Sea of blue disabled placards in many US cities

SAN DIEGO - Disabled placards are a coveted item in many cities, allowing drivers to park for free at a meter with no time limit.

But parking officials in cities such as Portland, Ore., are alarmed by the number of vehicles with blue placards dangling from rear-view mirrors.

As the population ages and eligibility standards have loosened, it's common to see blocks in which most of the cars have a placard. And those cars stay all day long, costing the city meter revenue while reducing the turnover that shop owners like to see.

Portland officials are now looking to charge disabled people who are not in wheelchairs for parking. Other cities found that taking away the financial incentive for disabled parking reduces cheating and opens up spaces.

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