Tag Archives: Handicapped Parking

Handicapped Parking Spot? Stop Sign? Or Both?

Handicapped stop sign

What the Hell is going on here?

How is it possible that a handicapped parking spot is where a stop sign is posted?

We came across this confusing mish mash of traffic signs at Drexel Blvd. and 39th.

It’s illegal for drivers to park within 30′ of a stop sign (on the approaching side). But this reserved handicapped parking spot shares a sign post with the stop sign.

Theoretically, it would seem the person parking in their reserved handicapped spot could also be ticketed for parking too close to a stop sign.

Huh?

Police Catch Shoppers Parked Illegally In Handicapped Spots

NBC 5, hanging out with law enforcement in a few shopping mall parking lots on Black Friday and finds some drivers parking illegally in spots reserved for handicapped drivers.

Earlier this week, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced a crackdown on this type of illegal behavior over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend at malls and shopping centers.

The fines are expensive, ranging from $500 to $2500, and drivers violating these laws risk having their driver’s license suspended.

White Announces Black Friday Crackdown On Disability Parking

Don’t even think about it!

If you have some Black Friday shopping planned at a mall and see that alluring empty space reserved for handicapped drivers–don’t even consider parking there.

That’s because Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is sending out stepped up enforcement to bust people who illegally park in these spots.

Illinois Secretary of State Police will be at Water Tower Place and Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, as well as malls in Carbondale, Champaign, Peoria, Fairview Heights, Marion, Rockford and Springfield according to the Daily Herald.

A Short History On How Disabilty Parking Laws Changed In Illinois

The new disability parking placard that still allows drivers to park at meters for free.

On January 1st, most “handicapped” or “disabled” drivers will lose the ability to park for free at Chicago’s parking meters.

Illinois state law changed in 2012. Now, only severely handicapped person who cannot operate or access a parking meter due to their disability will qualify for the new state placards.

The impetus for the change resulted, ironically, from the city’s 2008 parking meter lease deal which dramatically increased the cost to park at metered spaces around the city. Prices quadrupled in the first year and now, Chicago’s downtown meter rates are the most expensive in North America.

Some drivers who had access to disability parking placards used them to park for free all across the city, especially in the Loop where rates are the most expensive. The problem for the city was that the parking meter lease contract allowed Chicago Parking Meters, LLC the private company which paid the city $1.16 billion in 2008 in exchange for control of the parking meters and it’s lucrative revenue stream, to bill Chicago for lost revenue from all the people using their placards to park for free.

Those bills came to a shocking $55 million, an amount that most assuredly played a big part in moving the new law through the Illinois General Assembly.

New State Disability Placards To Debut In 2014

Starting in 2014, drivers with this type of placard will now have to pay to park at parking meters.

When 2014 begins the vast majority of people who have disability placards or handicap license plates will lose their ability to park at a metered parking spot for free.

Historically, anyone with the correct placard or license plate were allowed to park for free at meters. But the explosion of disability placards issued to Illinois drivers, combined with abuse of free parking privileges at Chicago’s very expensive parking meters motivated the Illinois General Assembly to change the law in 2012. There are nearly 800,000 people in Illinois with either a disability parking placard or handicap license plates.

Starting January 1st, drivers with the traditional blue placard will have to pay the parking meters like everyone else. However, the law allows for people who are severely physically disabled that they cannot operate a meter or are in a wheel chair will be issued a special placard that allows them to still park for free.

But now as the current crop of disability placards get ready to expire at the end of 2013, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, the Secretary of State is seeing relatively few applications for the new type of placard and just a fraction of those are being approved.

Cop Ticketing Drivers Legitimately Using Disability Placards

According to CBS 2′s Pam Zekman, one over zealous Chicago police officer is wrongfully issuing tickets to drivers who are using their disability placards to park in designated handicapped parking spots legally.

The story spotlights the plight of an elderly gentleman who dropped off his wife at the entrance to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, for treatment of her brain cancer, and then proceeded to park the car in the spots reserved for the handicapped.

City Council Votes To Limit Reserved Parking For Disabled

It was a unanimous vote in the Chicago City Council on Wednesday.

According to CBS 2 and the Sun-Times, alderman overwhelmingly supported Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposal to limit the number of parking spaces per block for drivers with handicapped license plates or disability placards.

There are some residential streets in the city where a disproportionate number of these reserved spaces exist, reducing the number of potential parking spots for other residents.

This change to the municipal code will limit this type of parking to no more than 20% of the total number of available parking spots per block.

If a disabled driver is denied a reserved spot due to this new rule, they do have the opportunity to appeal to Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities which can review and possible overturn the denial.

Tailgating Bears Fans Busted For Disabled Parking Abuse

Talk about a buzz kill.

Just imagine it. The weather is beautiful, even balmy. Friends and family are tailgating, the grill is going, beer is flowing and everyone is excited about the Bears’ Monday night game at home against the Lions.

But then, Illinois Secretary of State law enforcement walk up and nail you for parking in a handicap parking spot.

That’s what happened to a handful of people tailgating at the Waldron Parking Deck outside Soldier Field Monday night according to the CBS Chicago website.

City Still Trying To Crackdown On Disability Parking Abuse

They’re trying.

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.

Statewide Handicap Parking Abuse Sting Nails 31

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White

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.