Dear PoP – Handicap Parking Discount?

“Dear PoP:

I work in a large building downtown, between George Washington University, a park and several Federal government buildings. Due to medical appointments about twice a month I drive to work and pay to park at parking meters, moving my car several times a day to avoid being ticketed.

It used to be quite competitive finding a space until DC raised its hourly meter rate to $2 an hour. After that most people seemed to give up on the street parking and instead parked in garages or took Metro which I guess was the point of it. However, in the past few months more and more of the parking places are taken up by those with handicap placards and most of them are from Virgina and Maryland. DC allows 4 hours of free parking at a meter if you have a handicap placard so if these people move their cars once (and I rarely see the parking control officers monitor this) they get free parking for 8 hours valued at $16!

At lunch today I did an informal survey and noticed about 75% of the cars parked on my block were getting free on-street parking at meters. Has anyone else noticed this in other areas? Is it fair that DC allows out-of-state commuters this free parking benefit if they have a handicap placard? From my observation most drivers seem to be heading across the park to Federal office buildings, so should the Feds be paying DC to accommodate the parking needs of their handicapped employees?”

I think the bigger questions is whether or not the people are really handicapped. I remember the Post had a story (and a number of follow up stories) about this after a women complained that her car was towed but she said it had a handicap placard then it turned out the placard was for her husband (who wasn’t there).

But to the original question – do you think there should be a discount for handicap parking?

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