As the District begins enforcement Thursday of the new parking policy for people with disabilities, travelers continue to ask questions about the red top meter program. Here are a few of those questions and answers.
What are the red top meters?
Since the start of the year, the District Department of Transportation has installed 400 of these distinctive meters in the city’s central business district and streets around federal buildings in Southwest Washington.
What happened today?
As of March 1, the city has ended a warning period and begun enforcing the rules that reserve these red top meter spaces for motorists with valid placards or plates issued to disabled people. Vehicles that violate the restriction now can be ticketed and towed.
What’s different, besides a reserved space?
The red top spaces, which are accessible for people with disabilities, also allow them to park for twice the normally allowed time in that area.
But they’re not free?
No. Motorists with disabilities must pay to use them. People now must pay to use all the metered spaces in the District, even if they have valid disability identification. At the red tops, they can park for double the time, but must pay for double the time. Everywhere else, they can park and pay for the regular time.
Does D.C. recognize other jurisdictions’ placards or plates ?
Yes, the appropriate placards and plates issued by other jurisdictions are valid for parking at the District’s spaces for the disabled, but drivers must obey the D.C. parking rules, not the rules of the jurisdictions that issued the identification.
Why do this?
The District’s goal is to discourage cheaters who were hogging spaces that should have been available for people with disabilities. Arlington County has a similar “all must pay” policy.
What about the old blue tops?
There are still about 3,300 blue top meters marking spaces that are accessible for disabled people but not reserved for them.
Will there be more red tops?
Yes. DDOT has said it will evaluate requests for red tops on any block with metered parking and cites possibilities that include streets around government buildings and blocks that generate especially heavy traffic, such as around the convention center, recreational and entertainment centers or medical facilities.
Over time, the District plans to convert about a third of the blue top meters to the reserved red tops.
How do we ask for more red tops?
You can make a request through the Mayor’s 311 Call Center, or contact Damon Harvey at Damon.Harvey@dc.gov, 202-671-2800. You can mail a request to the DDOT office at 55 M St. SE, 6th Floor, Washington, DC, 20003.