Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Parking Bill Would Change Ward 1 Rules

Greater Greater Washington provides an update and analysis on a pair of DC parking bills, one of which would apply to Ward 1 parkers:

Parking on one side of every residential street in DC's Wards 1 and 6 could be reserved for residents only, at all times of the day, under a pair of bills introduced by Jim Graham and Tommy Wells, the Councilmembers for those two wards. Tomorrow, the Council will hold a hearing on both bills, the Residential Parking Protection Pilot Act of 2009 and the Ward 6 Residential Parking Protection Pilot Act of 2009. In addition, one or both bills would provide visitor parking passes to residents, expand RPP sticker eligibility, and adjust RPP fees.

The first covers Adams Morgan, Mount Pleasant, Columbia Heights and U Street, while the second would encompass Capitol Hill, Southwest Waterfront, Near Southeast, and Mount Vernon Triangle. Both would reserve one side of every block with Residential Permit Parking (RPP) for residents of the individual wards. Households would each get one visitor pass to hand to daytime domestic workers or out-of-town visitors, entitling that visitor to park in a residential space. The Ward 1 bill also specifies that every household in the ward can receive a sticker for their car. Currently, residents of some apartment buildings facing commercial streets, or people who live on non-RPP zoned streets, are not eligible for the stickers, and thus receive no RPP privileges at all.

According to William Jordan (aka BroNat), Council Member Graham's staff said nothing will move forward until a public meeting happens in Columbia Heights. Greater Greater Washington has some reservations about the plan, asking if it will be bad for business, but I think ArtBart likes the sound of it (hey ArtBart, is that true?). What do you think?


devan said...

i think arguing that it would be bad for business is a little disingenuous, considering the target parking deck is apparently never filled to capacity. plus, it IS difficult for residents to find spots, especially those of us who live on particularly busy blocks. i vote yea!

ArtBart said...

I am intrigued by the parking legislation because of the visitors' pass policy, having paid $60 in tickets one weekend when family was in town. Also, since the new Saturday parking regulations on Kenyon and Irving around DCUSA went into effect, I have had a MUCH easier time finding a spot on my block Saturday afternoons. What Jim Graham is proposing Ward-wide could work.

Jamie said...

DCUSA/Target is not the only business in Wards 1 and 6, and parking immediately surrounding that development is already restricted to Ward 1 permits at all times.

I think it's a bad idea, and I don't see how this will substantially change the parking situation. If it will take parking away from out-of-area residents in places where are few or no alternatives, like Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle, U Street and so on, then of course it will be bad for business.

It's also bad for residents, because our vistors, contractors and service people will have nowhere to park. How are you going to have a dinner party with one visitor permit?

Parking is self regulating. If it becomes too hard for a resident to park, they will pay for a reserved spot, lose a car, or move. Think New York City, which has zero parking restrictions anywhere other than meters in some places. There is nothing wrong with this model. Every past attempt to tinker with the parking laws in DC such as zoning unzoned streets, extending the zone limit hours, and so on has had no effect. The reality is, most parking is consumed by residents. If changing the rules actually made more parking for residents available, then people will simply have more cars on average, or stop paying for offstreet parking, and the equilibrium will be restored. The same as they will get rid of them or pay for parking, if street parking is too difficult.

Alex said...

As someone who has frequently tried to find free parking spaces in Manhattan, I can attest that it is not true that NYC has zero parking restrictions.

While there ought to be more leeway during the day, when street parking for residents isn't really that much of an issue, at night there should definitely be residents only parking on certain streets. Businesses that include car-driving customers in their business model ought to cover the cost of that, rather than expecting residents to subsidize them.

Jamie said...

My mistake, I was not clear. There are not zero parking restrictions. There is street sweeping and there are parking meters. What I mean is, there are no "resident only" parking restrictions. You do not need, nor can you get, a permit of any kind that gives you special privileges to park in Manhattan. Every car is subject the the same rules - alternate-side parking for street sweeping, or meters if there are meters.

"Businesses that include car-driving customers in their business model ought to cover the cost of that"

Huh? How would you propose a typical business do that?

If we want people to patronize our businesses, then why would we make it impossible for them to get to them? It's not like every storefront has the option to create parking for themselves. With the exception of a giant new development like DCUSA, it is actually impossible, or vastly financially impractical, to do so.

If it is too inconvenient for people to get to shopping and nightlife in DC then they won't go there. Saying "screw the tourists" is such an arrogant, short-sighted attitude. We depend on people from out-of-neighborhood to partronize our businesses and restaurants, and create enough business that these places can survive. Without people from outside the neighborhood we wouldn't have all these shops that we love so much.