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Wellington helps build a more accessible Aotearoa

12 October 2017

Wellington helps build a more accessible Aotearoa

CCS Disability Action Board Member Phillip Blundell MNZM (left) and Wellington City Council’s Transport Strategy and Operations Portfolio Leader, Councillor Calvi-Freeman (right).

On the 11 October 2017 CCS Disability Action, Wellington City Council and Thundermaps signed a partnership agreement which cements a collaboration set to revolutionise the reporting and enforcement of mobility parking abuse.

This revolutionary Access Aware app will connect people who encounter mobility parking misuse directly with Wellington City Council’s Parking Enforcement Teams.

Present at the signing was CCS Disability Action’s CCS Disability Action Board Member, Phillip Blundell MNZM, and Wellington City Council Councillor Calvi-Freeman.

This game-changing initiative will prove life-changing for Wellington residents with access issues. “Our research shows that levels of parking abuse have not improved in ten years, with abuse rates still unacceptably high, despite increases in fines and attempts to grow awareness of the problem. Using a mobility parking space without a permit even ‘for just a minute’ can block a disabled person’s opportunity to live life freely,” explains CCS Disability Action Chief Executive David Matthews.

Put them in their place. Stop Mobility Parking abuse.

Users can make a report of any parking misuse they observe. These parking misuse reports can be shared with Wellington City Council’s City Council’s Parking Enforcement Team so that they can monitor the use and abuse of parks.

“Misuse of mobility parks in New Zealand is a big issue and a real concern for those with disabilities who have a genuine need for these parking spaces,’’ says the Council’s Transport Strategy and Operations Portfolio Leader, Councillor Chris Calvi-Freeman.

“With this project we hope to begin solving the problem of mobility parking card abuse and make it easier for those with disabilities to find parks,” he says.

By downloading and using the Access Aware app on their smartphone or tablet, users can make a real difference to the disabled community by actively creating social change. “We believe the data collected on parking abuse can influence the ways councils provide mobility parks and enforce them. Eventually we hope that this data can be used to advocate for the successful change of legislation so that both private and public mobility parks are enforced equally and consistently across the board,” says Mr. Matthews.

This is a bold vision, but a wholly worthwhile one totally in line with CCS Disability Action’s organisational values and commitments to disabled people and the creation of more inclusive communities.

New Zealand is a progressive, first-world country, and we should do better.

The app was initially launched in Christchurch on October 1 and already has 288 downloads and 116 reports made. In 2018 CCS Disability Action will successively rollout this technology to their membership, networks and via their Mobility Parking permit-holders database as well as across the councils and businesses of Aotearoa.

The Access Aware app also allows users to see the locations of known mobility park locations on a map in real time so they can find a park when they need it. They can also add locations and descriptions of parks not already mapped. The purpose of Access Aware is to drive change, not just for mobility park locations but also for other accessibility issues that our communities face.

Currently there is no single place where you can easily access reliable data for access information New Zealand wide. Access Aware aims to change that with world first technology offering pre-mapped locations and information that will make accessing parking, communities, walkways, businesses, utilities, public conveniences and accommodation simple and easy. The app won’t just provide information, it will also allow users to upload reports and map relevant information themselves.

Access Aware has the potential to be very useful for all disabled people, their families and whānau in this country. Access Aware can significantly improve everyday access issues that prevent many people from fully participating in their

communities. It’s free. It’s easy to use and it could help change the accessibility landscape in New Zealand.

People interested in taking part in the pilot are invited to download the free app on Google Play or Apple store by searching for 'Access Aware'.

For more information visit www.ccsDisabilityAction.org.nz/AccessAware


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