Morning Read: Disabled Drivers Unhappy Over Parking Meter Plan

The District’s reworked disabled parking plan doesn’t look like it’s going to have an easier time being implemented this time around.

The new plan—which is now being criticized by both disabled and non-disabled drivers—would reserve more than 10 percent of all parking meters as handicapped spots. The spots would be labeled with a red top parking meter and require disabled drivers to pay for parking. Disabled drivers do not currently have to pay for parking, which, according to city officials, has led to people using fraudulent handicapped decals to park.

The Council already had to take action and roll back a previous parking plan in March that also did not require disabled drivers to pay.

But at a sparsely attended committee meeting Monday, disabled drivers, according to the Washington Times, argued against the new parking fees, saying the city is trying to increase revenue on the backs of the disabled—a group that has the most limited access to public transportation.

City officials have insisted throughout that the parking fees would help cut back on fraud and allow for disabled drivers to more easily find parking spots.

Kelly Buckland, executive director of the National Council on Independent Living, who worked with Councilwoman Mary Cheh to revive the new parking plan said:

VIA Examiner: "The bill authorizes [the District Department of Transportation] to move forward with the program but doesn't outline how that would happen or list the things that need to happen before that would happen," he said.

Abled drivers have also complained about the new plan, arguing that in a city where parking demands exceed the supply, reserving 1,800 of the city’s 17,000 parking spots for disabled drivers is just too much.

The bill still has to be passed by the full Council, and if it passes, likely won’t be implemented before the summer.


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