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Councilor has solution to Boston parking woes: Make people with handicap placards pay for metered spaces just like everybody else

City Councilor Michael Flaherty (at large) says he has the solution to many of Boston's parking woes: No, not making people pay for residential parking permits, which he opposes with the blinding fury of 10,000 suns, but making people with handicap placards pay for metered spaces - and then ticketing them if they stay more than two hours.

Flaherty says abuse of the handicap placard system is rampant and too many perfectly able people get doctors who don't give a damn to sign off on prescriptions to get the placards, which currently let them park at metered spaces for free.

Flaherty has been on a tear about this, but at a hearing yesterday on the Boston Transportation Department's proposed budget for the coming fiscal year, he said he's grown tired of waiting for the state to do anything about the problem - especially when it comes to burly construction workers from out of state, "capable and able-bodied folks coming from New Hampshire and Rhode Island with their pickup trucks and all their heavy equipment and tools coming to a downtown area to work on a construction site and sit there for 12, 14, 16 hours a day" - and not just in prime downtown spaces, but all over the city, taking "a very precious parking spot for someone that has been waiting for it or someone that has legitimate disability or handicap that has to get in line behind someone that's a fraud, and that's pretty disgusting."

Making placard people pay - and worry about tickets - would end the problem just like that, he said. "Circling the block, double park waiting for spots, that's going to be eliminated," he predicted, because all those construction workers, "they'll take public transportation, they may car share, they most definitely won't be driving into Boston, slapping the placard on their windshield, and ignoring the parking laws and not paying the meters."

Flaherty discusses handicap-placard abuse:

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Comments

Remember when the wheelchair logo specifically meant people in actual wheelchairs?

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Are you implying those without wheelchairs are not truly handicapped? Might be a misunderstanding in your point, apologies if thats true.

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Because it never did.

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The wheelchair logo means that the placards are for anybody with physical disabilities, whether they use wheelchairs, walkers, or canes. Come on now!

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As a matter of fact, Miki, people can also get placards for vision disabilities, cardiopulmonary disabilities, and a number of other disabilities, to boot.

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I have a family member with MS. He's not in a wheelchair but has limited mobility and has to use a walker and/or a cane. Walking a small distance create enormous fatigue for him, and he has to move very slowly. He's got a disability parking permit, and he needs it, wheelchair or not.

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When my father had his knee replaced he had a temporary placard for 6 months during his recovery. He had no wheelchair, he did not have a huge cast on but he moved slow and it was painful. The wheelchair logo is used because it is a convenient way of conveying a concept to people.

If you notice, some HC signs will say Wheelchair van with special lines drawn to ensure the van can be used in the spot.

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I had an operation which required me to be non-weight-bearing for a prolonged period of time. I had to use two crutches to get around. I am an otherwise healthy-looking, able-bodied young person, but I had a temporary handicap permit and it was a godsend. Crutches suck. Also, you can't carry anything in your hands and opening doors becomes a real bloody hassle. But from someone's point of view I may as well have been just a young person abusing a handicapped placard. Point being, you don't know how much something sucks until you walk a mile in someone's shoes; you can't even imagine how much things might suck for people who don't look like they need the placard.

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I learned from a friend whose daughter is a Little Person and eligible for a handicap sticker:

The handicapped person can be in the car when it arrives or when it departs. It doesn't require both. One might be dropping off or picking up your grandmother, which won't always be obvious to observers.

It's pretty much always meant disability in general. That said, the whole "invisible disability" crutch, pun intended, is the #1 reason for handicap parking fraud. Yes, I agree there are many legitimate invisible disabilities. But there is only one purpose for handicap parking, to provide barrier free access to goods and services. There needs to be space to get in/out of ones vehicle and an accessible route, that's it. Distance to/from said goods and services is not part of the requirement, never has been never will be, because distance is always different for every store, service, event, etc. Mobility aids such as wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, crutches, canes, etc. are what disabled people use to overcome distance, not handicap parking. If you have an invisible disability and you're worried about the distance you have to walk, then use the appropriate mobility aid to safely traverse the distance. Oh my god, that's so inconvenient to have to use a mobility aid, I just want the convenience of close parking. Well guess what, then you're not using any of the unique features provided handicapped parking and are just taking a spot from someone who does just so you won't be inconvenienced by using a mobility aid.

but I absolutely agree with Flaherty on this one. I work at Parking Enforcement and the VAST MAJORITY of placard use is fraudulent. People using their relatives placards, dead peoples placards, placards where they’ve tried to alter the expiration date.

Take a walk around any construction site. Apparently the F250 extended cab full of tools is the vehicle of choice for Boston’s disabled population.

We’re not cops so there’s only so much we can do about it. I personally report every one I find to the RMV but I don’t have much faith in what happens when I do.

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...if we take your word for it, the VAST MAJORITY of placard use is fraudulent.

So you're gonna solve that by taking an action that's going to harm people who are actually disabled.

I'm sensing a failure of imagination.

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Could you explain the harm a little better, please? I understand the theory behind handicapped spaces being in advantageous locations, such as closer to the door of a supermarket, but what's the harm in paying for meters on a standard space that is not in a special location?

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A. There are no "special" locations. If there is a meter, it means it is in a commercial district where people drive in, park and do things.

B. Those with legit HP issues shouldn't be put on time constraints because their disability may hinder them in getting back to a time restricted meter. (Someone with a mobility or heart issue may not know what kind of obstacles they may face in their journey, and this could affect their timing)

But I think there may be some middle ground here, especially with new smart meters. At the very least, the HP driver can pay some sort of fee, and that can of course be checked at the meter. The downside is the HP driver now gets to only pay 2 hours for a possible 10-12 hour meter. (or other times.

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People will find a way to exploit any loophole to get free parking, because free parking is awesome.

