Fairness at the parking meter

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It's ironic that the D.C. government is considering raising parking meter rates again in order to increase revenue ["AAA opposes Fenty parking proposal," Metro, April 15]. Rather than increase tolls, it should first address a loophole that allows anyone displaying a handicapped tag to park free at any parking meter.

In the District, anyone displaying a handicapped sticker or badge on his or her car can park for free at metered spaces for double the meter time; after that, sticker holders pay the meter rate. But take a stroll down 13th & D streets SW (behind the Agriculture Department), and you'll notice that at any given time during business hours, about 50 to 75 percent of the cars parked at meters display disability tags. While I'm sure many are legitimate, I've seen countless individuals arrive and depart from these vehicles without any obvious incapacities.

Perhaps the District should consider doing what Arlington does: Reserve prime parking spaces for cars with handicapped tags, but make the holders pay for parking at all times. I'll bet revenue into D.C. coffers would spike.

John Sloan, Arlington

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