Tag Archives: disabled parking
According to Chicago Parking Meters, LLC, a lot of disabled drivers are parking for free at metered parking spaces around the city. Millions of dollars worth.
CPM says it’s cost them $22 million in revenue in 2011 according to a story in today’s Chicago Tribune.
Per the parking meter lease agreement, approved by the vast majority of the Chicago City Council and signed by Mayor Daley in December of 2008, the meter company can bill the city when the number of drivers utilizing handicap license plates or disability parking placards exceeds a set percentage.
A week ago, CPM submitted their bill to the city for $22 million to compensate the company for disabled parkers just for 2011. The company invoiced the city $13 million for the same item in 2010.
Yes, this is a painfully obvious rhetorical question.
But after all sorts of TV, radio and newspaper news stories about the City of Chicago and the Secretary of State cracking down on drivers abusing handicapped parking privileges and parking for free at metered parking spots, some drivers still haven’t gotten the message.
Law enforcement was out in full force last Wednesday when 21 officers inspected 54 cars using disabled placards or handicapped plates and ticketed 10 with potential fines of $500 or $1000, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the Sun-Times story is the reporter poses the question about the viability of allowing handicapped drivers to continue to park for free at parking meters. How expensive will it become to enforce these laws if you need an army of cops enforcing the law? Perhaps it is smarter to just get rid of free metered parking for the disabled altogether.
Illinois State Representative Karen May (D-Highland Park) is proposing that this freebie for the handicapped goes away for all but the most truly disabled.
WTTW’s Paris Schutz puts together a nice nuts and bolts synopsis of Chicago Parking Meter, LLC’s recent $13.5 million bill for an overabundance of motorists utilizing handicap license plates and disabled placards to park for free in metered spots.
While shoppers were invading malls all over the state last weekend, Secretary of State Police were making their rounds of malls as well.
But the police weren’t looking for bargains. Instead, they were patrolling mall parking lots looking for scofflaws who abuse handicap parking privileges by illegally parking in spots designated for the handicapped or misusing a disabled parking placard.
Secretary of State Jesse White’s enforcement teams wrote 31 citations from shopping destinations all over the state including Rockford, Springfield, Marion, Bolingbrook, Lombard, Orland Park, Skokie, Carbondale, Peoria, Champaign and even Schaumburg’s Woodfield Mall in this neck of the woods.
White announced Tuesday that Secretary of State Police will be patrolling Woodfield Mall on the day after Thanksgiving to target scofflaws who use disabled parking placards or handicap license plates to park illegally in designated handicap parking spots.
Similar enforcement stings will be happening simultaneously statewide at malls in Rockford, Springfield and Marion.
“Our mission is not to give tickets, but to ensure the parking spaces are available to those who need them,” White said. “My message today is simple-if you don’t belong there-don’t park there.”
While White’s office conducted a similar enforcement program last year on Black Friday, this year’s clampdown comes on the heels of a Sun-Times expose’ that showed the immense volume of motorists using stolen or borrowed disabled parking placards to avoid having to pay for metered street parking.
I’ve wondered this for years.
Illinois law has allowed motorists with handicap license plates or those with a disabled parking placard hanging from the rear-view mirror to park for free at any parking meter for decades.
The prevailing thinking was that standard single head parking meters would be difficult if not impossible for a driver in a wheel chair or similarly disabled to reach up and plunk their quarter into the coin slot.
But as the definition for “handicapped” has expanded, the number of drivers utilizing handicap plates and placards exploded, and new parking meter payment technologies have been developed, the law can only be seen as outdated.
One in every 13 vehicles in Cook County utilize a handicap parking placard according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
This is just one of the many eye brow raising statistics the second part of the Sun-Times’ series on the abuse of placards used by disabled drivers.
A team of investigators led by reporter Chris Fusco surveyed the area in the South Loop bounded by Roosevelt, Van Buren, Desplaines and Canal and found as many as 60 cars using disabled placards parking for free at metered spots.
The article also reveals that nearly 600,000 handicap placards have been issued statewide with 204,787 or 34% of the state total, being utilized just in Cook County.
Since Chicago signed the parking meter lease deal in late 2008, and parking meter rates have skyrocketed in the subsequent years, the number of drivers illegally using handicapped placards to park for free has risen substantially according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Sun-Times investigative reporter Chris Fusco seems to have spent a long time, working with a retired police officer to stake out potential handicapped placard scofflaws as the story and video document 82 cases of abuse and catch several motorists red handed.
Tamley, the commissioner for the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities suggested this idea to the city council during budget hearings as a way to crack down on drivers who abuse disabled parking placards to get free metered parking, park in handicapped spaces or park in designated residential handicapped spots according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Tamley proposed fines for drivers caught abusing handicapped parking privileges to exceed $1000 when all fines, towing fees, etc. get totaled.
In addition, she says she working to tighten handicapped parking rules at all levels, which were positively received by aldermen says the Sun-Times.
Local celebrities, politicians, wealthy people all work out at the East Bank Club.
President Obama is a member there and so is Oprah.
The East Bank Club is perhaps Chicago’s most prestigious athletic club.
Its a pretty expensive membership, so it’s pretty surprising that some drivers were caught illegally hanging handicapped placards from their rearview mirror before entering the East Bank Club just to avoid feeding the meter.