Chicago PlacardsTo prevent revenue loss due to disability placard fraud, Chicago has instituted a new system that only waives parking fees for drivers who use wheelchairs, or have loss of motor control in both hands, or are unable to walk 20 feet. The placards are yellow and gray rather than blue.

There were 299,530 blue placards in Illinois last year, but of those, only 30,510 qualify for the new yellow and gray placard. Since cars with a blue placard could park as long as they wanted to under the old system, Chicago was losing a lot of money. Chicago’s parking is privatized, and the city reimburses Chicago Parking Meters LLC for revenue lost due to placards. Over the past two years, the city paid $54.9 million for placard parking.

This new policy is much better than the “everybody pays” policy adopted in other areas, since those policies often have a limit on how long the parking space can be used. Allowing unlimited parking time for wheelchair users means we won’t have to load and unload our chair every hour or two to go search for another spot (preferably near a curb cut). It is also good for people who can only walk 20 feet who’d otherwise have to get up every couple of hours to walk to the car and then try to find another spot within 20 feet of the establishment they are visiting.

Read more about the new placards here.

What do you think of Chicago’s new policy? How is parking fraud handled where you live?