Did You Know You Could Get Handicapped Parking on a Residential Street?

by Prince Of Petworth February 28, 2008 at 11:22 pm 16 Comments

IMG_7081, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

I think this is fantastic. I know parking on my block has gotten a lot tougher over the last year. It’s nice to know if someone is disabled they have this option.

  • geep

    The folks who have this parking spot are the nicest people you will ever meet. They are long time residents who have seen it all…

  • This may not be very PC but I have a problem with these. Street parking is a shared resource. Driving is also a privilege, not a right. There are many, many handicapped people in the District who cannot even afford cars. So why should we give extra privileges to those lucky enough to be able to both 1) own a single family home and 2) drive a car?

    Setting aside a parking spot like this also places an unfair burden on parking for everyone else. Nobody can use that spot when he’s not there, unlike any other parking spot. It’s a much greater cost than just one car on the street.

    Finally, when I lived in Mt. Pleasant there was one of these on Kenyon street. The house in question had offstreet parking in the back. This just seems wrong.

    There are many, many reasons why people might want to take public resources for their own private use on the basis of exceptional need. I think parking a car does not pass the test of a “necessity” given that we don’t have any system to give free cars and gasoline to handicapped, poor people in the first place. This seems like a handout to someone who’s already pretty well off when there are much greater needs.

    I am not criticizing any individual who’s got one of these permits. If the system is in place and I qualified, damn straight I’d take advantage of it. I just think the system doesn’t make much sense.

  • Yeah, unfortunately we know this now. Read into that what you will.

  • mz. lady

    i love the folks who have this spot! they are the neighborhood watch of that section of new hampshire ave. and they have a beautiful, interesting, lovely front yard.

    i realize those points have nothing to do with their rights to have a reserved handicap spot, but i don’t care. :)

  • engineergirl

    Well it’s better than the elderly but not handicapped the neighbor in my previous neighborhood, who expected everyone to leave the space in front of her house open for her car. If you did make the mistake of parking there, she would march over to pound on your door and demand that you move. And there were always plenty of free spaces on our block. I’m so happy I don’t live there anymore.

  • the city seems incapable of moving these signs once the handicapped person no longer resides on the street.

    also, not everyone that lives in a single family house and owns a car is well off.

  • “the city seems incapable of moving these signs once the handicapped person no longer resides on the street.”

    They sure are. Won’t stop them from ticketing you, though.

  • bogfrog

    Jamie – do you also believe it’s unfair for elderly and disabled to get reduced fair metro cards? Do you think (as did some of the UK in 1995) that a medical doctor needs to perform an incapacity test every 6 months to confirm that the person is actually still disabled?

    Check the demographics. People with disabilities incur high monthly costs for transportation and durable medical equipment, and yet disability can strike anyone regardless of race, religion, gender, or national origin. Certainly, chronic illness and disability tracks with SES. Low SES predicts worse outcomes and increased mortality from a number of causes, e.g. breast cancer. High SES predicts better outcomes. (Trivers K et al, CEBP 2007;16(9):1822-1827.) There is likely a cycle of cause and effect.

    So have a heart. If the person with the special parking signs can walk 10 feet, get in a car, and take care of their activities of daily living, then this is a good thing. For you, it might not be any strain to park 20 or 100 feet away. But for some people, 100 feet is difficult and/or painful. If a car enables a disabled person to be independent and remain in the community (vs a nursing home), then I believe that a benefit conveys to all people in that community. Get a pedometer and consider how easy it is for you to walk or cycle several miles each day, and realize this is not true for everyone.

  • # 14thandYou Says:
    February 29th, 2008 at 12:57 pm

  • geep

    Jamie – Sometimes you just have to accept that life ain’t always fair and it’s good to do the right thing for people in need. I’m actually shocked that the city acted so compassionately and issued this. Personally, I was happy to see them get a dedicated spot. I’m sure if you knew the predicament of this couple, you wouldn’t be so harsh.

  • bogfrog, read what I wrote.

    Parking is a shared resource. Driving is not a right. That is why we have public transportation.

    I am perfectly fine with all the things that you said. This is not about what’s fair for me versus an elderly person.

    Why are you concerned about the elderly person who owns a single-family house and a car and shouldn’t have to walk an extra ten feet, but you aren’t concerned about all the ones who can’t even afford to eat, or have heat, or have no car at all and have to take buses everywhere and walk much farther?

  • bogfrog

    I am “concerned about the elderly person who owns a single-family house and a car and shouldn’t have to walk an extra ten feet” precisely because people including you think that “setting aside a parking spot like this also places an unfair burden on parking for everyone else.” I am concerned when I hear an able-bodied people arguing to revoke the parking space.

    My argument has nothing to do with people who can’t afford to eat. We are making separate arguments. You argue that society should not give away parking privileges to people who own $400,000 homes, given that there are people with more urgent and life-threatening needs. I argue that parking privileges keep these home-owning disabled people independent, and that walking 10 feet for them is equivalent to an able-bodied person walking half a mile in terms of pain and exertion. Obviously, our arguments are not entirely contradictory. We are justifying the position differently.

  • DCer

    I had a neighbor who would yell at me for parking in front of her house and I’d always say, get it zoned handicapped and I won’t be able to park there, she never did because her complaints weren’t legit.

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s a great idea if the person proves need. I’m happy to walk to extra few feet.

  • Toby

    Our street has no zone-restricted parking and no handicapped residents with special permits. So the parking is pretty much first come first served. I had a neighbor who yelled at me for parking in front of her house. The parking enforcement people told me she didn’t have a leg to stand on, as there is no on street reserved parking and the street is public. But there is an unwritten law that neighbors shouldn’t block other people’s “spots” in front of their houses, if they can help it, despite the fact that streets are public property. I wonder how others deal with this situation. I remember living in Mt. Pleasant and never getting home early enough to even get a spot near my house, let alone in front of it.

  • Anonymous

    I am suprised to see that DC has these signs. My in-laws in Chicago have them on their street. I always thought it was a good idea. I would rather give spaces to these people than to the car-share companies! They are making a profit off of public space. And judging by the number of private spaces they bought, giving up our street spaces was probably unneccesary.


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