Beware the $255 Ticket Trap on Mt. Pinos Way

  • Linda Hawkins shows her $255 ticket and the yellow pads near the affected curb, nearly covered with sand.

    Linda Hawkins shows her $255 ticket and the yellow pads near the affected curb, nearly covered with sand.

By Patric Hedlund

Dangerous Beauty:

The streetscape beautification project purchased for Frazier Park with $550,000 in federal grant money has brought with it some unexpected surprises, says Linda Hawkins of Pinon Pines.

She works at a busy store on Mt. Pinos Way and recently found a $255 parking ticket on her truck at the end of the workday. She had parked at the curb near the former Frazier Park Nursery—a place many have parked when running across the street to the Frazier Park Pharmacy or visiting Alpine Lumber. Residents have been parking there for many decades, Hawkins points out. What she hadn’t known, as few in town do, is that the federal dollars also brought with them federal regulations, including requirement to create wheelchair access cuts in all the curbs and sidewalks. Unfortunately, there are no signs to alert residents about the cuts. And there was no explanation of this change to the community. There are only the mysterious yellow dimpled pads, which many thought were utility access covers.

According to Kern County Roads Department Engineer Mark Evans, who has taken great pride in his work in Frazier Park, there are about 12 of these cuts, most on corners. “But because of existing power poles in some places, we couldn’t always put the ramp at the corner.” That means that, here and there now, there are “gotcha” curbs where we all used to park, which may now win you a ticket if you fail to notice the yellow pad—which are also often covered by the sand blowing from our dirt alleys. The cut across from the pharmacy is one of those.

According to Kern County Sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Brown, Hawkins was cited for violation VC 22500(L), “Parking in front of or upon that portion of a curb that has been cut down, lowered or constructed to provide wheelchair accessibility to the sidewalk.” Hawkins says she is considering fighting the ticket. This reporter called the number on her ticket to learn that she may write a letter to a review board explaining why she should not be charged for the infraction. Perhaps as the first person to receive this ticket here, they may take mercy. But now all the rest of us are forewarned.

This is part of the June 05, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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