Red top parking meters coming to D.C. later this year

Red top parking meters will be for drivers with handicapped-driver placards or plates, and DDOT is not fooling around. (WTOP/Ari Ashe)

Correction: This story has been updated to to reflect the correct status of the Red Top meter program. The program is not in effect yet and any driver can park at a Red Top meter until the official start date later this year.

WASHINGTON — Red top meters, reserved for handicapped drivers, are being installed, tested and expected in D.C.

When the Red Top meter program goes into effect later this year, the meters will be reserved for those with handicap placards and plate holders.

Additionally, the meters will allow twice the usual time. This includes Parkmobile users, who will have the usual Parkmobile fee waived. The meters will also display a “reserved for handicap” sign.

In 2012, the D.C. Department of Transportation, or DDOT, began installing the red top meters to address problems with the old system. Before 2012, drivers with handicap driver placards could park at any meter for free.

The result was a robust black market for counterfeit placards. DDOT and D.C. Council tried several approaches to crack down on the problem, but the counterfeiters always seemed to be one step ahead of the regulators.

So how do red top meters solve the problem?

Now, everyone, including disabled drivers, will have to pay to park. Those rules eliminate the financial incentive to get a counterfeit placard.

D.C. recognizes placards from all states.

Once the Red Top program starts, parking without a valid placard or disability plate will comes with a $250 ticket.

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