Parking in the District of Columbia will be a lot harder for visitors driving into the city.
DC government officials are fulfilling their promise they made at overhauling parking in the city, two years ago. Officials are planning to change thousands of parking spaces into resident-only parking spots.
The DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) said on their website:
The goal of good parking management is to regulate the parking assets (spaces) in a manner that ensures that a percentage of spaces are available at any given time for short term parking. This is vital for maximizing the potential flow of customers to the District’s retail and dining establishments. Additionally, controlling congestion and improving traffic circulation are becoming increasingly important.
Giving District residents top priority with parking spots isn’t anything new. In fact, the city has been aggressively creating parking spots in many of the more crowded neighborhoods.
Columbia Heights resident Don Tennyson said, “My girlfriend lives across the river in Alexandria, VA, and she used to park anywhere on my block. One morning she and I went out to go grab a bit to eat and we saw she got two parking tickets within a three or four hour time frame. The tickets said that she parked in Zone 1 parking only. She had parked there all that time before and one day she got two tickets, and I don’t remember the city warning us about the change.”
In Tennyson’s neighborhood one side of many streets are reserved for residents with Zone 1 parking stickers. If you live in Ward 1, you can get a Ward 1 residential parking permit…Ward 2 residents can get a Zone 2 sticker…so on and so forth. But sometimes Ward share a zone. For instance, Zone 2 stickers are given to Wards 2 and 3.
DC resident Tuesday Bell posted online, “It’s a major city – not sure why you would expect parking to be simple…that is a sacrifice when you have street parking versus a driveway – I pay to park daily down here, but what sense does it make to only be able to park where you live? There’s really no point in having a car if you can’t go anywhere in the city.”
He went on to say, “If DC cared about it’s residents, it maybe could cut some driveways – but, wait, the bikers would complain and well you know they are just the most important thing….. Just watching a whole strip of parking get ripped away for the instillation of bike lanes on L Street. That is going to REALLY HELPFUL in an emergency! An entire lane is GONE…. the last time I checked, the amount of cars were not diminishing….”
Tennyson and Bell does have support on the DC Council, but maybe not for the same reasons. Ward 8 Councilmember and former mayor of DC Marion Barry isn’t pleased with the city’s plans, and is concerned that tourists and city visitors may be forced to pay as much as $20 a day in public parking garages.
But the city’s plan has at least one area resident that supports the idea.
Thomas Anderson commented, “It’s about time! Don’t forget the neighborhoods surrounding Washington Hospital Center. People don’t even respect the RESERVED handicap parking spaces, not to mention the regular spaces. People come home from work, tired, but instead of finding a nice parking space in the vicinity of their homes, they end up having to park all the way around the corner, on a completely different street, all because non-residents use these residential parking spaces, while they walk or catch the bus to work, then complete an entire shift (or 2)! There’s absolutely no reason that residents should have to beg neighbors to park in their yards until people get off work & move their cars. Not cool…at ALL.”
To discuss the issue further, DDOT has a “parking summit” planned at Judiciary Square on Dec. 4 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The District’s transportation agency has said they want to hear suggestions from residents on how to manage parking.
If you want to learn more about the parking in DC, a good blog to check out is Owning a Car in DC.