WASHINGTON — Drivers without handicapped tags or placards who park next to red top meters in D.C.’s central business district face a citation when enforcement starts May 8.
“We’re really excited about this program to bring parking for persons with disabilities in the central business district, an area with premium parking, a high demand area,” said Evian Patterson, citywide parking manager for the District Department of Transportation.
At the city’s more than 350 red top meters, people with disabilities will be able to park for up to four hours at the standard downtown meter rate of $2.30.
Patterson said red top meter rules will be in place round-the-clock: At no time will anyone without a handicapped placard or tag be allowed to park at them. Red top meters, Patterson said, must be freed during the times listed on the meters.
And while currently, people with the placards can park at any meter in the city for free, that all changes on the program’s start date: Everyone will have to keep the meters filled.
“Those spaces are available for persons with disabilities, but you are required to pay,” Patterson said.
The rules regarding the red top program have been in the works for years and the program has seen several start dates pushed back. Patterson said the city wanted to take the time to reach out to stakeholders and disability advocates before enacting the rules.
“This change is a step toward providing those same park services that we have for our general public,” Patterson said.
He said DDOT hopes to learn from this roll out and will look down the road at expanding the program outside the central business district.
Rules outside the central business district are unchanged.
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