Disabled Morals

There is a subject that has perturbs me for the past year. It is the amazing number of cars with handicap placards parking all day at meters for free. I rarely see anyone on the street that look disabled or in a wheelchair, yet a short walk down several blocks in Oakland show that at least 30% of all cars at meters have the blue plastic hanging from their mirror indicating that they are physically unable to walk like a normal person. There is no way that this many disabled people are working here. There are two explanations: 1) These people are very lazy and donít want to walk from a farther parking lot and 2) These people are avoiding paying for parking by parking at the meters all day and not having to insert coins. For the people who are not truly disabled, there are two types 1) Those that are maybe just out of shape and ask their doctor for one or 2) Those that simply pull a blatant scam to get one somehow. Both types of people are positively shameful.

The reason it upsets me is because it defeats the purpose of meters and causes other problems. The purpose of a meter is to provide parking for short-term errands of varying lengths, usually 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on the city or location. Because of all the spaces being taken up by fake handicap people, there are no spaces for the short-term errand people and they have to double park to pick up their laundry, wigs, or other tasks. If the meters were intended to be parked at all day, they would allow several hours of parking.

Now, I will say that I will take advantage of a broken meter and park at it all day when I drive in and come across one on the way to my parking lot. And this too is not in the spirit of the meter and in fact still technically has a time limit even when broken, though they never ticket for it. However, I feel this is just plain luck finding one of these and not nearly as large a percentage of the spaces as those taken up by fake handicappers.

It still should be allowed for true handicapped people to park at meters all day. But I think there needs to be a larger fee charged for this privilege and better processes in place to prevent and prosecute improper use. The shame of claiming oneself too physically ill to walk, when it is blatantly untrue or just a result of laziness, should be enough to prevent improper use. I find it a sad state of affairs that so many people have no shame causing more policies needed to rectify this problem.

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