The SFMTA and the Mayor’s Office on Disability produced this video explaining why free parking for disabled placard holders is bad policy.
The policy change has been recommended by a committee comprised mostly of disability advocates that was formed to tackle the growing problem of placard abuse, which deprives legitimately disabled drivers of reserved parking spaces close to their destinations, cheats the SFMTA out of revenue, and lets drivers occupy high-demand parking spots all day with no incentive to limit their stay. Consequently, abuse of placards by non-disabled drivers is rampant.
California is one of only 15 states to exempt disabled parking placard holders from having to pay at the meter. Pursuing a change in that law is one of six recommendations made by the SFMTA’s Accessible Parking Policy Advisory Committee, but it’s the only one that the SFMTA can’t implement without approval from the state legislature. It’s currently unknown which state assembly member or senator might introduce a bill.
Bob Planthold, a senior and disability advocate who served on the SFMTA’s committee and initially opposed charging placard holders for parking at meters, pointed out that the 35 states that already do so include Florida and Arizona. “A lot of people retire and move to those states,” he said. “Those states are not having people move away because they require people to pay at the meters.”