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....while also complaining about other parts of society that they don't like getting subsidized by taxpayers.

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Because free parking is in the bill of rights!

And find better ways to prevent fraudulent use.

Don't ignore MA laws and harm people with real need.

MA does a lousy job of administering these placards - they make it very difficult for people who need them to get them, then they ignore some simple means of enforcement.

Case in point: when my father died, the state of Oregon demanded his placard within two weeks of issuing his death certificate. MA does not do this, and many of those "cheater" placards belong to people who are deceased.

Some states require yearly paperwork and color code them like inspection stickers. Your doctor has to send a boilerplate form and you have to renew them - which won't happen if you are dead or in a nursing home and little Joey decides to cheat with it.

Not that these are perfect answers, but they are a hell of a lot better than punishing people who actually NEED to use their cars because you think five cars makes you special.

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i.e.,
* Park up to two hours for free with placard.
* Charge for parking but allow legitimate placard users to extend for an extra two hours by app/text/web/phone; this would require submitting a non-expired placard number issued by RMV.

If you need to park for more than four hours perhaps you should consider a ride-share, cab, or paratransit service like The Ride.

But Flaherty isn't wrong about the rampant abuse of handicapped placards for all-day free parking in the City.

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Show us the receipts, where is the placard abuse? How many cars? Whats the impact on parking availability vs. the current free parking permit scheme? Whats the economic cost of it? What numbers does BPD (hahahahha) have in terms of enforcement and recidivism?

This just seems like a deflection from the discussion about charging market rate for parking permits and its honestly pretty sad to see actual handicap citizens are about to get tossed under the bus over this.

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Serious question.

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Because we can't seem to enforce placard abuse, there are suggestions being seen on this very thread that would make handicap parking harder, cost-prohibitive and time-constraining for citizens by asking them to pay and limit the time parked.

Actually handicapped citizens will be impacted by this. This is on par with the issues of improperly shoveled sidewalks keeping people with limited mobility from being able to leave their homes. It can be prohibitive enough that they won't even bother try to get/use the placard because of the hurdles we will put up to discourage abuse.

We've tried nothing and we're all out of ideas.

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But I think if HP users can pay $2 for the meter and it can provide more spaces for them because it cuts down on abuse, that is fair.

How you do that no one knows.

That'll impact people that cannot afford it, it forces further un-needed burden on them to feed the meter. In some cases they are new electronic ones further down the street, are those setup to accommodate those with mobility issues? How hard is it for them to use it? Are we ensuring that snow is cleared out so meters are easily accessible, beyond just the parking spot and space around it?

This isn't even beginning to touch on the subject of handicap spots being blocked by illegal parking, which charging for the spots will do nothing to fix. You're putting up barriers to those most vulnerable because we aren't willing to police the abusers.

The police need to do their jobs and actually enforce against handicap placard abuse vs. putting up barriers for law-abiding citizens with mobility issues. But we also know that placard abuse (anecdotally, I don't have numbers but dive down this rabbithole https://twitter.com/placardabuse) also comes from law enforcement, looking the other way for a buddy or handing out those PBA cards that people put on their windshields.

Again, this is a distraction from Flahrety and other entitled motorists that don't want to pay their far share for parking.

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In Boston, is there really an issue with people parking willy-nilly and putting placards out saying that they are affiliated with the Boston Police Department, outside of a stretch of Tremont Street close to Schroeder Plaza? I mean, there isn't even a PBA in the city.

Anecdotally, I had seen on that particular twitter account about PBA cards being a frequent occurrence and its in NYC that most of the post come from.

I've seen and opened my own 311 reports about State/DHS/BPD in the North Station/North End area parking illegally and putting up placards. There was a case I thought a few weeks back of some Staties parking on the sidewalk at the North End skating rink that was coming up a few times on my feed.

Seen a few instances of sidewalk parking near Jackson Mann during my commute. Again, anecdotal so I won't claim how often it happens but its certainly not zero.

But do you have ANY evidence that placard abuse it NOT rampant? Unless you do, then defending the status quo is also completely anecdotal.

Nobody (except Flaherty) is claiming that handicap placard abuse and resident parking sticker fees are an either/or issue.

But do you have ANY evidence that placard abuse it NOT rampant?

It isn't possible to prove a negative. The burden of proof is on those who assert that it's "rampant".

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No it's not.

Are you going for the logical fallacy trifecta today?

Some of those numbers (as of three years ago) were reported on here: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/02/24/abuse-handicap-parking-plac...

Investigators found that 77 vehicles appeared to regularly display placards that belonged to someone other than the vehicle owner. In total, 325 vehicles displayed passes at least once that belonged to someone else.

State Police cited 23 of the drivers and confiscated their passes.

The police DGAF.

Step up enforcement, actually make state and local police do their job vs. the suggestions in this thread to make it harder, cost and time prohibitive for people with actual disabilities.

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There's a reason police find placards on cars that don't belong to the owner.

The placard that attaches to the rear-view window is for the individual,, not the vehicle. My wife has Alzheimer's and no longer is allowed to drive. She also has breast cancer that we recently discovered had metastasized to her spine.

I don't know whether is is the result of the dementia or the cancer, or both, but she has had three unattended falls at her memory unit in the last six months, one of which sent her to the ER for five or six stitches to the back of her head and an overnight blood transfusion.

Her neurologist and oncologist don't want her walking without assistance and they don't want her left by herself in some lobby while I feed the meter -- she is likely to wander away. I'm only allowed to use the placard for trips when she's in the car, Ditto the friend who borrows the placard when taking my wife to the museum in the friend's car.

I'm not sure why the state lets you cover up the person;s photo that is on the placard. Perhaps that would cut down on abuse. Like a lot of UHubbers I prefer to walk or cycle than drive, but I understand the frustration of those who try to park in the city, e.g, at her dentist's office, Where, by the way, we sometimes spends more than two hours, racking up a bill that would feed the meter thousands of times over,

You're accusing everyone else of not offering up statistical data, when you yourself are not presenting any statistical evidence to the contrary.

