LaMattina Would like to see Handicap Parking Audit for Eagle Hill Area

By John Lynds

With some Eagle Hill residents and business owners split on the plan to make all of Eagle Hill resident permit parking, City Councilor Sal LaMattina thinks he’s found a solution.

“I think we are going to try two-hour parking except for resident’s with parking permits,” said LaMattina. “This has worked in other areas and we have to balance the needs of residents with businesses owners who rely on on street parking. This may not make everyone happy but I encourage those who have problems with people parking over two hours or areas were the two hour rule is habitually broken to call my office and we will send enforcement out there to ticket cars.”

LaMattina also wants to see a handicap parking audit done in Eagle Hill to free up even more spaces for residents and visitors to Eagle Hill.

It’s been a dirty little secret in Boston for years but sadly many abuse the handicap parking program and Eastie is no different said LaMattina.

On a five block stretch on Saratoga Street from Shelby to Meridian Streets there are over two dozen handicap parking spaces with the most concentrated on two blocks from Putnam to Marion Streets.

Last week, the state’s Inspector General Glenn Cunha submitted a report to the state’s Joint Committee on Transportation were he found abuse of the disabled persons’ parking placards program here in Eastie and throughout Boston.

Cunha’s team found abuses that included the use of placards belonging to deceased persons, expired placards, placards that had been reported lost or stolen, and a placard that had been purchased for $300

During his investigation, Cunha found 23 of these drivers were cited by the State Police for placard misuse. The drivers were fined and the State Police confiscated the placards they were using. Fifty-seven other drivers concealed the placard number and expiration date, which enables abusers to use placards that are cancelled, have expired or that belong to someone else.

None of the vehicle owners had their own placards.

The Office also found that the state’s placard laws need stronger enforcement measures.

“For example, some placard holders have jobs – such as construction work and window washing – which require physical activities that contradict the state’s requirements for obtaining a placard,” said Cunha. “Also, some temporary placards are extended multiple times, sometimes years beyond the original expiration date, based on the same general diagnosis. The Registry of Motor Vehicles (“RMV”) has limited authority, however, to deny suspicious placard applications. Likewise, the current placard laws do not contain sufficient mechanisms to investigate potential fraud or to take action against wrongfully obtained placards.”

According to the City of Boston the program guidelines to obtain a handicap parking space must have a physical disability which is expected to last at least 12 months, and which limits their ability to walk to less than 200 feet; a valid Handicap License Plate (HP Plate), Disabled Veteran’s License Plate (DV), or HP Placard issued from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles; and have a car registered at their address which is used primarily for their personal transport, either as a driver or passenger.

Applicants for the Residential Accessible Parking Space Program will not be approved if an applicant’s disability is short-term, expected to last less than 1 year, and does not significantly limit their functional mobility or lives at residences where off-street parking is available for the applicant’s use, such as a driveway, parking lot, or garage.

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