City surveys show people with disability permits fill 50 percent of Downtown's metered parking; by state law, they can park all day for free. City officials, concerned that Downtown meter turnover is too stagnant, have worked out a rough draft with the Minneapolis Advisory Committee on People with Disabilities to expand disability-permit parking options while freeing up more meters.
Margot Imdieke, MACOPD chair, brought a rough draft of the plan, which is not final, to her 15-member board on July 17.
The elements of the plan, hammered out with city transportation department officials, could include:
- Enforcing meter time limits for people with disabilities. Those with permits or stickers still won't have to feed the meter, but their parking time could be limited to 2-4 hours Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
- Long-term Parking Permit. People with disabilities who need all-day metered spots could apply for a new long-term parking permit.
- Reduced-Cost Ramp Parking. The city could make contract parking spots in city-owned ramps available to people with disabilities at 50 percent off the normal price.
- Better Enforcement. Under the proposed plan, the city's parking enforcement office would better ensure that parkers don't fraudulently use a valid disability parking permit.
- A Volunteer Enforcement Program. People from the disability community may help make sure that non-disabled people aren't using disability parking permits fraudulently.
"The whole effort is to be collaborative and have a win-win situation for everybody," said Greg Finstad, the director of Transportation and Parking Services. "We're not trying to be punitive to anyone."
All MACOPD board members favored better enforcement, since fraud reduces spaces for those with disabilities and others. They also supported a volunteer enforcement program.
They voted unanimously for the half-price ramp contracts, with the friendly amendment that employers could also contribute to the cost.
The board opposed new metered time limits on those with disabilities. However, the board voted in favor of the long-term permit program "pending further information."
The MACOPD's recommendations will go to the city's Transportation and Public Works Committee Monday July 22. Finstad emphasized that no decisions will be made until the full City Council meeting in early August.