And made no claims otherwise, try and keep up.

Flahrety is the one claiming (without data) that there is rampant abuse and we need to address, which is a distraction to the real issue of free parking that he directly benefits from. Which we are trying to properly manage and allocate here as we work to ease traffic congestion and fund better alternatives like bus/bike lanes and improved pedestrian infra.

But we can't be cause cars and baseless conjecture from Five Car Flahrety.

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Several things have changed since this 1980s (or whenever the placard system started) that make it more sensible to ending the generous benefit (not "throwing anyone under the bus" as you put it). First, local government for whatever reason is unable to enforce it. Second, placards are issued by the state, while the city has no control over issuing them. Third, Uber/Lyft make getting around town easier than ever. Fourth, the T is somewhat more accessible today than it was in the 1980s. Fifth, Boston's supply/demand for parking spots is way more lopsided today than it used to be, exacerbating abuse.

1. Open your eyes , no need for research

2, bpd does nothing about it

3. Everyone with a placard is not to poor to pay the meter, if any are,

The ability to park for more than two hours is very much needed in many parts of town, because people with disabilities often can’t take the T but work at jobs that don’t have parking because they expect people to take the T. We should continue to allow unlimited parking, but require payment of the regular cheap meter rate.

Also, what proof do people have that physicians are filling out the form inappropriately? The form requires them to sign off which qualifying condition the person has. When I’ve gone to get applications singed (for placards or any disability service/designation), providers have always closely scrutinized it, and have often been reluctant to sign off on things.

If you know someone using someone else’s placard, report it.

Do not, under any circumstances, harass people who you think aren’t disabled or who are doing permissible drop-off pickup that you apparently don’t think is allowed.

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Why can't these people take the T? Stations have elevators. Wheelchairs can fit on the trains. Buses lower so that people can more easily get on and off. The Ride is a service available to them.

The don't live or work near a station or can't access those stations adequately.

I say we just give them free cars and eliminate all bike lanes to make room for this new influx of cars. But that's just me.

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Not all stations have elevators, not all elevators work. I call ahead to make sure elevators are working at the station I plan to use. There is a process to apply for the Ride, it’s not automatic and The Ride only goes to certain areas, sometimes you’ll have to switch vans to get to your destination. The MBTA has a lot of work to do before the expect people to rely on them for transit, especially individuals with mobility issues.

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The same reason anyone drives. The T isn't always a reasonable option, especially if you aren't going downtown.

For many commuters, the trip to the transit source is not a short one, but one that many able bodied persons can do. I am about a quarter mile from my bus stop, and is a nothing walk for me, but if I had a mobility issue, it could be a problem.

I don't know what my take on Flaherty's proposal is, but there are circumstances where a placard for an automobile and street parking is warranted.

on how elevator closures in stations are making it impossible for disabled people to commute to school/work, So, I'd say no, they can't take the T.

Erin Murphy commutes 3 stops on the Red Line. Because an elevator is closed, it takes her ‘close to an hour.’

https://www.boston.com/news/commute/2019/05/07/mbta-central-square-eleva...

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Try it for yourself - get some "canadian crutches" and then do something to your legs that makes movement difficult, perhaps painful.

Then try a transit commute. See how easy it is.

Bonus points: attempt any/all of this in the snow.

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Why can't these people take the T? Stations have elevators. Wheelchairs can fit on the trains. Buses lower so that people can more easily get on and off. The Ride is a service available to them.

Welp, we have just established that you never take the T.

Follow the link. You'll find it educational. Elevators and escalators out of service for MONTHS. The elevators at Central Square, for example, have been out of service for months and will continue until "Summer 2019". Their solution to someone who needs access at this station? SHUTTLE BUS to Kenmore or Harvard.

You really should be deeply ashamed of your ignorant "these people" statement, Kinopio.

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I already disliked you for your cyclist zealotry, but this really takes the cake.

He's never said anything nice about cyclists or cycling. Of course, he's never said anything bad. When it comes to transportation, he's pretty much a one trick pony- motor vehicles are bad, as are the people who use them.

Elevators and escalators in stations break, they don't live near a station, they get motion sickness from trains or buses, they have claustrophobia/panic attacks, they can't carry their oxygen and other disability equipment all over the stations during transfers but can have someone meet them at their car to help them into their office.

Or like one of my friends, their gait is such that people in places such as transit stations and vehicles routinely grab them to "help" them with turnstiles or shove them into a seat they don't wish to sit in, or grab them when the vehicle lurches, so they get dislocation injuries every time they take transit.

Or they have an assistance dog who doesn't deal well with transit vehicles because they were paired and trained when their lifestyle was such that transit wasn't something they did.

Has Arthritis in her knees and has used that to get a HC placard. Are there people that need the placards, yes! But there are also many others that don't and have them:(

Work near Fenway and so many people commute to work and park using someone else's placard... Few who work at Harvard Vanguard... ditto on some of the construction vehicles around here too....

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You personally inspected the placard and drivers license? How are you so sure of this?

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Look around when you pass by job sites. You’ll see illegally parked vehicles with safety vests on the side view mirrors , some with handicap placards. Instead of increasing fares for all cars displaying a placard, maybe the BTD could start cracking down where this is rampant and see if that makes a difference. You can go to @311 and see all of the reports that don’t get addressed and ones that are “closed” without any action/ ticketing. Before making new policies, (that won’t be enforced) start enforcing what is already in place.

They have patients who have placards and use street parking.

Along the back side of Mass General you will see a lot of placards in use - Chemo Center.

Sounds like the cure here is the same as the other parking maladies of Boston, enforcement.

