WASHINGTON — After years of delays, rules for red top parking meters in the District are set to be enforced as soon as next month.
The meters were installed years ago, but they have been the source of confusion for years, as the rules limiting red top meter use to those with disability parking placards or license plates have not been enforced since shortly after the program began in 2012.
As of last October, the District Department of Transportation hoped to start enforcement at the start of this year.
Now, the city is looking to begin enforcing new rules around April, DDOT citywide parking manager Evian Patterson said.
The stated goal of the program is to ensure available parking in busy areas for people with disabilities.
The meters are now only in the “Central Business District,” an area stretching from the area near Foggy Bottom and Dupont Circle to just southeast of the U.S. Capitol.
The red top meters originally installed in other parts of the city have been removed, Patterson said.
“We’re focusing on the downtown area because it’s our high demand and highly congested zone,” Patterson said.
In the downtown area, people with valid disabled parking placards or license plates will be required to pay for parking at the red top meters. But they will be able to park for twice the amount of time allowed at other meters on the block.
“We’ll also look at ways to identify the other meters to indicate that you’re in an area where it’s a red top meter that’s available for you and requires payment when you’re in that zone,” he said.
Outside the downtown area, people with valid disabled parking placards or license plates will continue to be allowed to park for free at any metered space.
Drivers without disability placards or tags will not be allowed to park at the red top meters.
Patterson said many drivers appear to follow that policy today, because he largely sees people with handicapped placards at the red top meters. In addition to the red top that can flag drivers that they may not be allowed to park there, there is a small wheelchair image on the meter to indicate its purpose.
DDOT hopes a public information campaign will help make the new rules clearer before enforcement begins.