- Putin calls Internet ‘CIA project’ that must be controlled
- Muslims offended that 9/11 museum movie speaks of jihad
- Obama marks Armenian massacre, avoids using the word ‘genocide’
- Gov. Rick Perry: ‘It’s not a dare, it’s a promise’; Texas will fight BLM
- Howard Dean cheers Obama’s approach to Russian aggression
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s childhood nickname? ‘The Surprise’
- Democrat Grimes backs Keystone XL pipeline in Kentucky Senate race
- China spends for 17 new warships as U.S. cuts back military
- In Japan, Obama plays soccer with a robot and warns students of climate change
- FDA proposes ban on e-cigarette sales to minors
D.C. may reserve 10% of meters for disabled
Parking for others would get tougher
A D.C. Council member will introduce a bill Tuesday that reserves more than 10 percent of the District’s on-street parking spaces for disabled motorists, a “red-top” meter program designed to comply with federal law despite cutting into an already thin supply of curbside spots in the nation’s capital.
Mary M. Cheh, Ward 3 Democrat, said her legislation allows disabled motorists with valid placards to park by 1,800 clearly marked meters out of 17,000 on-street spaces in the District.
“Currently, if somebody is disabled, there are no reserved spaces for them to park on our streets,” Ms. Cheh said at a news conference Monday in front of the John A. Wilson Building. “Persons with disabilities have to fight for an on-street parking space just like everybody else.”
Under the proposal, anyone who parks at a red-top metered spot illegally would face a $250 fine.
The measure could set off controversy among members of the disabled population and the able-bodied population. Ms. Cheh even started her news conference by noting that “the demand for on-street parking exceeds the supply.”
Soumya Dey, an acting associate director at the District Department of Transportation, said the agency looked at best practices across the nation and established that roughly 10 percent would be an appropriate allocation of spaces for disabled motorists. About 24,000 D.C. residents hold valid disabled-driver placards, although the figure does not include the large number of commuters and visitors who flock to the city each day, officials said.
Pressed by reporters about the potential impact of taking a sizable chunk of space away from able-bodied drivers, Ms. Cheh said, “The Americans with Disabilities Act requires us to provide a similar opportunity in all realms of government facilities to the disabled as well as to those who are not disabled.
“So what we are doing is something that is required by law —but second, morally required as well,” she said. “We have to give the same opportunities to people who are disabled and people who are not.”
The bill is an attempt to correct the missteps of a red-top program that had to be stopped midstream in March through council action. It also replaces the “blue-top” meter system that offered free parking to the disabled, but which some able-bodied motorists abused “by fraudulently displaying handicapped placards on their dashboards in order not to pay parking-meter fees,” Ms. Cheh said.
Anyone could park at the blue-top meters if they paid, and now the blue tops simply designate places where it would be advisable for disabled motorists to park, according to the council member’s office.
The bill from Ms. Cheh, chairwoman of the council’s Committee on Environment, Public Works and Transportation, also mandates a survey of off-street parking garages and lots and requires any garage that is accessible to a person with disabilities to post a sign at its entrance. She plans to hold a public hearing on her bill on Oct. 15.
Derek K. Orr, director of the D.C. Office of Disability Rights, said allotting an ample share of parking to disabled residents is “the right thing to do” and the city should serve as a model for other jurisdictions. He noted that disabled residents are not able to take advantage of the numerous underground parking spots in city garages.
John B. Townsend, a spokesman for AAA-Mid Atlantic’s Washington office, said the 10 percent allotment of parking spots for the disabled is in line with federal guidelines and census figures, but that doesn’t mean everyone will be happy.
Under the proposed program, qualified motorists who park in the red-top spaces must pay like everybody else, but a 32 cent fee to pay by phone will be waived.
“It’s still a benefit because you get a parking spot,” Mr. Townsend said.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- FDA extends its reach to e-cigarettes in proposal
- Obamacare class-action suit opens a new legal front
- Most Americans OK with Obamacare contraception mandate: study
- Supreme Court upholds Michigan affirmative action ban
- Sebelius not running for Senate, HHS confirms: Report
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Obama's veil of secrecy is pierced
- Obamacare class-action suit opens a new legal front
- Obama avoids 'red line' for China, prepared to impose tougher sanctions on Russia
- 'Top Gun' for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy's approval
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- 'Conservatives' should feel exposed by Bundy's racist comments: Scarborough
- Texas is next! AG warns BLM wants 90,000 acres after Bundy ranch standoff
- Sold out: Ukraine's leadership swapped best military weapons for cash
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- In its hunt for Senate, Republican candidates campaign against Harry Reid
- Opposition rising to Colorado gun control laws
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Celebrity deaths in 2014