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City on Hook for Handicapped Parking in Metered Parking Spots

By Chuck Sudo in News on Dec 13, 2011 4:40PM

Image Credit: Paul Saini
If you haven't read the Sun-Times series on the abuses of handicapped parking placards, do so as it's a must-read. The Emanuel Administration has been quick to react to the series. A proposal to raise fines for abusing handicapped parking sailed through the City Council Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety yesterday.

If passed by the full City Council tomorrow, the new legislation would raise the fine for drivers violating the handicapped parking law to between $1,500 and $3,000. the driver's vehicle would also be immediately towed and impounded.

The city will need every cent of those fines. The Sun-Times reports in this morning's paper that Chicago Parking Meters LLC sent the city a bill for $13.5 million to cover lost revenue from drivers who used disability placards or license plates to park for free in metered spot between Feb 2010 and Feb. 2011. The parking meter lease continues to be, like herpes, the gift that keeps on giving when you least expect it.

Chicago Parking Meters LLC used a formula outlined in the parking meter deal with the city to determine the actual amount of revenues lost to handicapped parking was closer to $17.9 million. The company covered some of the losses, but given how widespread the abuse of the disabled parking placards seems to be, it's uncertain how much of the tab they billed the city is legitimate or if they even factored that into their math.

Emanuel spokeswoman Kathleen Strand said the tab further shows that reform and enforcement of the system is necessary. "Their crime hurts every Chicago taxpayer," Strand said.