‘Red top’ disability parking rules going into effect May 8 downtown


The red top parking meters will be reserved for drivers with disabilities effective May 8. (Brian Kapur/The Current/June 2016)

After multiple delays, the District will begin enforcing restrictions at “red top” parking meters downtown on May 8, ticketing cars parked there without a handicap tag.

Under the new system, motorists with disabilities must begin paying for parking at any meter within the city’s designated central business district, including at the approximately 350 red-painted reserved meters. Though the red tops offer double the parking time of nearby normal meters, cars with handicap tags will need to observe posted time restrictions at any other downtown meter.

The new area of enforcement includes parts of Foggy Bottom, the West End and Dupont Circle; it’s bordered by Massachusetts Avenue to the north; 23rd Street NW to the west; Constitution Avenue NW and D Street SW/SE to the south; and 2nd Street SE/NE to the east. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the city, existing rules will remain in effect allowing vehicles with disability parking placards or license plates to park free at twice the posted time at any meter.

The revisions for downtown parking were years in the making, an effort to disincentivize fraudulent use of handicap placards. But some residents with disabilities have worried about the effect of fewer spaces offering extra parking time in key downtown areas.