelchair uphill on a Seymour Main Street sidewalk, I noticed an SUV parked on the “hard-surfaced pedestrian path alongside and a little higher than the road.” Unlike other vehicles parked in clearly marked parking spots in the parking lot of Tottenham Dance Studios, the SUV was not parked in a marked parking spot. In other words, the SUV was parked on a de facto sidewalk.

Persons with disabilities know, or learn the hard way, that vehicles parked on sidewalks, especially sidewalks sloped toward the road, create a hazard for wheelchairs.

Riding across a slope is a risk of tipping over. My safe options were to ride higher up the sloped parking lot or ride down the slope to the street, or try to ride between the offending SUV and the adjacent vehicle, which was legally parked in a marked parking spot.

Riding across the steep slope between the SUV and the road is a tip-over risk, and rather than risk scratching the courteous law-abiding driver, I decided to go down the slope to ride on Main Street.

Then I called Seymour Police to report this parking violation, which incidentally I often encounter in this spot and which I report to First Selectman Kurt Miller. To my dismay, a police officer drove by twice without stopping to ticket the vehicle.

So I immediately called police again to ask why. The officer said, “That sidewalk is private property. The owner can park there.” Note that the police acknowledged it was a sidewalk.

I looked in vain at Town of Seymour Ordinances and failed to find anything allowing vehicles to park on privately owned “hard-surfaced paths for pedestrians alongside and a little higher than a road.”

So I am asking fellow Gazette readers to check Seymour’s ordinances. Maybe one of you can find the exemption that happens to be asinine and quite inconsiderate if not selfish to pedestrians and persons with disabilities.

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  • Joseph A. Luciano

    See SEYMOUR’S Mobility Hazards (over 200 photos) at www.facebook.com/5FingersPianomanJoe?ref=tn_tnmn#!/media/set/?set=a.481049088606675.115628.100001047636306&type=3
    Photos added almost daily, except on rainy days, when sidewalks are blocked, and when it’s too dangerous to ride my wheelchair in the streets.

  • Joseph A. Luciano

    Please see latest photo album for public view: “Seymour Permits Absurd Parking” at


    Shown: cars NOT PARKED IN A CLEARLY MARKED PARKING SPOT. Cars also are allowed to park on an established pedestrian path (SIDEWALK !!!!!)

  • Joseph A. Luciano

    And again, on my way to church this morning a vehicle was parked on an established pedestrian path (sidewalk). It was not parked in a marked parking spot.


  • Joseph A. Luciano

    10:29am, May 17, 2013. there are TWO marked parking spaces immediately in front of the dance studio as well as many more in the parking lot proper. So, there’s no reason for ANYONE to park on the long-established pedestrian path — or, SIDEWALK! SEE www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.481049088606675.115628.100001047636306&type=3&uploaded=2#!/photo.php?fbid=578926995485550&set=a.481049088606675.115628.100001047636306&type=3&theater

  • Teri Roland

    People with disabilities try to maintain some amount of independence with dignity by being able to get around by themselves. Let’s not have obstacles in the way, provide support on these requests, and keep them safe!

  • Michael Luciano

    Private sidewalks?! Really Seymour PD? It just sounds like laziness to me.

    • Joseph Luciano

      My take on this is that Seymour PD & the Town of Seymour need to (1) take a walk from Zois Pizza to the train Station to experience finding a vehicle parked on what any reasonable intelligent person would regard as a “sidewalk, i.e., an established pedestrian path, and (2) collaborate to establish Ordinances on sidewalk uses — keeping in mind that sidewalks are on the “side” of the street and are for “walking.” Not parking.

  • Leigh

    There’s a difference between “can” and “should.” Maybe under the law people can park on sidewalk if it’s privately owned. But human decency says that they should park in one of the many available official parking spots.

    I’m not a big fan of rules and regulations. But it makes sense to look at the reasons behind the conventions in society. For generations we’ve parked in the street and walked on the sidewalks. For a reason. Regardless of what is printed in legal documents, that reason is still present. Any reasonable person would opt to not block the pedestrian walkways unnecessarily.

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