400 metered spaces—-where handicapped people can currently park for free—-are expected to be converted to pay parking, to be used only by people with handicapped placards, by the end of the month. From the Examiner:

The District Department of Transportation said the “all must pay” policy will begin later this month after it installs handicapped parking meters — all marked with red tops and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act — downtown and in Southwest’s federal corridors.

In a written statement, DDOT Director Terry Bellamy said the current system is rife with fraud that harms the District’s disabled population as others take advantage of the free parking.

“Right now, they suffer because the placards and plates that are issued to persons with disabilities are abused by people who just want to park for free,” Bellamy said. DDOT spokeswoman Monica Hernandez said the new meters, which should be in place by the end of January, will be located in areas where officials have noticed high use of handicapped parking permits.

“It had to do with areas where there is high use, where we see those large concentrations of ADA placards being utilized,” Hernandez said.

And according to the San Francisco edition of the Examiner, San Francisco is considering a similar initiative, though activists there say that “officials should crack down on placard abuse, and not on metered parking.”

DDOT doesn’t know how much additional revenue will be generated by the new policy. I talked to Hernandez, who says, “It’s not about revenue for us—-it’s about striking a balance and providing spaces for members of the community” who are covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Photo by DDOT

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