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Thank you for your service. The public gives you a lot of crap for just doing your job, just figured I'd say thanks.

This:

and the VAST MAJORITY of placard use is fraudulent.

is totally untrue, and shows a clear bias against people who are disabled in some way or other.

Flaherty does have a point that handicap placards (and police placards, and whatever other placards are out there) do get abused.

But his insistence that parking/traffic problems in Boston are all the work of some faceless blob of out-of-towners, and not the predictable consequence of policies that encourage the proliferation of households with, say, five cars, is so obviously self-serving and ridiculous.

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He is serious you guys.

Wow talk about Clueless.

First he's Five Car Flaherty, now he wants disabled people to pay for metered spots.

Hey Mr Five Cars, we get it, you don't want to pay for all those cars, but uh, while I agree placard abuse is rampant. Making some old lady who is in a walker get out over 2 hours to feed a meter is just cruel. And frankly, you'd open up the city for every G-d lawsuit out there against ADA laws.

Get a clue, and open your wallet and just pay for your damn cars.

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It must suck to be disabled only to find all the spots are used by people scamming the system. If you care about accommodating people who need close proximity to their destinations, enforcing a time limit is a good start.

Those of us with disabilities might need 5 hours to do what you can do in 2 hours. Don't punish those of us with disabilities for the cheaters. Instead, find a way to crack down on the abusers.

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1000000%

The problem isnt that people who are disabled using the cards to park longer than 2 hours. Its people who use the cards, and are not disabled using them to get free parking.

Fix the problem with the cards first.. it's the source of the problem.

Best thing I can see is require the photo to be shown and not be allowed to cover it (write a ticket!). You'd stop people like Junior, who's a banker at State Street, who parks at a meter all day with Ma's HC parking pass (with her picture) without paying. He just covers the picture up, and parks all day long because no one knows it isn't him. I bet after a few days of Ma's picture being there and him getting into the car, the embarrassment if seeing a young able bodied person get into a car with a HC placard.. the shame from others would be enough**

** I've done this. Some couple thought it was cute to park in a HC spot with their mothers car. I was a total dick and left daily notes that I've watching and reporting it. After the 3rd day, they no longer parked there. Its disgusting and people know it, but continue to do it because...

"but cars.. but parking"

I should also note that calling local PD, and the RMV did absolutely nothing.. I would have gotten better results writing Gov Baker (and getting a reply from his team).

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You say "open your wallet" but then you rail against him. He is saying everyone should "open their wallet" and pay for their spot, whether they are able bodied, handicapped and an asshole criminal who is illegally using a handicap placard. Fair is fair. As a Boston resident I am tired of people getting these handouts. These criminals are essentially stealing thousands of dollars worth of parking per year from the people of Boston. They should be jailed.

Yeah I did.. he's obviously coming up with every g-d excuse not to pay because he has five cars and doesn't want to pay.

Let's be serious here, he's being self serving.

Great, so when you're mobility impaired yourself in a few years you won't complain that you have to use your mobility aid to walk a few blocks to feed a meter because Flahterly a few years ago decided he didn't wanna pay for parking passes so he now makes HC holders do so. I hope you don't complain.. I don't want to hear a peep how it's unfair

Spend a week in a wheelchair or a walker (I have and did for six months), you have a very new found respect for people with mobility issues and how difficult it is to get around. If you have, you would NOT be saying crap like this.

Look I agree there's a ton of abuse with HC Placards, but lets FIX the problem with the cards. Charging for meters will solve nothing, except allow Flahtery to keep his 5 cars and not pay for them.

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"Am I out of touch? No, its the handicap placard users who are wrong."

But in all seriousness if Flaherty wants to bemoan the issue of handicap placard abuse, show us the numbers, bring receipts and start talking about police placard abuse too. Talk about forcing BPD to actually do some traffic enforcement. But no, lets charge vulnerable people that will actually get hurt by this.

Otherwise its all speculation while he fights against paying for the on-street parking he and his family use.

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He might as well put an (R) next to his name with this elitist bullying.

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But he writes it as a "D."

I do not support this proposal of Flaherty's (the police should be ticketing any burly construction workers, from New Hampshire or from anywhere, who fraudulently use handicapped parking spaces near their jobsites) BUT didn't he say, during the initial hearing on parking permits, that the five cars his family of six adults use are all parked in the driveway of his home? Can anyone verify how many of said cars are usually parked in the driveway and how many are usually on the street? Gotta give even the devil his due....

Who cares? If they have permits, they can be parked in the yard or on the street.

Avoid the FiveCars problem, blame someone he considers weak and scapegoat them.

Is he working on an appointment to the Trump Administration or something?

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I think it’s fair to say that yes this is an issue and should be strongly enforced and punished. It’s also fair to say Councilor Flaherty’s obsession with this while refusing to accept any other possible reforms to the city’s parking and congestion issues is one of many reasons to not re-elect him in the fall.

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(as well as fines) at parking spaces, which is a state law, predates the current requirements that parking spaces be provided for disabled people.

As HP-only parking spaces are now commonplace at offices, shopping malls, and the like, it's time to seriously reconsider the need for this law.

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Parking meters are on the street in traditional downtown areas, not offices and malls.

What about street parking?

Unless a residence or a business REQUEST a spot (and in many cities and towns its a loooong process) to get a sign put up. Street parking HC spots are VERY rare.

We need this law. If we don't, then I expect every block to have a HC spot on it. EVERY SINGLE BLOCK.

As I said above, please tell that to a quadriplegic who still drives because they have specially equipped van. You wanna tell that person they have to 'feed a meter' ever 2 hours because "fair is fair". Good luck with that.

Regardless, disabled groups will just sue to keep the law. Once again, we're doing a knee jerk reaction to something that we just wont address and fix, which is the abuse of placards.

