(CBS) – Thursday was crackdown day in Chicago for disabled parking.
The majority of drivers with disability placards now have to feed the meter — or else.
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley went to find out if drivers are living up to the law.
Along Randolph Street downtown, Lizane Tyler’s car displayed a blue disabilities placard, and she hadn’t fed the meter.
“My mom is in the Daley Center there, so I’m waiting on my mom,” she said.
Still, starting this week, Lizane and her mom still have to pay.
Those who don’t are paying the price.
After a two-week grace period, Chicago is now issuing tickets for cars with blue disability placards that haven’t paid for parking.
As of Jan. 1, only yellow and gray striped placards — which mean drivers can’t physically reach the meters — qualify for free parking. And it seems drivers are getting the message.
Advocates for the disabled say less abuse means more access for those who truly need it.
“As a driver who uses a ramp, uses a wheelchair, I’ll be able to find parking much more easily,” Rahnee Patrick of Access Living says.
The city of Chicago’s controversial $1.15 billion parking meter contract can be blamed for the change, WBBM’s Bob Roberts reports. The contract provides that the city reimburse Chicago Parking Meters LLC for any free parking provided to motorists who display handicapped placards of plates.
As a result, those wishing to park for free now must obtain a note from a doctor saying they are physically incapable of feeding meter boxes. All others must pay.