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1 in 10 California Drivers Have Disabled Parking Placards
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Topic Rating: 0.5Topic Rating: 0.5Topic Rating: 0.5Topic Rating: 0.5Topic Rating: 0.5 Topic Rating: 0.5 (15 votes) 
May 24, 2011
7:31 am
Bret
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From the LA Times:

Fraudulent use of disabled parking placards — those blue or red badges that allow motorists to park for free or in specially reserved spaces — has exploded in the last decade, according to state motor vehicle officials.

handicap parking

With 1 in 10 California drivers now legally registered to carry the passes, transportation experts say abuse has become commonplace. At any given moment, on any given street, more than a third of the vehicles displaying the tags — and parking without paying — are doing so illegally, say officials with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

California, which has 24 million licensed drivers, will issue 2.1 million permanent placards this year, up from 1.2 million a decade ago. In Los Angeles County, about 621,000 of nearly 6 million licensed drivers have placards.

"The city of Los Angeles has six legal placards for every single city meter," said Jonathan Williams, a transportation planner in Seattle who as a graduate student at UCLA researched the effect of legal disabled placards on city parking programs.

To continue reading the rest of this article, click here!

May 24, 2011
8:12 am
RichardM
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I'm sure it *is* possible to have difficulty walking, but still be able to surf.   However, I suspect the owner of these vehicles does not fit that description.  I have seen a number of RVs in Venice with disabled placards and also bikes or surf boards strapped onto their vehicle.   Unfortunately there isn't much the DMV can do if the RV owner managed to get a doctor to sign off on the placard.  No laws exist that I am aware of that would enable the police to investigate placards obtained under false pretense.  It's sad that these people consider their own parking convenience more important than that of the truly disabled.

  -- Richard

May 24, 2011
9:36 am
Soul of Venice
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I agree with Richard, shame on all those who abuse handicapped parking….also why is it handicapped parking is free?  I mean just cause someone is less abled bodied doesn't mean they are financially handicapped and in these cash strapped times for the city you would think we need to generate every dollar possible, remember that the next time you see a Porsche parking at a meter for free, karma anyone?

May 24, 2011
11:42 am
okono
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CA should adopt a "name and shame" tactic. Make people that get caught fraudulently using placards do time standing in front of handicap spots with a sign around their neck that says "Assholes like me steal your parking spots"

 

Having said that, remember that sometimes things aren't how they appear. There are plenty of times when it might look like someone is perfectly able-bodied and using a placard – they could very well be picking up someone that requires the placard. So it's best not to prematurely accuse someone of something if you don't really know.

May 24, 2011
1:32 pm
MichaelInVenice
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The handicapped parking laws here are just as ridiculous as the "medical marijuana" laws.

1) No real medical standard for who should get one.

2) No supervision of the physicians signing off on them, to ensure that they're only given to people who really qualify.

3) No punishment for inappropriate use, lending, sharing etc.

It's a complete joke, that often leaves legitimately handicapped people scrambling for space while people who don't deserve them park for hours or days, not out of need but purely for convenience.

Add to that, the fact that rather than creating laws that would legitimately help those who need help, we've instead created de-facto "reparations" for the handicapped, rather than laws that are designed to make their lives easier. That's why they don't have to pay for parking (they do in most states), while the rest of us do. Not because they shouldn't be encouraged to limit their time taking up precious spaces in busy areas, but because somebody decided they should be "special." That's why they can park for days in busy commercial zones where the parking is supposed to be dedicated to transitory shoppers: because they're "special." That's why they're entitled to park large (> 17') vehicles in spaces where large vehicles are otherwise not allowed. Because, I guess, being handicapped makes it impossible for them to go about their normal business in any vehicle smaller than 17'.

Note that I have no problem with setting aside handicapped spaces close to buildings, or even to allowing them some extra time given that it is more difficult to get around. But if anybody else is expected to finish their business on AK and move on in two hours, I think it's quite reasonable to expect that even a handicapped person should be able to do the same in four. Instead the rules is effectively: stick around as long as you like, we can only move you for street cleaning, when all parking is prohibited entirely.