There are a couple of rangers who have handicap plates so they can park next to the Parks Service office near the Old State House.

The Parks Service does not have its own parking. There are no malls and the nearest garage is some distance.

Use of the street spaces means that some workers can go to work rather than draw disability or retirement.

Several of the NPS rangers - seasonal and permanent - have disabilities, and are legitimately eligible for disability accommodation.

If you think the use is otherwise, I suggest you contact the park superintendent.

There is a garage (in the Devonshire) maybe 200 feet away. The Pi Alley Garage is less than a block away.

Charging for space regardless of placard makes sense - this seems to eliminate the free parking incentive associated with placards and would likely free up space for those (with placards) that actually need it.

...and they should still do Michelle Wu's proposal.

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Is the definition of a dot rat. Squeak squeak five cars.

Huh?

2 consecutive Terms Limit for Boston City Council please!

Councilor's remarks available, scroll to bottom at https://www.boston.gov/public-notices/53521

MY HOUSE ALONE, THAT WOULD BE $375, FIVE CARS, THAT'S HOW MY PROGRAM RUNS.

______________________________
LOOK FORWARD TO THE HEARING AND AGREE WITH THE PREVIOUS THREE SPEAKERS.

ONE OF THE MAIN CONCERNS I HAVE WITH THIS ORDINANCE IS ITS POTENTIAL TO COMPASSER BASE THE HANDICAPPED PARKING AND FRAUD ABUSE THAT TAKES PLACE IN OUR CITY EVERY SINGLE DAY.

THE CALLS I HEARD FROM YESTERDAY IN ANGER OF THE ARTICLE I READ IN THE PAPER MOSTLY FROM EAST BOSTON, CHARLESTOWN, SOUTH BOSTON, SOUTH END, TINSLEY, POPULATED, ARGUABLY OVERDEVELOPMENT GOING THROUGH TRANSITION AND DOING THE BEST THEY CAN TO KEEP THEIR VEHICLE ON THE ROAD, AND/OR IF THEY HAVE MULTIPLE VEHICLES.

WE SAW IT DOWNTOWN WHEN PARKING GARAGE FEES WENT UP.

THE HANDICAP PARKING AND FRAUD ABUSE ROSE BECAUSE FOLKS FROM SUBURBAN COMMUNITIES JUST GO TO THE DOCTORS FILL OUT THE FORM, GET THE NOTE AND THE APPLICATION AND GET A PLACARD, COMING IN FROM ALL PARTS NORTH AND SOUTH,

PARKING DOWNTOWN, TAKING THE VERY PRECIOUS PARKING SPACE OFF THE STREETS, PARK ALL AT A, DON'T HAVE TO PAY THE METER, THEY CAN BE THERE 8, 10, 12, 16 HOURS, THROWING THEIR NOSE UP AT US A.

WE DON'T GET THE REVENUE.

WE LOSE OUT ON MILLIONS OF DOLLARS EVERY YEAR, NO ONE DOES ANYTHING ABOUT IT, AN THAT'S THE CIRCLING OF THE BLOCK, THAT'S WHAT CAUSES PEOPLE -- BECAUSE WHEN YOU HAVE SOMEONE TAKING UP A SPACE AND THE METER IS NOT TURNING OVER BECAUSE THEY HAVE THE PLACARD -- AND, AGAIN, THIS IS NOT FOR FOLKS THAT ARE LEGIT, IT'S JUST FOR PEOPLE LOOKING FOR A DOWNTOWN PARKING SPOT THAT DON'T WANT TO PAY THE GARAGE FEES.

MY CONCERN IS THAT WILL PLAY OUT INOUT IN THE NAIFNLTD PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO BE NICKEL AND DIMED.

MY HOUSE ALONE, THAT WOULD BE $375, FIVE CARS, THAT'S HOW MY PROGRAM RUNS.

ONE'S GOING THIS WAY, THAT WAY, SCHOOL, AFTER SCHOOL, HOCKEY, SOCCER, IT'S A DISASTER.

TRY TO KEEP UP PACE WITH MY HOUSE, GOOD LUCK TO YOU.

THAT ALONE IS JUST GOING TO CAUSE PEOPLE TO SAY, I'M NOT DOING THAT, AND THEY WILL GO TO THE DOCTOR, GET THE NOTE, AND THEN ALL OF OUR NEIGHBORHOODS WILL HAVE HANDICAPPED PARKING PLACES ALL OVER THEM.

THAT'S WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN AND THE FACTS OF WHAT POTENTIALLY COULD HAPPEN.

COUNCILLOR EDWARDS I THINK SUGGESTED IT BEST ABOUT TALKING ABOUT A WIDER SPECTRUM.

M.B.T.A. NEEDS A SEAT AT THE TABLE.

IT'S 2019.

WE TONIGHT NEED A BUS STOP ON EVERY SINGLE STREET CORNER AND THEY DON'T NEED TO BE A FOOTBALL FIELD IN LENGTH.

WE COULD TALK ABOUT BUMPOUTS, EVERY THIRD STREET, THAT WILL FREE UP HUNDREDS OF PARKING SPACES IN EVERY SINGLE NEIGHBORHOOD.

SO INSTEAD OF GETTING IN A BIG FIGHT OVER PARKING SPACES, LET'S BRING THE M.B.T.A. IN.

COUNCILLOR EDWARDS REFERENCED ANGLED PARKING.

MAYBE IT'S A NEIGHBORHOOD BY NEIGHBORHOOD ASSESSMENT.

MAYBE WE BRING THE DISTRICT COUNSELORS IN WITH COMMUNITY GROUPS AND FIGURE OUT WHAT BEST PARKING PLAN WORKS FOR THAT RESPECTIVE COMMUNITY.

