Ever wonder why it's especially hard to find a metered parking spot Downtown? Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez has an idea. A cameraman clued Lopez in to a commonly-bitched-about phenomenon--cars with disabled placards sitting for hours at meters, which don't have to be fed because of the permits. The cameraman found that on six blocks he checked, an average of 64 percent of the parked cars had the disabled signs on them. Lopez set up a stakeout outside some of the disabled placard cars and watched people walk back at the end of the workday, many without obvious afflictions. Of course, not all disabilities are apparent to the eye, but one guy did practically run from Lopez. A DMV rep says that when they investigate a certain area, usually about 30-40 percent of the placards are fraudulent. It's not clear what kind of income the city's missing out on--they collected $40 million last year from parking meters--but some states have begun charging disabled people for parking, while a Northern California city hired disabled military veterans to catch people abusing disabled placards.
· A Peculiar Parking Pattern [LA Times]