The D.C. Council is expected to introduce legislation today that would reserve more than 10 percent of all parking meters as handicapped spots.
At a press conference Monday, Councilwoman Mary M. Cheh unveiled the plan that would convert 1,800 of the city’s 17,000 parking meters to handicapped spots designated by a red-top meter.
While Mayor Gray says he wants the District to be a national model for accommodating disabled drivers, some think that’s an unnecessarily large number of spots.
“Many times, I go to places, parking lots at Safeway or the Target across the river, and those spots reserved for handicapped are largely empty,” said Councilman Jack Evans, who represents downtown. “If you reserve 1,800 spots and 1,700 of them are always empty, at a time when parking is such a premium for our downtown, you don’t want to find yourself in that mix.”
The Washington Times reports that 24,000 D.C. residents hold valid disabled-driver placards—a number that does not include the commuters and tourists in the city each day.
The legislation is a revival of the red-top meter parking program that was rolled back in March. Under this new plan, red-top meters would indicate a handicapped spot, and only motorists with a valid decal will be able to pay to park at the meter. Currently, disabled motorists are able to park free of charge at any meter, which critics say can lead to system abuse.
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