AND I'M HAPPY TO TELL ABOUT ASSISTANCE BECAUSE WE HAVE A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF EXPERIENCE DEALING WITH NOT ONLY IN MY OWN NEIGHBORHOOD BUT DEALING WITH ACROSS THE CITY FOR YEARS.

THE T CANNOT BE LEFT OUT AND ALSO THE PARTNERSHIPS WHERE WE HAVE IN BOSTON PUBLIC SCHOOL, THEY ALLOW RESIDENTS TO PARK THERE.

LOOKING AT OUR OWN ASSETS, OUR MUNICIPAL BUILDINGS AND ALLOW FOR PARKING OVERNIGHT, OR REACH OUT TO BUSINESSES AROUND PARTNERSHIPS WHO HAVE BIG PARKING LOTS WHO ALLOW FOR OVERNIGHT PARK.

MUNICIPAL LOTS ALLOW FOR OVERNIGHT PARK, MAYBE GARAGES.

THERE ARE A LOT OF GREAT CREATIVE SOLUTIONS WE COULD DO TO ALLEVIATE THE PARKING CRUNCH, AND I THINK THAT WOULD SERVE A HUGE PURPOSE AS OPPOSED TO FEEING AND FINING PEOPLE INTO SUBMISSION.

PEOPLE ARGUE THEIR EXCISE AT THAT, INSURANCE PAYS FOR IT.

IF THERE'S AN ACCIDENT ON THE EXPRESSWAY, WE GET THE CREDIT FOR IT.

TRY AND GET YOUR INSURANCE.

IT'S EVERYTHING.

NOW IS THE TIME TO HAVE THE CONVERSATION BUT I DO NOT THINK THE ANSWER IS AND MY HESITATION

IS ALL IT WILL EXACERBATE THE HANDICAPPED FRAUD PARKING IN THE CITY THAT NOBODY IS DOING ANYTHING ABOUT AND COSTS US MILLIONS EVERY YEAR.

THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT.
______________________________

Again, you're a victim of the 25% of Bostonians who vote.

He's a victim of all Bostonians (as he doesn't live in Boston.)

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Is placard abuse rampant? Has anyone done any actual study on this? Are there even enough handicapped-specific spots for this to be responsible for parking issues? I'd love to see some actual numbers, seems like a lot of anecdotes going around but I'm not seeing anything anywhere to indicate that this is actually a major issue vs just being a convenient scapegoat. I'd love to see that info if it exists and anyone has it!

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It is about meters and vehicles with placards parking at those meters and not paying for them and staying at the space from 5am to 3pm. I'm not sure it is rampant but go to construction sites downtown and you will see a lot of out of state vehicles there from 5am to about 2 or 3pm.

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When all it takes is a placard to get unlimited parking for less than the metered rates, it starts to get a wee bit rampant...

Here is the best I can do with google maps might be surface artery road in Chinatown. This specific strip is all metered with 3/4 of the cars having placards.

(I suck at linking, sorry)
https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3514505,-71.0591874,3a,15y,4.83h,85.91t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1soosusrf6P1bEjUbcd-RcdQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

I walk this path often and see a *majority* of cars with placards every time.

Due to the overwhelming benefit of "free parking", in areas where (and when) parking is "scarce and useful", I would expect some significant chuck of metered parking to be affected.

I'm sure some people use it and abuse it, but shouldn't the Councilor's first move be to get BTD to do a study on, say, the percentage of spaces that are actually occupied by cars with handicapped placards, and for how long? Let's show that it's actually a significant percentage of spaces that are being used here before we propose legislation that affects it.

While many (likely most) people with HP placards genuinely need them, there is certainly abuse of the system, and there are likely certain parts of the city which see this most acutely. For instance, an upthread poster posted this location in Chinatown where most of the cars have HP placards. Given that the main criteria is the inability to walk 200 feet without stopping to rest, and most of these spaces are significantly further away than that, there is likely some abuse going on here. There's been some research and it certainly seems like this is something that does happen, and when it does, it both deprives the City of revenue and, if using an HP space, deprives the actual mobility-impaired community of the ability to access services they need (the legislature passed a law last year with stiffer regulations, but it needs to be enforced: you can report a scofflaw here).

And #FiveCarFlaherty has a point: it does seem to be especially abused by construction workers, as WBZ found last year (and he's been talking about this for a while). A personal anecdote: I used to work in Kendall Square, where there is a single HP spot in front of the post office, probably to allow people with mobility needs to get in and out of the post office (or other nearby businesses). Yet it was almost always filled with the same car all day long. We once saw the driver of the car get out and walk down the stairs in to the T. A transit rider trying to save on parking? Nope, a T employee who found a convenient place to park. Now it's possible that said employee had a mobility-impairment, but then again, most jobs on the Red Line probably involve a significant amount of walking or time on your feet.

Now, what could FiveCar do about it? It seems like some communities in the Commonwealth do a good job of enforcing these regulations. So perhaps he could use his position as a city councilor to start working with parking enforcement to enforce the rules, rather than complaining that they don't get enforced. I bet that if a few $500 fines and 30-day license suspensions are handed down, word will spread real quick that it's not worth trying to scam the system any longer.

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WBZ has been reporting about this for years.

Wanna see abuse.. Dalton Street in the BackBay. All across from the Pru.

Car after car filled with Placards. Either the Pru has alot of handicapped people working nearby and they all park on Dalton.. or there's fraud.

This isn't anecdotal evidence.. many many news outlets have done stories about this over the years. Its a real problem.

As edited above, FiveCar could use his voice on the City Council to get this enforced.

It is really quite shameful that people are willing to take advantage of it. You don't want to be like the Seinfeld characters, do you?

"but cars, but parking" is why

Ari, you and I both know (and many uhubbers also) people get crazy with their cars and parking in this city. Not surprising people will break the law and risk embarrassment for parking..

Then again we're also a city who does space savers in the winter for parking.....

