Right when students thought parking in D.C. could not get any more complicated, the D.C. Council introduced another law.
New legislation, proposed by D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh, will change how public handicap parking functions. Previously, disabled citizens could park in “blue-top” meters free of charge and time restrictions. However, some drivers took advantage of the no-pay area and parked all day. Cheh thought it was necessary to re-evaluate the program.
The accounts of fraud are legitimate and action should be taken. However, the new policy is just another complex D.C. parking regulation to worry about.
A law issued this summer required students to obtain D.C. license plates in order to park in specific residential zones. The law confused students and passed relatively under the radar. The Eagle believes the changes to handicap laws will be passed the same way.
It’s simply bad policy.
Disabled citizens can no longer park for free. Fraud is a serious matter, but making disabled citizens pay for parking is not the way to prevent abuse. The D.C. Council could certainly strengthen parking enforcement around metered areas.
This policy is creating the wrong dialogue; we are now debating disability rights instead of focusing on the abundance of parking fraud.
Combating fraud with a confusing series of color-schemed meters cannot be the answer. If this law passes, how will people know whether to park by a “red-top” meter or a “blue-top” meter? This is especially pertinent to D.C.’s large foreign population. D.C. is home to thousands of foreign diplomats and tourists coming from all over to enjoy the monuments. If dissecting this law is difficult for residents, it will only be harder to figure out for people whose first language is not English. Also, the lobbyists and politicians who are not in D.C. for long will have no idea to what the “red-top” meters indicate, especially because the color red is not normally associated with handicap parking.
Drivers in D.C. are going to have questions, and the law is going to turn into more of a hassle than a blessing. D.C. parking enforcement may end up dealing with more parking abuse than before.
AU has a significant population of students with disabilities. With parking time now limited and expensive, it may detract students with disabilities from coming to AU. AU is not immediately accessible by Metro, and the AU shuttle is often unpredictable. Students with disabilities who depend on driving will encounter problems if this law passes.
Driving in D.C. is stressful enough Changing the colors of meters will only make driving more difficult, and will force drivers to give up before they lose their sanity. Maybe, the goal of the D.C. Council is to get drivers off the road entirely – one can only hope they would let us know. ≠ E