Handicapped parking spots used illegally near National Mall

Parking in D.C. can be costly if you aren't paying attention, but some of those signs can be confusing.{ } Which days? What hours? Is it handicapped parking all the time?

Saturday, some visitors to the National Mall found that some handicapped parking spots in the area were taken by people who weren't handicapped.

"I have a disability. I have a spinal chord injury," said Robert Rubin of Delaware. "For someone to take my - a parking spot I desperately need instead of parking all the way over there and me being in pain."

This weekend's National Book Festival brought huge crowds, as well as drivers who illegally parked in handicapped spaces.

Bob Cannan of New York said, " I think it's terrible...We had a heck of a time to find a spot ourselves..."

On Madison Avenue, between 11th and 12th streets, ABC7 found private cars and several commercial vehicles, labeled "Quiet Sweep," parked just feet from clearly marked reserved handicapped parking signs.

One driver said it was a simple mistake, adding he didn't see the sign.

Eventually, he did move his truck. If he didn't, he could've faced a $100 fine.

"We have veterans out there who are handicapped...We have old people that needs to be able park near or close to locations," California resident Rubin Monterey said.

Still, some drivers say the signs can be confusing.

In one location, an hourly parking sign was posted. Just below it, there was one reserving the space for the handicapped.

Rubin added, "It looks like it's pointing over there, yet there's another sign you can't see unfortunately that says, 'No parking at any time."

U.S. Park Police say the handicapped sign takes precedence. If it says handicapped parking, don't park there.

Alexandria resident Cheryl Gorman said, "They're for the handicapped, and that's what it should be used for. That's very important they have some accessibility."