Sadly, there's virtually zero chance of these laws being changed, because doing that would be "mean." The people who are hurt most by this (the people with the legitimate need who are shut out by those who have no real need) seem to refuse to lobby for their own benefit…

 

Feline Victim.
May 24, 2011
9:30 pm
tibone
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there is a guy on AK driving a motorcycle with handicap license plate, wtf!

May 24, 2011
9:56 pm
birdy
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tibone said:

there is a guy on AK driving a motorcycle with handicap license plate, wtf!

 

 

 

 

 

So people with disabilities shouldn't be allowed to drive a motorcycles, WTF!

May 24, 2011
10:31 pm
tibone
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@birdy if you can drive a mc or sports car you don't need special treatment!

May 24, 2011
11:18 pm
MichaelInVenice
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tibone said:

@birdy if you can drive a mc or sports car you don't need special treatment!

Yeah, I mean, you need two hands and two feet to ride a motorcycle. You need two hands and two feet to drive any real sports car (which I will define as excluding anything that doesn't have the old "clutch" and "gear shift" devices). Obviously, you may still have some physical issues, but nothing that should put you into a position that requires special parking priveleges.

Although, I note in the LA Times article that one of the groups who can "prescribe" a handicapped plate is opticians. Because apparently you can have enough issues with your eyes that you have trouble getting around once parked, but still be legal to drive in the first place. I mean seriously, WTF?

Feline Victim.
May 24, 2011
11:44 pm
digdug
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In order to get one of those placards I think you should need a walker.. or wheelchair.. something that would make navigating a parking lot or street more dangerous if you had to park at a greater distance.  With all the expenses of driving a car.. gas.. insurance.. repairs.. I don't think the cost of parking would prevent a disabled person from driving.  It also sounds like they merged two completely different issues into a single placard… lack of mobility and lack of upward mobility.  It would seem we should have a separate "free parking" placard for those who meet certain finical requirements (such as medical costs).  No matter what this whole system needs serious reform.  I would suggest only giving these placards to cars that have been retrofitted with some hardware to help a disabled person get in and out of the car.. or have the person pay some extra fee to have their case heard by a judge when initially obtaining the placard to get a waiver of hardware requirements being added to the vehicle.  If you don’t need assistance to get in and out of your car I find it hard to believe you can’t travel an extra 50 feet under your own power.  If there is a scenario where this assumption wouldn’t work I would be curious to know what it is.

May 24, 2011
11:59 pm
ladidadi
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digdug said:

In order to get one of those placards I think you should need a walker.. or wheelchair.. something that would make navigating a parking lot or street more dangerous if you had to park at a greater distance.  With all the expenses of driving a car.. gas.. insurance.. repairs.. I don't think the cost of parking would prevent a disabled person from driving.  It also sounds like they merged two completely different issues into a single placard… lack of mobility and lack of upward mobility.  It would seem we should have a separate "free parking" placard for those who meet certain finical requirements (such as medical costs).  No matter what this whole system needs serious reform. 

I have a family member who has a handicapped placard; he has a serious heart condition, and it's difficult for him to walk any distance that would moderately inconvenience the rest of us, so the shortage preference is awfully beneficial to him.  When my aunt was pregnant, she also appreciated the "Reserved for Expectant Moms" spaces when she felt as big as a tanker.

BUT:

The aforementioned relatives live in NYC, where everyone pays for parking.  Everyone.

Just say the Magic Words.
May 25, 2011
12:06 am
Bret
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digdug said:

If there is a scenario where this assumption wouldn’t work I would be curious to know what it is.

When my father was dying of cancer I would often times take him to his medical appointments. The routine was to pull the car up to the front door as close as possible … assist him to a lobby seat … run back out to the still running car and shove it in the closest spot (handicap spot if needed with his placard) … run as fast as possible back into the lobby and then support him in his walk to whatever we were going to do.

Some days were better than others and I could spend the time to find a "normal spot". Some days were far worse … high speed runs to the hospital while he was bleeding out in the passenger seat and I carried him into the emergency room with the car sideways in the street or entryway.

Speaking from experience .. don't be too quick to make assumptions on what is happening .. that guy honking at you to get out of the way, driving down the median at a brisk clip or parked in a handicap spot and running away from the car may just be playing ambulance for a family member in need.

 

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