Car Culture: Making Assholes Out of Everyone

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That Councilor Flaherty is using is voice on the City Council to spotlight this issue. I mean, why are we talking about it here?

If so, that's great and I may consider voting for him for such a clever way of getting these topics out there.

But barring evidence of that, I have to assume that this is just an out-of-touch dope trying to find a way to distract from the fact that he doesn't want to have to pay to park his five cars.

And your non-anecdotal evidence for maintaining the status quo is....?

Before you talk about changing the current laws to solve a problem, you should probably show some kind of actual evidence that there's actually a problem to begin with.

The state changed the laws in 2017 as a result of a 2014 study. Fines were dramatically increased. For example:
"Obstruction of the placard number or expiration date, including the failure to display the placard in a way that makes the placard number or expiration date readily visible through the windshield or the failure to follow instructions printed on the placard, shall be punished by a fine of $50."
How many placards do you see that are reversed? (A lot) How many have tickets on the windshield? (none)
BTD does not enforce state laws. They only ticket City of Boston rules and regulations such as blocking an intersection, resident only violations, and of course street cleaning day. BPD has better things to do than walk around checking placard expiration dates.
Solution: City council needs to revisit their rules and regulations to follow the state model and allow BTD to violate offenders. Flaherty is simply grandstanding.

... and the Register of Deeds position is already filled by another former Boston political hack.

And he knows who votes, and who votes for him. In short, he's not losing votes through this proposal, or in opposing the geometric resident parking sticker fee proposal.

He certainly won't get my vote.

On January 1, 2019, were you planning on voting for him?

Demanding bus stop close to each other! And handicap placards! They should be like other decent city folk and just buy five cars they expect to park for free on the street!

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"I want to park my five cars on the street for free in my neighborhood where there are no meters so we have to remove some bus stops to make it easier to do that, but handicapped people use a system that is too easy to abuse so they have to start paying for parking if they use a meter in all those places that aren't in my neighborhood where I park for free...with my five cars."

I mean, fuck, guy...listen to yourself sometime.

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Kudos to YouTube for providing great machine transcription of the hearing.

Open the video on Youtube.com and click the three dots and click 'open transcript' and you can read and search the whole transcript.

Boston City Council Public Meeting Wednesday 8 May 2019 https://www.youtube.com/user/BostonCityCouncil/videos

Note the Stenographic technology/software in front of the Dais. Withheld from hard of hearing folks, withheld from all folks the Stenographic Record Document is more complete than Minutes, more accurate than erroneous video captions. Better, more up to date technology/software can improve civic engagement at City Council !

I must say, I also agree with #FiveCarFlaherty. There is a problem with fraudulent HP placards in Boston, and that placard holders should not be able to park for free at meters. If we want to allow them to go beyond the signed time limit, I think that's probably fair, but parking for free, definitely not.

Ummm....Maybe I'm not familiar with the way your brave new world works,but,in most places,wouldn't a better solution be to create more parking?
I mean there is really a need for such a thing as an automobile,considering than most folks are not capable of riding bicycles(age,infirmity,more than carryon baggage)
After all this is the 21st century in Boston and not 20th century Peking.
Please,do not say that the answer lies in building transit oriented housing,as government transit is not nearly as cheap,safe,clean or convenient.

What do you plan to bulldoze to provide this "more parking"? Public Garden? Stores on Newbury Street? Your house?

That a person with a disability does not wish to be treated differently.

Make 'em pay for their parking.

There are two different issues.

If people are using placards that they don't qualify for, taking away some of the privileges of all placard users is not the right solution.

A separate issue is whether free and time-unlimited parking at meters still makes sense. Other states don't have this rule. On the other hand, most other states don't have major portions of cities where all street parking is either resident-only (where residents can't even park for an hour or two) or two-hour meters.

If a construction worker needs to arrive at 5 am with tools and park all day, there should be a legal way of doing it. All-day street parking shouldn't be allowed downtown, where there's great transit access, plenty of garages, and huge demand for parking. But in the outer neighborhoods, it would make a lot of sense to provide for some parking longer than 2 hours. This could take the form of all-day meters.

In order to get construction permits, the company should have to submit a parking plan that involves off-site shuttles.

Yes, all parking should be replaced by a shuttle to off-site parking. Then when the off-site area itself gets too crowded, run a shuttle to the shuttle.

Or we could just allow parking where there's enough supply.

I mean, it sounds like a nice thing for us to do for the HC, but its hardly written in stone. Since anyone with a color copier can get their own it seems this is the only way to combat that. Not that its the fault of actual HC people, but again there's no solid reason why it should be free in the first place.

Everyone at once now: HOW DARE YOU!

The sorts of disability that qualify one for one of these permits tend to strongly correlate with a reduced ability to earn a living, one would think.

While that may be true for construction work it does not follow that HC people can’t make a living. Also, your reply to my comment isn’t related to anything I said. Is this some passive aggressive time wasting bs?

Despite the ADA, there are a lot of impediments to people with disabilities just getting a job, including those that aren't hard manual labor. My workplace is not accessible; neither are many in Boston. What's a person with a disability supposed to do?

Really not the route I would have taken. Mr. Nice above has perfectly fine reasoning which refutes my post: If you are mobility impaired its tough to get back to feed the meter, (because you have mobility issues). I bow to that reasoning. Your claim that they shouldn't have to pay because "everyone knows if you're HC you can't be a valued member of society and earn a living" does not. They ADA does exist, your claim that HC can't get into any buildings to work seems like grasping at straws. Let's agree to disagree, shall we?

I agree with Will that the disabled shouldn't be treated differently at meters. It's patronizing. The 1970's era PSA campaign seeking equality for the handicapped was based on the motto, "the disabled: they're qualified and they're able." That means they are able to pay for a metered space.

