City Still Trying To Crackdown On Disability Parking Abuse
But despite their best efforts, enforcement efforts by the Chicago Police Department don’t seem to be discouraging some drivers from misusing disabled parking placards according to the Sun-Times.
The newspaper reports since August 24th, the city has conducted enforcement investigations on 17 separate days. Police have stopped 234 drivers using disability parking placards and issued 47 violations when the driver was using another person’s placard to park for free at downtown parking meters.
The city has a lot of incentive to discourage this practice as it must compensate Chicago Parking Meters, LLC, the private firm which operates Chicago’s metered parking system, whenever disabled drivers park in metered spaces for free. So far, that bill for the past two years is over $35 million.
The Illinois General Assembly recently passed, and Governor Quinn signed a law that would essentially take away the ability of drivers with handicapped license plates or disability placards to park for free in metered parking spaces. But unfortunately for Chicago it doesn’t go into effect until 2014.
But Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is proposing a crackdown of another sort on residential handicap parking.
Last Wednesday, the Sun-Times reports the Mayor introduced an ordinance which would place stricter limitations on reserved parking spots on residential streets for drivers with handicap plates or disability placards.
Currently, handicapped vehicle owners can request a reserved parking space in front of, or near their residence.
But this program has also been abused. In some cases able bodied car owners, who do regularly drive disabled family members, but don’t live with the handicapped individual, have been awarded this type of reserved street parking. The Mayor wants to stop this practice.
The other major change is to limit the number of reserved handicap spaces to just 20% of the block. Drivers who are denied a reserved spot will be able to appeal to the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities but the law will make it more difficult to get a personal handicap parking space if it gets passed.
Here’s the Sun-Times story, “City Hall to extend crackdown on disability-parking abuse.”
And here’s their story regarding changes to residential handicap parking spots, “Mayor moves to crack down on residential disabled parking abuses.”
HAT TIP: Chicagoist