The University of New Mexico Parking and Transportation Services department is taking steps to safeguard availability of handicapped spaces for mobility-impaired users.

"We believe that the same high standards of quality parking should be the right of all legitimate users at UNM, irrespective of their mobility limitations," said Clovis Acosta, PATS director. "The welfare of mobility-impaired patrons attending or visiting UNM is a priority for our department."

UNM has more than twice as many handicapped parking spaces as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act; however mobility-impaired individuals experience difficulty finding accessible parking spaces.

PATS workers are concerned with the illegal parking in handicapped spaces by users not displaying proper handicapped permits, or those fraudulently using permits. PATS enforcement officers will begin a campaign on UNM campus lots to ensure that handicapped permits located in vehicles not displaying a valid UNM parking permit have the handicapped permit number and expiration date clearly visible from the front of the vehicle.  Officers will also be verifying ownership of handicapped placards.

"We work hard to safeguard the availability of spaces for mobility-impaired users," Acosta added. "In addition to handicapped spaces, our policies also allow for handicapped permit holders to freely park in regular zoned parking spots, spots with green or grey parking meters, and the Cornell parking structure."

According to Acosta, PATS remains committed to meeting, developing and safeguarding parking needs of all of UNM's students, staff, faculty and university guests.

For more information, contact Brian Kilburn, PATS public information representative at bkilburn@parking.unm.edu.

Media Contact: Benson Hendrix,(505) 277-1816. E-Mail: bhendrix@unm.edu