But that's recently changed. The city of Hagerstown is now enforcing a law that requires drivers with disability tags to pay the meter.
For years, disabled residents could park anywhere without having to pay. Now, the only free spots are specifically marked for disabled drivers.
"People that have a handicap sticker or a license plate need to be able to get to where they're going," says Poe. "Not park all the way in the center of the parking lot."
"It's really become a problem for people unloading stuff and have their grand kids, people are just fighting for parking spaces," says McHenry.
In a statement, the city said:
"The City of Hagerstown makes it a priority to provide available and accessible disability parking to downtown residents, visitors and employees. In our Central Lot alone, there are 291 public parking spaces. Of those spaces, 12 are designated as parking for disabled motorists only and are free to the user every day of the week. ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requires only seven designated disabled spaces in a parking facility this size. In addition, the remaining parking spaces are available for all drivers to park. These spaces require payment to park and the parking meters meet ADA specifications, making them accessible even to drivers with disability tags or placards. There is also available disability parking in both parking decks on North Potomac Street and in the Arts & Entertainment District.
According to MD 13-616(f)(2)(i), drivers with disability tags or placards are required to pay the meter when it is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. In the past, some public parking meters did not meet ADA requirements. Currently all meters along the streets and in our public parking lots are compliant with ADA, making parking staff compliant with the law regarding parking enforcement. No driver received a citation without initially receiving a warning citation. Drivers who later received payable citations and claimed to be unaware of the law were also given a warning instead of paying the fine."
The City of Hagerstown is committed to providing affordable and convenient parking options for everyone in our downtown."
Out of the 291 parking spaces in the central lot, in city center, 12 of them are reserved for the disabled.