Yesterday we reported on our home page and on Facebook, that the company that leased Chicago’s parking meters had sent a bill for $13.5 million to the City of Chicago for Disabled parking. Today we report that Mayor Rahm refuses to pay the bill. Its in the contract that Chicago owes the money, but then, this is Chicago…Caveat Emptor
If you drill down in the noise level you find that the $13.5 mil is not the total that Chicago Parking Meters was stuck for, it was actually almost $18 million, the rest CPM was contractually obligated to pay.
This may be the first time that anyone has actually kept track of the amount of ‘free’ parking that is given to handicapped parkers. What we could be saying is that cities the size of Chicago like New York, Houston, Los Angeles, London, are giving up beau coup bucks to provide ‘free’ parking to the handicapped.
Yesterday, it was reported that Mayor Rahm was incensed that there was so much cheating going on with handicapped placards and was developing a plan to stop it in the windy city. Now he has to pay the bill for the service.
If you give something for free, particularly something of rather great value, you can rest assured that there will be those that take advantage. My question is, as has been raised on these pages numerous times in the past, why do we give free parking to handicapped persons? Immediately we have created a black market in handicapped permits. Policing the process is difficult, if not impossible. And spaces that are needed for handicapped persons are filled by nincompoops who don’t need the service. The Handicapped tell me that they want access, not charity.
Let the handicapped pay for their parking, but while doing so, devise a system so they get say another half an hour added on the end of their parking period. This would give them extra time to get where they are going and return and would also immediately do away with the main benefit of bootlegged handicapped permits, free parking. Also perhaps a few on street spaces could be reserved for handicapped.
I wonder when some politician will look at the upwards of $20 million going missing from the parking revenue and start to wonder how to attack this ‘third rail’ of politics, free parking for the handicapped. I know many will think that charging the handicapped is something devised by Simon Legree in between twirls on his slimy mustache.
But the result is that spaces the handicapped would normally have are taken by others, and they have no place to park, free or not. It makes no sense.
Whether Chicago will wiggle out of paying its bills remains to be seen, however maybe now that they understand that parking costs something, they will take a harder look at the problem and come up with a reasonable solution. No, wait, these are politicians. What am I thinking.