D.C.

Proposal aims to overhaul disabled parking in D.C.

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Parking could soon be even more of a premium in D.C. It's part of an effort to make finding a space easier for the disabled.

Councilwoman Mary Cheh is proposing converting one in 10 meters in the district to red tops.

Suzanne Richards, 41, has osteogenesis imperfecta and has been driving and parking in D.C. since she was 16-years-old.

"I can't walk more than a block, so I can't take my chances on getting a parking space when there aren't any designated handicapped spaces," Richards said.

She added she often doesn't go out, because she knows parking will be impossible.

At a news conference Monday, Cheh said if she has her way , D.C. will have a lot more red topped metered spaces for handicapped parking only.

"We want to provide a real opportunity for disabled people to come and park just like anybody else," Cheh said.

Under her bill, 1,800 of D.C.'s 17,000 parking spaces would be for disabled drivers only. 

"Uh, it's going to be big pain in the butt. I don't see a lot of them getting used...," motorist Nick Hyunh said.

But Richards thinks it's only fair that the government provides spaces as it already makes businesses do.

Currently, drivers with disabled tags or placards can park for free at any meter. Under the new program, all drivers will have to pay for street parking, but about 10 percent of meters on city streets would be red in color and reserved for drivers with disabilities. It's intended to stop abuse of disabled parking privileges while providing drivers with the accessible parking they need.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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