In answer to the calls from disabled drivers, the city of Vancouver this month is adding several new spaces reserved for them in front of the Vancouver Community Library.
The spaces will also be the first to have time limits on free parking downtown for disabled drivers, the result of a controversial ordinance passed by the city council this summer.
The spaces on the street and in the parking lot will be signed to notify disabled drivers they may only park for four hours in that spot for free, Vancouver Parking Services Manager Mike Merrill said.
“This is probably a good location for us to start with,” Merrill said. “Turnover in front of the library is important. (For nondisabled drivers) there’s a two-hour time limit in the lot and on-street. So we are encouraging the turnover so people can take advantage of the most convenient stalls.”
But, at this point, there are no plans to put the same time limits on other disabled spots around downtown, he said. That means residents of Lewis and Clark Plaza — a 46-unit housing project for low-income seniors at 621 Broadway — who had protested the potential loss of on-street parking by their building, still have unlimited parking.
Any spot with a four-hour time limit will be clearly signed, the parking manager said.
Merrill said that no businesses have requested the time limits near their stores yet.
The boundary of where a four-hour time-limit zone can be created is from Fourth Plain Boulevard on the north to the Columbia River on the south, and from Lincoln Avenue on the west to Interstate 5 on the east.
Striping and signing of the additional disabled spaces at the library, at 901 C St., will be done within the next few weeks, weather permitting, Merrill said.