DDOT responds after FOX 5 finds handicap spots issued to dead people while nearby couple denied

The District Department of Transportation has responded after FOX 5 reported there were reserved handicap spots for people who were deceased.

FOX 5's Tisha Lewis reported Thursday about Emma and Lawrence Rivers, an elderly couple with limited mobility in Northeast D.C. who were denied a handicap reserved parking permit by DDOT.

We pointed out that where the Rivers live in the 3900 block of Blaine Street, Northeast there was at least one reserved handicap spot for a person that was no longer living. Neighbors told FOX 5 the homeowner passed away in 2016, but her reserved spot remained there unused.

The Rivers said it was frustrating that they lived just steps away and had their request for a handicap parking permit denied. Lawrence Rivers is an Army veteran who is recovering from a stroke and his wife has to use a walker to get around.

DDOT denied their request, citing that there's plenty of street parking and a spot out back, ignoring the staircases that the Rivers have to navigate to get inside the backside of their home. DDOT also ignored that there was an available reserved handicap spot across the street.

"Once the agency is informed about a resident's passing, the agency acts to rescind any parking permits and signage previously issued to the deceased resident," DDOT said in a statement to FOX 5.

At least three neighbors told FOX 5 they had brought the sign issue to DDOT's attention and said nothing had been done.

"There are a number of folks who have become deceased over the last two years when this process for them began and in this timeframe there has been no follow up from DDOT to figure out if the persons who have reserved parking permits and signs out in front of their house still apply," Tyrell Holcomb with the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions said. "They're expecting the community at large to call and report a matter to them that quite frankly it is their job as a city agency to know what's going on with the folks they've distributed these signs to."

Holcomb said he believes the issue surrounding reserved handicap spots assigned to the deceased is widespread across the District.