Gotto wants to raise awareness of free downtown parking

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 at 2:52am

Under Tennessee state law, registered drivers with disabilities can park their vehicles at metered parking spaces and publicly owned lots or garages for free.

But, according to Councilman Jim Gotto, many Nashvillians don’t realize the option even exists.

“I’m not sure how many people know that,” Gotto said. “I seriously doubt that our parking lot attendants are telling them.”

In an effort to provide some clarity, the Hermitage council member has sponsored a bill that would require Public Works to post signs or other forms of notification at parking locations operated by Metro, alerting disabled drivers of the free-of-charge policy.

“If it’s the law, people should be informed about it,” Gotto said. “On the parking meters, you would probably need to put a sticker on them ... As far as the lots go, I think you would need to put a sign up.”

The bill had been slated to go before the council on second reading this week, but Gotto told The City Paper he plans to defer the ordinance for two meetings to allow additional time to hammer out details with various stakeholders.

The nine-member Metro Traffic and Parking Commission is expected to discuss Gotto’s bill at its next meeting, which is in May.

Mark Macy, director of engineering for Public Works, said he doesn’t know how much it would cost to install new signs at Metro parking lots, but said he’ll have an estimate prior to next month’s meeting.

8 Comments on this post:

By: drusie on 4/20/10 at 5:51

Thanks, Councilman Gotto. Glad to know I could park free with my disability documented. Now, if I could just find a parking place somewhere near my destination...

By: Kosh III on 4/20/10 at 6:09

Yeah, lack of close or convenient parking is the main reason why I never go downtown.
Can you do something about that Councillor?

By: dustywood on 4/20/10 at 7:33

How does one find the "public" lots? We once parked at the Hilton, next to the area for "free" because of handicap status. We tipped the valet, cause he said he may have to move our car if they had a registered guest needing the space. It did not cause a problem. If a person is handicapped, there should be someplace in a 2 block radius for them to park so they can attend the concerts,sports events,etc.

By: cweston on 4/20/10 at 10:31

I use public transit to get downtown so I don't have to worry about parking.

By: bum55 on 4/20/10 at 10:40

is this another benefit to be abused by the many with bogus handicap stickers. Sick and tired of people who sprained an ankle months ago still abusing their handicap parking sticker. Didn't this start out as something to provide parking for wheelchair. What a Joke!
Another problem with this is, since when does a handicap sticker mean you're poor and deserve to park for free everywhere? This just perpetuates a system that is full of abusers and has gotten out of hand.

By: paulnashtn on 4/20/10 at 5:11

I have a handicap placard and although it may not look like I need it, I do. However as stated before, my problem downtown is finding spaces not paying for them

By: localboy on 4/21/10 at 8:01

Thanks Councilman, glad you could find time for this in between nonbinding resolutions supporting unconstitutional state shenanigans...

By: Myth_of_the_Nob... on 4/24/10 at 11:36

Actually the reason you have to drive around looking for a parking space is because its too cheap to park downtown. It's supply and demand. If we chose to charge the market rate for parking downtown that would produce a 15% vacancy rate then there would always be a parking spot available for those who are willing to pay for it. It would also reduce parking subsidies overall and level the playing field for transit. One of the main reasons we do not think of using transit more often is because we expect to find a free or extremely cheap parking space everywhere we go.