Administration abandons threatened handicapped parking crackdown

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The Chronicle‘s Alexis Grant reports that Liliana Rambo’s bizarre proposal to cut down on handicapped parking abuse by eliminating designated free parking for individuals with legitimate handicapped parking permits has been shot down (for now):

The city has shelved a proposal to tighten restrictions on free parking at city meters by motorists displaying placards indicating they are disabled.

The idea, intended to help curb abuse of placards, has been put aside, at least temporarily, partly because of a negative public response, said Michelle Colvard, chairwoman of the Public Parking Commission’s committee on disabilities.

Drivers using disabled-parking placards can continue to park all day for free at metered spaces downtown instead of facing the four-hour limit that had been proposed.

Several people with disabilities spoke against the proposed change at a public forum last month, saying it would hurt those it was intended to help.

Instead, the Parking Commission will focus on pressing the state Legislature to designate fraudulent use of a disabled-parking placard as a Class B misdemeanor. That would increase the maximum fine from $500 to $2,000.

“We really need to focus on getting the penalty increased, and there’s other avenues that we can explore,” said Colvard, who uses a wheelchair.

Exactly! If the goal is to crack down on people using handicapped parking placards fraudulently, then why was Liliana Rambo proposing to crack down on all handicapped parkers, even those with legitimate placards? Crack down on the abusers first, not legitimately handicapped people.

For whatever reason, neither Liliana Rambo nor Councilmember Michael Berry (who defended Rambo’s bad proposal here) were quoted in this story. Here’s hoping they’re not still pushing the earlier proposal behind the scenes.

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