SF officials meet again over handicapped parking

San Francisco city officials met again Tuesday to take a look at issues involving spaces for the disabled.
November 19, 2013 5:23:35 PM PST
It's never easy finding a parking spot in San Francisco and on Tuesday, city officials met again to take a look at issues involving spaces for the disabled. There's a move to make some major changes, but the road to change will go through Sacramento before anything changes in San Francisco

An advisory committee is asking for at least 470 more handicapped parking spaces. The committee says there are certain elements that have to happen in order to fix what they call a "broken" handicapped parking system.

According to Mayor Ed Lee's advisory committee, there are 500,000 blue disabled parking placards in the Bay Area, but only a little more than 29,000 regular metered spaces, and only 700 blue handicapped spaces in San Francisco.

The committee says the problem is not only supply, but also turnover. People with placards can park for free with no time limits at the regular meters and this leads to rampant misuse. The committee wants a three-pronged approach of increased supply, better enforcement, and better management from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

For example, they want the DMV's computer system upgraded so they can begin to identify doctor's offices committing fraud by selling placards for a price.

"Right now, they have no way to track whether a clinic certifies 50 a week, 500 a week, one a month," said Bob Planthold with the San Francisco Mayor's Office on Disability. "Their operating system is still DOS."

"It has become ever-challenging to find a space. Time calls for change for the better, to enable one to find a space to park," said San Francisco resident Roland Wong.

The committee looked at the best practices of 11 other cities across the nation. Some of the recommendation, like increasing the local enforcement with more parking control officers, the SFMTA board has already committed to that and begun the process.

The committee originally planned to take the local route first and get the resolution cleared by the MTA board, then go to the board of supervisors, and then go to the state. But on Tuesday, they announced a change.

They said they now hope to get the resolution from the MTA board and plan to have it on the city's legislative priority list. They will now try to get the changes in Sacramento first, then come back to the city board of supervisors.

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