A story in the Portland Tribune outlines the dilemma: providing the disabled with easy access parking in downtown vs. people who may be using disabled placards that aren't really theirs just to be able to park for free.
I have read that some places want to differentiate between wheelchair parking and disabled non-wheelchair parking. Jodie and I would fall in between the cracks on this one. More often than not we use our scooters when we are in public. But sometimes, for short distances, we don't use them.
The task force charged with implementing the state's new rules the continue to guarantee free parking to wheelchair and scooter users, but not for the disabled who do not use wheelchairs and scooters. I'm happy to see that the majority of task force want to continue the free parking for all, and crack down on abusers of the program --- though that is much easier said than done.
I must confess that the two years that I worked downtown from 2002-2004, I took advantage of the free parking using my disabled placard. It was nice. I parked on SW Jackson between 5th and 6th every day...for free.
Even so, I do feel for downtown businesses who have so much of the convenient parking surrounding their business taken up by long term disabled parkers.
I do not really know the answers. Short term parking should be just that -- short term -- for disabled and non-disabled alike.
Maybe a new kind of sensor parking meter:
Set it so that people cannot put additional money in the meter to extend the time beyond the time limit on the meter, or can extend it once.
A disabled vehicle would not need to pay, but would be under the same time limit as people who paid.
I don't know if the costs would make such solution possible, but I think it is a fair solution to the dilemma that is worth a look.
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