Q Is it true that holders of the blue disabled placard or plates can park at downtown San Jose meters without having to feed the hungry monsters, or is my leg being royally pulled?

Vilma Pallette

Santa Clara

A It's true. A person properly displaying a valid disabled placard or plates is not required to feed the meter while parked at on-street metered space in San Jose and in most cities. The owner of the placard must be the individual driving the vehicle or a passenger in the vehicle being used.

Q I have a handicap license plate. What are the privileges I can expect? Carpool driving?

Jean Cardiff

San Jose

A No, it does not allow you to use the carpool lane. Here are a few perks, however:

You can park in spaces with the international symbol of access (wheelchair symbol), next to a blue curb for persons with disabilities parking or next to a green curb (green curbs indicate limited time parking) for as long as you wish, in an on-street metered parking space at no charge and in an area that requires a resident or merchant permit.

Q My husband and I were going to have dinner at The Pagoda restaurant located within the Fairmont Hotel. Because my husband has emphysema, we drove to the underground valet area so we could park in the handicapped section. We were told there are NO handicapped spaces down there so "just turn around" and exit.

As we drove out, we saw at least six clearly marked empty handicapped spaces but were told we could not park there because they were for paying valet parking only. The manager told us they did not have to provide handicapped parking even though they are clearly marked as such because it is private property. Is this legal?

Alice Rea

Livermore

A It's legal. When a business converts its entire parking facility to valet parking, then the lot could be considered reserved for a special group and handicap parking spaces would not be required. In this case the operator should cover the signs, indicating that the handicap spaces are not active.

If the entire parking facility is not being used for valet parking and the public is allowed to park cars in a designated section of the lot, while valet parking is being done in a separate section of the lot, then the operator should provide handicap spaces in the public portion.

If parking facilities are open to the public (i.e. a business welcomes the public on its property to do business), then disabled parking is required.

Q What are the rules for disabled parking in San Francisco near the Giants baseball park? There are kiosks where one pays to park along The Embarcadero. They sell tickets. Are the handicapped exempt from having to pay?

Ed B.

Santa Cruz

A Yes. There are multi-space parking meters where each meter controls several parking spaces along The Embarcadero near AT&T Park. These multi-space meters print out tickets that need to be displayed on the parked vehicle's dashboard. Vehicles displaying valid disabled placards issued by the DMV are exempt from meter fees and do not need to purchase a ticket.

Q Are armored cars picking up from a bank exempt from handicapped parking restrictions? I was at B of A in Fremont recently and not only was this truck blocking both disabled spots for at least 10 minutes that I was there, but they actually blocked someone in. I had to move my car to allow another driver to leave.

On top of that, the driver, who refused to give his name, was extremely rude and sarcastic.

Mark Silverman

A They are not exempt. If this happens again, get the company's name and call Fremont police, who will call the company.

Go to Roadshow's expanded online presence at www.mercurynews.com/mr-roadshow and look for rules of the road, construction updates and favorite stories. Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at mrroadshow@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5335.