ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A visitor from Texas learned the hard way that it’s illegal to use an out-of-state handicap placard in Albuquerque. After getting a pricey citation this week, the visitor’s family says it wants to work with the city to change that ordinance. City council is expected to review it on Monday, according to a city spokesperson.
“We’re just pretty shocked, surprised, and amazed that nana got a parking ticket with her handicap parking placard,” Erica Hidalgo of Albuquerque stated. She and five family members were in disbelief when they walked out of the zoo Thursday to find the $350 citation left on her windshield. Hidalgo had taken her parents and grandmother, who flew in from Texas last week. She said her grandmother’s handicap placard was in plain sight.
The comment section of the citation read: out-of-state placard with New Mexico plate. “After we received a parking ticket, we really didn’t go anywhere else in town,” Hidalgo added. “We didn’t shop in Nob Hill. We didn’t shop in Old Town. We didn’t go eat at restaurants.”
That’s when Hidalgo got to researching and found the city ordinance stating it’s unlawful for any vehicle to park in a disabled parking space unless the driver or occupant has a valid New Mexico-issued parking placard or license plate on display. Hidalgo called Metro Court, where she plans to challenge the citation.
“I asked, ‘How do we get my grandmother into Metro Court when she can’t park legally?’ We were told we would have to find parking or pay for parking in order to go in and figure that out,” she said.
Hidalgo now wants the city to review this rule to help give the elderly and disabled more access to all areas of Albuquerque. “I really feel like the City of Albuquerque needs to look at the liability of that city ordinance,” Hidalgo explained.
A spokesperson with the mayor’s office Sunday said the following in a written statement: “We’ll look into the situation and will direct the parking division to make it right, and support City Council in updating the ordinance.”
On Monday, the city confirmed it dismissed the ticket and have stopped all citations under that ordinance. Officials are working to repeal the ordinance an update is expected to be introduced at city council Monday night.
People given a handicap parking spot violation can pay it off or challenge it in court. If it’s not paid in 10 days, the price jumps from $350 to $500.