Advocates want the D.C. Council to clear up the confusion surrounding the red-top parking meters and offer more handicapped parking on city streets.
Red-top meters, which would be reserved for drivers with disabilities, began showing up on city streets in the past few months, but confusion over the new program -- how it would work and how many set-aside meters there would be -- prompted the D.C. Council to delay the project for 90 days.
Disability rights activists say drivers with disabilities don't mind paying for parking under the program but want meters accessible all around town – at least one every two blocks throughout the city, according to Kat Taylor of Equal Rights Center.
“I personally don’t oppose paying for parking as long as the access is equal,” said Kelly Buckland, of the National Council on Independent Living. “I don’t think I should be required to pay the same fee that the general public pays for access to thousands of more meters than I have access to.”
The city should also do a full survey of private garages and surface lots to ensure they follow federal guidelines, Buckland said.
The city program should address both accessibility and fairness, Ward 3 Council member Mary Cheh said, and she agreed that fraudulent use of disability placards should be more closely monitored.
“It is something that is on the minds of people,” she said. “One way I know this is because I have gotten emails from people.
For now -- until the disability parking program is re-started -- the city says anyone can park at those red top meters.