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Parking Authority / Project SPACE

Project SPACE logo Woman paying parking meter

Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What is ProjectSPACE?
A1. ProjectSPACE is an initiative co-sponsored by the Parking Authority of Baltimore City and the Mayor’s Commission on Disabilities, with support from the Baltimore City Department of Transportation, the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and other key stakeholders to increase the availability of on-street parking in Baltimore City by installing and reserving highly-accessible, ADA-compliant meters for people with disabilities and removing the parking meter payment exemption for vehicles displaying a disability placard or license plate.
Q2. Where is Project SPACE currently?
A1. Phase 1 MapPhase 1 of ProjectSPACE was launched in July, 2014. Phase 1 is bordered by Franklin Street to the North, President Street to the East, follows Pratt Street to the South, continues South on Light Street, Key Highway to Federal Hill Park to the South, Light Street to W. Conway St. to the South, Howard Street to the West, W. Camden Street to the South, S. Paca Street to the West, W. Pratt Street to the South, Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. to the West. See Map.
Q2. Why was ProjectSPACE created?
A2. ProjectSPACE was created to help ease Baltimore’s parking problem. Before Phase 1 was launched, it was extremely difficult to find available on-street parking in the Downtown area. The city’s policy of allowing free, unlimited parking to vehicles displaying disability placards proved too tempting for some who are without disabilities to resist, leading to the widespread theft and abuse of these placards. While census data from 2010 shows that approximately 10 percent of Baltimore adults are eligible to apply for disability placards, vehicles with these placards were sometimes taking up 100 percent of the parking spaces on some downtown blocks, often parking all day. By removing the free parking associated with disability placards and license plates, the incentive to steal and abuse them was eliminated. Before the launch of Phase 1, the average number of disability placards reported stolen to the Baltimore City Police Department was 23 per month. Since the launch, just three placards are reported stolen per month. Faced with the prospect of paying full price for parking at a metered location, those who were using disability placards for the free parking and not the accessibility park elsewhere or not drive. This has freed up hundreds of on-street parking spaces when meters are in effect. Prior to the launch of Project SPACE, 95% of the parking spaces on some of the busiest downtown blocks in Phase 1 were occupied, making it nearly impossible to locate an available parking space. Since the launch, 77% of the same blocks are occupied, leaving a lot more parking spaces available. People with disabilities now find it easier to locate a parking spaces, either at a multi-space parking meter or at one of about 200 single space meters reserved for people with disabilities.
Q3. Isn’t free parking for those with disability placards or license plates mandated by law?
A3. No. There is no Baltimore City or Maryland state law requiring free parking for people with disabilities. The policy of allowing those with disability placards and license plates to be exempt from the required payment of parking meters was created after the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act, which found the traditional crank-turn parking meters to be non-compliant. The multi-space EZ Park meters that were introduced in 2004 use newer technology with no crank-turn and were retrofitted to meet the newest ADA standards. New single space meters installed in reserved parking for those displaying disability placards or license plates exceed ADA standards and are even more accessible for those with disabilities.
Q4. When will Phase 2 of ProjectSPACE go into effect?
A4. Phase 2 of ProjectSPACE will go into effect in May of 2016. Please stay tuned for an official program launch date.
Q5. Is ProjectSPACE being implemented all across Baltimore City?
A5. Not all at once. ProjectSPACE will be implemented in phases throughout Baltimore City. Phase 1 took effect in July, 2014 in the Central Business District.
Q6. Where is Phase 2?
A6. Phase 2 includes Harbor East and Fells Point. The borders are Eastern Avenue to the North, Wolfe Street to the East, Thames Street and Lancaster to the South and President Street to the West.
Q7. Who will be affected by ProjectSPACE?
A7. Anyone who parks in Baltimore City, particularly in the area included in Phase 1 and 2 of ProjectSPACE, including employees, patrons, business owners, residents, visitors, etc.
Q8. What was Baltimore City’s policy for vehicles parking with a disability placard and/or tag?
A8. Baltimore City, like many other cities, had a policy (not law) that allowed vehicles displaying a handicap placard or tag to park on street for free due to traditional parking meters not meeting Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines. When ProjectSPACE was implemented in Phase 1 in 2014, and in Phase 2 in 2016, this policy will no longer be in effect and all parkers, including those with a disability placard and/or tag, will be required to pay for on-street parking.
Q9. Does ProjectSPACE affect off-street parking such as parking garages and private lots?
A9. Off-street parking options such as private garages and lots will not be directly affected by ProjectSPACE. However, as a result of the program, more commuters may choose to park off-street, which will create more on-street parking spaces.
Q10. What is the Americans with Disabilities Act and how does it affect ProjectSPACE?
A10. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is a law that was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1990 to increase access for people with disabilities. The ADA provides requirements for accessible parking options for people with disabilities, and ProjectSPACE meets all of these requirements. For more information about the ADA, please visit
Q11. Where can I find information about obtaining a handicap placard and/or tag?
A11. People with disabilities can contact the Motor Vehicle Administration. More information can be found here:
Q12. Will ProjectSPACE be expanding into other areas?
A12. Yes, the program will be expanding into other areas of Baltimore City in the future. Please continue to visit the ProjectSPACE website for updates.
Q13. When I park with a disability placard, don't I get to park for twice as long?
A13. If you are parked at a meter that does not meet ADA guidelines, you are allowed to park for double the duration of the meter up to 4 hours.


Media Stories

Baltimore City Debuts Parking Meters For Drivers With Disabilities
WBAL Radio 1090
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New initiative to free up city parking, help disabled drivers
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City to reserve hundreds of parking spaces for disabled
Yvonne Wenger, Baltimore Sun 02/02/14
The number of coveted parking spaces available to the able-bodied on crowded downtown streets is about to shrink as Baltimore begins reserving metered spots for disabled drivers. Earmarking 200 metered spaces in the central business district is the first step in an 18-month plan to reserve 10 percent of spaces citywide. Officials hatched the plan to accommodate disabled drivers and combat the theft of handicapped placards — which until now have let drivers park anywhere in the city for free and have been a favorite target of thieves.

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Spring launch planned for ProjectSPACE
Ursula V. Battle, Baltimore Times 02/07/14
A new parking program aimed at creating more on street parking availability by curbing the abuse of handicap hangtags is coming to town. The Parking Authority of Baltimore City and the Mayor's Commission on Disabilities have partnered to launch ProjectSPACE.
Set to launch sometime late March or early April, ProjectSPACE requires that all people parking on street pay for parking, including those who possess a disability placard. In addition, the program will reserve more than 200 on-street parking spaces for people with disabilities, making it easier for them to reach their destinations.

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Phase 2 Map

Locations of single space meters to be reserved for people with disabilities

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