Ordinance proposes to add meters at disabled parking

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 | 11:43 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Columbia City Council is likely to vote Tuesday on a proposed ordinance that would end free parking for motorists with disabilities and add disabled parking spaces around the Broadway corridor.

The city's Disabilities Commission voted unanimously in favor of the ordinance, because while it eliminates free parking, it adds more metered parking spots for motorists with disabilities on East Broadway and East Walnut and East Ash streets.

"It's going to increase the availability of disabled parking in the Broadway corridor, which is closer to most of the shopping, which is what people with disabilities have been trying to get for many, many years," chairman of the Disabilities Commission Chuck Graham said.

If passed, the ordinance would end 20 years of free parking for motorists with disabilities. The policy was established in 1994, because meters at that time required "users to grasp, pinch, twist, or otherwise exhibit force," in order to pay, according to supporting documents for the ordinance.

Spokesman for the Columbia Public Works Department Steve Sapp said the city and the Disabilities Commission have been discussing the idea of changing the policy for two years.

Sapp said he encouraged community members who have opinions on the bill to voice them.

"It's a matter of public policy, so if they have opinions and thoughts on it, they should share that with their representative," Sapp said.

Supervising editor is Caroline Bauman

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