Chief Tom Griffin talks with Erica Barrett and her son Ryan about the impact of handicap parking regulations, as well as the Peabody Commission on Disability.

Chief Griffin wants the citizens of Peabody to understand that handicap parking is there for a reason. While of course it’s against the law to use a handicap spot when you do not have the right to do so, it’s also taking away from someone who seriously needs the parking spot.

Erica discusses her struggle when there is no handicap parking spots available to get her son out of their van safely. She explains how sometimes she has been put in a situation where she had to leave Ryan on the street. This makes Ryan confused, and can quickly turn into a behavior issue when he doesn’t understand why his mom is going back in the car but he is not.

Chief Griffin goes on to explain the difference between a traditional handicap spot verses a spot with the striped lines. The lines allow room for a ramp to come down with plenty of room for someone in a wheelchair.

Another issue Chief Griffin brought up was people who idle in the handicap parking spots. People think that just because they are still in the car makes it okay for them to idle. Erica explains how she has had to miss events or leave stores if there is not a safe place to take Ryan out of the van.

“The bottom line is if you don’t belong parking in those spots, please don’t. Be courteous and leave them for people who actually need them.” – Chief Griffin

The Peabody Police created a handicapped parking guide to help answer some common questions as well as an application, which can be found at the police station, City Hall, or on the Peabody Police’s website.

Peabody Commission on Disability

According to the city’s website, the Peabody’s Commission on Disability (COD) was created in 2016, under Chapter 6, Sec.185 of the Massachusetts General Laws. The purpose of the Commission is to bring about full and equal participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of life. It works to assure the advancement of legal rights and for the promotion of maximum opportunities, supportive services, accommodations and accessibility in a manner which fosters dignity and self-determination.

The “Safe Street Project” has the goal of making streets safe and making access easier for everyone. They focus on making sure the pavement is smooth, no tree rooms are coming up, and identifying where there is a need for curb cuts. This spring the focus will be on Lynn and Gardner Street in Peabody.

Another project is bringing apartment buildings up to any new codes and ensuring the parking lot is accessible.

If you have any comments or questions in regards to the Peabody Commission on Disability or their projects, please contact Beth O’Donnell at