Chicago cracks down on illegal disabled parking placard use - New York News

Chicago cracks down on illegal disabled parking placard use

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A new crackdown is underway to catch parking cheats - specifically people who misuse disability placards.

Call it creative or controversial. Either way, the city is moving ahead with its strategy to get the word out about the new disabled placard laws effective Jan. 1, 2014.

City workers are canvassing the area starting Monday to warn all disabled placard holders to get new ones or face stiff penalties. They posted fliers that look like parking tickets on cars, displaying a disabled placard or disability license plate.

"I think it's wonderful," disabled placard holder Ann Lidkey said. "There are a lot of people who are totally fit using somebody else's placard and they shouldn't."

Five months before the change is scheduled to take place, the city of Chicago is reminding placard holders of a new law preventing drivers with disabled placards from parking in metered spots without paying.

"This is absolutely terrible for me," Lidkey said. "What it would cost me to try and park to go to work is probably the same amount of money I have to pay in medications to get through the month with the disease that keeps me handicapped. It's terrible. It actually will hurt so many people. I don't think it's a wise decision at all."

"Well, the change is obviously done to cut down on the fraud and abuse that's taking place in the program," Disability Liaison to Secretary of State Bill Bogdan said, "and to ensure that those people that are truly eligible for the parking program have the access that they deserve."

But the early windshield warning is not sitting well with some, including Alderman Bob Fioretti (2nd).

Fioretti's ward includes portions of the South Loop and will be heavily impacted by the windshield warnings reminding drivers of the upcoming law.

"This law doesn't go into effect until Jan.1," Fioretti said. "Here we are starting in August - people are going to forget. Just make a statement, a simple one to all placard holders, defining what their rights and responsibilities are."

The Illinois Secretary of State's Office said they sent letters, but they started the flier campaign on Monday because the weather is still nice - no rain, cold or wind just yet. They also said the goal is to get the message out before the last minute.

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