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Committee Outlines Plans On Handicapped Parking In Raleigh's Downtown

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker will receive a proposal next week that outlines three courses of action recommended by a special committee addressing the issue of parking in downtown.

The Raleigh Mayor's Committee for Persons with Disabilities was assigned the task of addressing parking after local business owners complained to WRAL about people using handicap placards to park for hours in 15-minute or 30-minute spaces.

Committee members will propose an educational campaign, the designation of more accessible parking spaces for the disabled in downtown, and a citizens' patrol to make sure handicap spaces are properly used.

Federal regulations require parking lots to have accessible parking spaces for disabled people, but the same regulations don't apply for on-street parking. A state law, however, permits people with handicap placards to park in any space for as long as they need.

More handicap-accessible parking spaces, members say, would free up the time-limited spaces.

"That will encourage people to go where they should truly go, where they need to park if they are traveling with a disability," said committee Chairman James Benton.

Meeker says it could work, but only if the right number of new parking places is created.

"We want to avoid a situation where we have a number of spots that are vacant most of the time," Meeker said.

Charlotte already has a citizen's patrol in place. It is a volunteer program with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department that helps educate the public on the need for reserving parking spaces for people with disabilities. Certified members have the ability to ticket people who are illegally parked.

The committee will take its recommendations to Meeker on Tuesday. It then goes to the full City Council for a vote.


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