New Illinois State Law Limits Disability Parking

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Effective January 1st, a new Illinois law narrows the use of disability parking placards, allowing free metered parking only for drivers who receive placards based on a doctor’s recommendation and meeting legislative criteria.

Although the law is currently enacted, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the City of Chicago is offering a 15 day grace period for motorists to adapt to the new law. Tickets will be issued starting January 16, 2014.

“Whether it’s a space on the street at metered parking or in parking lots with spaces designated for people with disabilities, we will enforce all disability parking laws to prevent abuse and ensure people with disabilities have the available parking that the law provides,” Mayor Emanuel said.

The new Secretary of State-issued yellow and gray placards will allow qualified drivers to park for free at a meter. Blue placards will still be issued and will entitle people to park in parking lots, but they will not be permitted to park for free in metered spots.

To qualify for a new yellow and gray placard, drivers must have their doctor attest that they cannot do one of the following:

— Feed parking meters “due to the lack of fine motor control of both hands.”
— Feed meters because they need to use a wheelchair.
— Reach above their heads “to a height of 42 inches above the ground.”
— Walk more than 20 feet due to an orthopedic, neurological, cardiovascular or lung condition.”

“The availability of accessible parking has long been an issue that needed to be addressed on behalf of the disability community,” Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities Karen Tamley said. “The high level of abuse prevents people with disabilities from carrying out day-to-day activities and also limits their full participation in the community.”

Anyone ticketed for violating the new law in the Central Business District (CBD) will receive a $65 fine. Violations in areas outside the CBD will be $50.

For more information about placards for motorists with disabilities, visit

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