Solve the problem, once and for all

The city of Chicago woke up a few days ago and found that one in eleven cars on its streets had handicapped permits.  In the city, those with handicapped permits park for free. Mayor Rahm has decreed that the city will ‘crack down’ on those scofflaws who use illegal permits.  A legislator in the state house wants to take it a step further. Read about it here.

Yep –she wants to do away with free parking for the disabled. And guess what, it appears that solves the problem.  Here’s what the story says about the rules in Philly:

Other cities and states have grappled with the free-parking issue. In Philadelphia, city leaders eliminated all-day free parking for disabled people in metered spots downtown and instead offered a one-hour free-parking grace period after metered time expires.

The Philadelphia ordinance, which also mandated a handicap-only space on every metered block, took effect in April 2000. In the first nine months after that, meter revenues went up 17 percent as handicap-marked vehicles disappeared off the streets.

In Chicago, a handicapped permit means over $2000 in free on street parking. That’s a big number.  So the motivation to cheat is great.  When the financial reasons for cheating go away, so do the cheats. The state legislator is correct — simply raising the fine won’t stop the problem. The fine is already high. Plus there doesn’t seem to be a reason why handicapped shouldn’t pay.  The argument articulated by the Illinois Secretary of State doesn’t hold water…That she is concerned that some of the disabled who can’t afford it won’t be able to park.  Well — there may be many people who can’t afford it who can’t park. Does that mean we have a means test for parking charges and if you make less than a certain amount you don’t have to pay for parking. Nonsense.

I hope Representative Karen May pushes her law through. She has a chance since she isn’t running for reelection and can withstand the slings and arrows she will receive.


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2 Responses to Solve the problem, once and for all

  1. Keith says:

    I’ve heard that one reason that vehicles displaying ADA placards park for free has to do with the meters not being ADA compliant. This might have been true years ago, but all our pay stations are compliant (part of the RFP). What are other reasons – outdated or otherwise – for making ADA parking free?

    In our fair city, each parking space generates an average $2,000+ per year. Last census we took of placards was 850. That’s $1.7 million per year that our Transportation department could use for curb cuts, sidewalks, etc that might benefit the ADA community.

    • Kyle says:

      Along these lines I’ve heard the position before that while the payment device itself may be ADA compliant it is more common than not for ADA access curbs to not be conveniently located to access those devices. Essentially you’re asking a person to go to the end of a sidewalk and then all the way back down to the location of their vehicle to pay.

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