City Desk

Less Free Parking for Disabled Drivers

400 metered spaces—where handicapped people can currently park for free—are expected to be converted to pay parking, to be used only by people with handicapped placards, by the end of the month. From the Examiner:

The District Department of Transportation said the "all must pay" policy will begin later this month after it installs handicapped parking meters — all marked with red tops and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act — downtown and in Southwest's federal corridors.

In a written statement, DDOT Director Terry Bellamy said the current system is rife with fraud that harms the District's disabled population as others take advantage of the free parking.

"Right now, they suffer because the placards and plates that are issued to persons with disabilities are abused by people who just want to park for free," Bellamy said. DDOT spokeswoman Monica Hernandez said the new meters, which should be in place by the end of January, will be located in areas where officials have noticed high use of handicapped parking permits.

"It had to do with areas where there is high use, where we see those large concentrations of ADA placards being utilized," Hernandez said.

And according to the San Francisco edition of the Examiner, San Francisco is considering a similar initiative, though activists there say that "officials should crack down on placard abuse, and not on metered parking."

DDOT doesn't know how much additional revenue will be generated by the new policy. I talked to Hernandez, who says, "It's not about revenue for us—it's about striking a balance and providing spaces for members of the community" who are covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Photo by DDOT

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  • r. u. kidding

    This is only fair

  • RachaelB

    I don't know if I'm really agree to that, but we want fairness so we have to follow the law.

  • Southeast Ken

    In my opinion, there are too many parking spaces for the handicap. Many people have handicap placecards and there's nothing wrong with them. I've driven my mother's vehicle with an handicap placement card. I too park in handicap spaces close at the mall or WalMart.

  • Win the Future

    Congratulations, Southeast Ken, you've broken the law and should be hit with the big fine for it, but it doesn't mean that everyone else using the placards without a visible injury are freeloaders.

    I have a temporary handicapped placard for a back injury from a car accident. I'm not in a wheelchair. I'm not on crutches. But when I walk a distance, I pay for it in the form of a lot of pain. I'd love to stop using the placard. I've been doing physical therapy for nearly a year, and I am eager to be able to walk without pain and without a need for a placard. I'm tired of being glared at because I'm not visibly disabled enough for some people.

  • rage

    It's just a way of making money...dc is always finding a way of making its the handicap they want money from.

  • Bill

    If possible, can the city paper follow up on this story? last thursday, march 1st, i noticed tickets were issued to folks that had handicap tags & had not fed the meter. since that day, i have seen no more tickets issued & the same group of folks are parking with the handicap tags, not feeding the meters & not moving their cars for 4 hours. looks like the city has stopped ticketing these folks but i haven't seen anything about a temporary stop from DC govt. please look into this as I am sure many folks would be interested in knowing the status of this. thanks & keep up the good work.