The Washington Post

D.C. says anyone can now park at red top meters

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

In a recent article, you gave information regarding the required authorization for parking in a space for disabled people. Unfortunately, the article was misplaced.

My husband has a Maryland parking permit.We often attend performances in D.C. and don’t want to be towed or ticketed.

— Helen Balak, Howard County

On Monday, I would have just forwarded a copy of my Q&A on the District’s red top meter program for people with disabilities. But those rules, enforced for just a couple of weeks, have been suspended because of emergency legislation approved Tuesday by the D.C. Council and reported in The Post by Tim Craig.

As of today, according to the District Department of Transportation, anyone may park at a red top meter.

People with valid disability placards or plates may park at the red tops or any other D.C. meter for free and stay for twice the time normally allowed in that area. All others must pay and observe the rules on hours.

The District continues to recognize placards and plates issued by other jurisdictions.

The council’s emergency legislation will be in effect for 90 days.

My main concern right now is that the council’s action will lead to a lot of confusion about who can park where during the suspension, especially among visitors during the spring tourist season.

Anyone looking for the rules online is going to find a lot of information that predates the council’s action. That includes information on D.C. government Web sites as well as news sites.

This posting also updates the information about the red tops that I included in my guide to getting around during the 2012 Cherry Blossom Festival.

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.


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