DETROIT – A Detroit pizzeria owner who was upset over people getting $150 tickets for unwittingly parking in a handicap zone got a bucket of blue paint and marked the street himself.
“People come to Detroit, try to support our city and walk away with a $150 ticket, and they feel like they were tricked into it and they kind of were tricked into it,” said Tony Sacco, co-owner of Mootz Pizzeria and Bar.
The last straw: A woman and her children getting ice cream found a ticket on their car across the street from Sacco's pizzeria.
"I was talking to my buddy sitting with me and I said, ‘We’re going to go buy some blue paint.’ And we did,” Sacco told WDIV-TV.
There is a single sign along the Library Street curb indicating that parking is reserved for drivers with a handicap tag. But Sacco said it's confusing because parking enforcers consider the street space reserved for as many as four vehicles. He wants drivers to be warned.
“I mentioned it to the people writing the tickets. I said, ‘People don’t understand this is handicapped,’ and they said, ‘That’s their problem. They should read the sign,'" Sacco said. "That was the attitude.”
The TV coverage and the blue paint got the city's attention Wednesday. Public works director Ron Brundidge apologized for any confusion and acknowledged that the “signage could have been more clear.” He said sign changes would be made.
The paint, meanwhile, was power-washed away by a city crew.
City traffic engineer Prasad Nannapaneni earlier met Sacco on the street.
“I did the right thing,” Sacco said, standing next to the bright pavement.
“I'm not sure of that part,” the engineer replied.