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Couple fights for handicapped parking space in Northeast D.C.

Couple fights for handicapped parking space in Northeast D.C. (ABC7)

Lawrence and Emma Rivers are 88 and 84 years young respectively, but life has slowed them down. Both are disabled.

A couple of years ago, they applied for Reserved On-Street Parking for Residents with Disabilities like many of their neighbors, but DDOT turned them down.

“We don’t’ want anything special. We just want to be independent,” said Mrs. Rivers.

7 ON YOUR SIDE checked and according to DC law, if you have an off-street parking spot like the Rivers do, you’re not eligible. The Rivers argue their spot out back is too far away.

“It’s pretty difficult especially if you have to go down the steps and all of that,” said Mr. Rivers.

“It’s really frustrating,” added his wife.

Then, we measured the distance from their front door to the back alley. We went down every step and the many levels of their backyard. We calculated 45 yards and 15 steps for them to get down to their car.

Almost a half a football field, as opposed to eight yards out their front door to the sidewalk.

Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Tyrell Holcomb wants the city to reconsider.

“Federal ADA laws required that reasonable accommodations be granted,” Holcomb explained.

“I love my city but I’ve never had an encounter with them like this,” Mrs. Rivers added.

The Rivers have lived in Northeast Washington for more than 60 years.

We reached out to DDOT and received this statement:

"The Reserved On-Street Parking for Residents with Disabilities Permit program specifies that individuals with off-street parking in the form of a driveway, garage, or private parking space available immediately adjacent to or on the premises of the single-family dwelling where the individual with a disability resides will not be granted a Handicap Parking Permit. DDOT conducted a field inspection of the residents’ property in June 2016, at which time it was found the residents had an off-street parking space available. After the inspection, DDOT informed the applicant that their request was denied.
The Reserved On-Street Parking for Residents with Disabilities Permit program was established in accordance with District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR) 18:2710.1e. Applicants must meet all of the requirements in order to qualify."

The Rivers told us they’ve reached out to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Councilmember Vincent Gray and other city officials for help and have had no results.

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