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Mayor moves to crack down on residential disabled parking abuses

1-5-06 Handicapped parking space front 5843 s Kolmar. Brian Jackson/Sun-Times

1-5-06 Handicapped parking space in front of 5843 s Kolmar. Brian Jackson/Sun-Times

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Updated: November 5, 2012 11:36AM

Mayor Rahm Emanuel moved Wednesday to stop chronic abuses in a city program that has allowed people with disabled parking placards to reserve on-street parking spaces in front of their homes.

At a City Council meeting, Emanuel introduced an ordinance that would limit the total number of restricted parking spaces to no more than “20 percent of the available parking spaces” on a designated block.

The changes would further require that the person driving the placard holder live with the applicant at the residence for which the application was made.

The city’s decision on whether to issue the placard would depend, in part, on “whether alternative accessible off-street parking located at the applicants primary residence” is available.

And the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities could review denials, but only on the question of whether off-street parking is accessible. Laurie Dittman, a senior policy analyst for the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, said the changes are aimed at ensuring that “the people getting these parking spaces are the most in need.”

In 2007, a Chicago Sun-Times investigation found that nearly 10 percent — 1,097 — of the disabled spots on city rolls were at addresses where no nearby resident holds a state-issued disabled license plate or parking credential, as required by law.

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