Once again, where is any discussion by Flaherty or others for a BPD Traffic Squad? We see the reflexive crosswalk enforcement for a few days after each pedestrian fatal but no separate squad that focuses 24/7 only on traffic enforcement, including handicap parking fraud and the hefty fines that come with the newest law. The neighborhood BPD patrol car is too busy shagging 911 calls and the State Police are running one trooper on the desk and as few as two on the road per barracks. Crash victims with no injury are told to "swap papers" because the MSP is too busy to respond, never mind investigating HP placard fraud. The Inspector General reported rampant fraud in 2016, time for less talk and more action.

The 1970's era PSA campaign seeking equality for the handicapped was based on the motto, "the disabled: they're qualified and they're able." That means they are able to pay for a metered space.

The goal of that campaign was to try to get employers to hire the "handicapped" as you call them. It had some limited success, and the ADA did rather more, but for the most part, mobility impairment severely limits one's ability to earn a living.

Imagine that you use a wheelchair and you get a job in Central Square. Many buildings in the Boston area aren't accessible; if you want to change that, you need to bring a lawsuit. You, the person in the chair who's just trying to live your life, have to become a litigant. But let's assume you got lucky and your workplace is accessible, and the elevator doesn't break down more than once or twice a week. You're set! But you still need to get to your job, which means the MBTA, which means the Red Line, which means Central Square Station, where...the elevator has been out of service and is scheduled to remain so for months to come.

That is one example of many. The Boston area is a hellscape for mobility impaired people.

To give anyone with five cars or more, free parking for life?

I'm a handicapped person who has a placard and does not drive. I take the T as much as possible from home to work. My wife won't use the placard if I am not in the car with her to park (not even if I was meeting her for a ride home if she is parked) because she feels it is dishonest.

Now some of the dummies in this thread said 'well that is why there are handicapped spaces near the doors' - have you ever been in Boston on a weekend? How about Thursday night? You think that out of all the people driving in to Newbury st, only 4 people going to the back bay are handicapped? Or do you mean that disabled people shouldn't go to Newbury street if they can't afford parking? What a jackass.

Different states have different laws - you can get a special NYC placard that even allows you to park in tow zones, as opposed to MA which is just any public space (eg not private garage or privately owned place) for free. Do I think there is abuse? I do. However, maybe the city could require construction permits paid for by the company that have nothing to do with handicap spaces to crack down on this?

A few years in a row, either channel 7 or channel 5 followed cops up to the Pheasant Lane or Burlington mall and the cops wrote out like 5,000$ worth of tickets for people improperly using a handicap placard - one guy forced a lady to call her disabled husband to ask if he was in the mall and he was all "...No...No I'm at home..."

This goes back to people taking advantage of a benefit and then others being shortsighted and wanted to take away the benefit.

Also, for those who don't know, it isn't just filling out a form - you need proof, not just a doctor's note. My mom is 80, has bath arthritis and had hip replacement and her doctor wouldn't complete the paperwork unless she started using a cane / degraded. The doctor signs forms and can be fined for fraud. NYC is very strict - you need it from your PCP and your specialist and you have to have to re-approved periodically.

Hey, why don't we cut food stamps too if someone can work at McDonalds! Hey, GE and Shell make a ton of money, why do they pay little to no taxes?

Trust me kids, if I am rolling into town to use my handicap placard, I'm spending more on the economy than 5$ in parking charges - what is your sorry townie ass doing to give back to the city? Citation for public urination after a Sox game?

You almost had a point. My "sorry townie ass?" I don't go to your suburb and act like a jerk and trash the locals. Maybe show some respect for Bostonians.

So you can afford the $5 parking meter fee.

You haven't explained why a placard should allow free, untimed parking at meters. Most other states don't allow it.

I believe the original reason was that parking meters were not reachable by someone in a wheelchair. That's a reasonable problem to solve, especially when replacing traditional meters with multi-space machines.

You're on board with charging upwards of what, $100 for the privilege of regular parking permits right? $10/hour for metered parking?

Also have you ensured that all those multi-space machines are easily accesible to all that would have handicap placards? What are we doing to ensure that snow removal happens at each and every one?

Once again, pricing this or adding additional hurdles to handicap placards because we don't want to enforce abuse through law enforcement is going to impact and hurt people with legitimate mobility issues.

Yes, those prices would be fine with me, where demand warrants.

It's easy to design a parking meter or vending machine that's accessible to people in wheelchairs. In fact, more than half of states require payment at meters if you have a handicapped permit, and nobody's challenged this under the ADA.

And I didn't say payment should be required because of abuse of permits. As long as permits provide any benefit at all, there will be the temptation for abuse, and abuse should be prevented by enforcement.

I was questioning whether there's actually a need for free, untimed parking at all meters with a handicapped permit.

So his solution is that instead of charging everyone, we should only charge a small subset of people??

The artificial parking shortage by the EPA and the city has only increased traffic with Uber and Lyft replacing people who just drive and park, not circle the streets.

Those construction workers who often suffer injuries do get placards. If you want their abuses to end, stop new construction!

Huge fines for doctors who provide letters for placards when they shouldn’t. Many awesome docs, some my friends, but never forget this is the demo that’s primarily responsible for the opioid crisis with their unnecessary, irresponsible prescriptions. Laws and regs have been primarily directed at them.

Second: an intern, for god’s sake, could run through death certificates and placard owners and instigate repossession. Not hard.

Also: placards have photos of the user on them and also have covers issued so no one can see. Get rid of covers. If it’s old Aunt Sally, the burly construction guy may be less inclined to try. I get the privacy thing. I have a placard, use a wheelchair, my privacy cover ripped, and I really don’t care.

Have the placard have a barcode or RFID chip. BTD could read it and get all the identifying info without need to display any private information to the public

Declare open season for spot saving throughout the city and let God sort it out.