Meeting on Parking Tomorrow Night

Photo by Matt Hurst.

Tomorrow night at 6:30 pm at Hardy School, DDOT will be hosting a forum on parking issues for the Georgetown community. GM knows that sounds incredibly dry and boring, but this will actually be interesting! The thing is, the city is taking dramatic steps to address how it manages on street parking throughout DC. And the likely changes it will recommend for Georgetown will be based on the concept of performance parking.

Performance parking is a topic GM has discussed several times before. The basic idea is this: on blocks where there is more demand than supply, the city will add meters and charge high enough rates to discourage enough people from parking on that street in order to always have a few spots open. Residents would be exempt from the meters and residents would be given some means to provide guest parking.

But nothing is set in stone. And the purpose of the meeting is to hear from residents as to what actually is problematic about parking. Do they throw parties and need guest passes? Do they have trouble finding a spot at night? Do they have no problem at all but fear a change?

All these issues will be explored during the meeting. But one warning: if you want to attend simply to get on the mic and complain for the crowd, you’ll probably be disappointed. The structure of the meeting will involve breakout sessions where small groups of participants will have to discuss a particular challenge and come to a¬†consensus¬†on what to do about it. It’s a surprisingly productive way of handling tough issues like this.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Meeting on Parking Tomorrow Night

  1. Don Brodka

    Performance parking is a brilliant idea. But what would the hours of performance parking be? It should be late enough, especially on weekends (10pm?), and it should be 7 days a week – yes, Sunday enforcement.

    Is DDOT willing to have parking enforcement out 7 days / later than current hours? Seems to be it would be in the city’s financial interest to accomodate that.

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  3. Dizzy

    I have to wonder: on blocks where there is more demand than supply, is the demand coming from visitors or from Georgetown residents? If it is the latter, then performance parking won’t make a lick of difference, since residents will be exempt from it.

    One would think that this data might be available some way (e.g. when the parking people walk around and record license plates, would RPP information be tied to that? So that one could get a sense of what percentage of vehicles is RPP Zone 2 vs. other zones vs. out-of-state.

    My suspicion is that, aside from the blocks immediately adjoining M and Wisconsin, the bulk of demand is from residents, rather than visitors. But people have a mental block against admitting that (similar to complaining about being stuck in traffic vs. realize that everyone else simply made the same decision you did and you are the traffic) and instead believe that zoning as many residential blocks as possible “Zone 2 only” will solve their problems (so long as they get copious visitor pass allowances for their own guests).

  4. Scott

    On a slightly different but related topic, these “Car2Go”s seem to be growing problem in the area. They’re everywhere and it looks like they’re exempt from the 2 hour parking limits. Car sharing is fine in concept…until every Georgetown student joins in and they’re parked on every block all over the neighborhood.

  5. jacquer

    I’d be interested in seeing how many of those Car2Go cars are being driven by Georgetown. If the patterns are anything like bikeshare, it’s likely that they’re being used and brought into the neighborhood far more frequently by the young professionals that are already and will be largely replacing undergraduate students as more students move to campus in the coming years.

    As for the two hour parking limits, Car2Go pays DC about $3,000 per year, per car, to be exempted from the residential parking permit and meter restrictions. That may seem like a bargain, but so is the $15 per year per car residential parking permit that the rest of us get, for an unlimited number of cars (which, unlike shared cars which circulate frequently, are parked on Georgetown streets for longer periods of time and put far more of a squeeze on the parking supply).

  6. RNM

    One of the few meetings I would have gone to in over a decade and instead I spent most of the day with my head over a toilet. Good times…

    I still think the fundamental idea of performance parking sets the government, as enforcer, up as an institution that favors the wealthy above all. Last I checked, my tax dollars paid for the streets (local and federal) and setting up system that basically creates a haves vs have nots is the antithesis of democracy. I understand it may work well for the haves, but working well for those in power is not the only goal of good government planning.

    I was interested to see the comment about guest passes…something most of the city has and which we still don’t. Contacts to my ANC commissioner Starells have all gone neglected, not even as much as a thought or opinion. I hope he knocks on my door again asking for my vote one day, so I can slam the door in his face. Ms. McFarland was always open and willing to talk to her constituents. I find it hard to believe that a reasonable exception for residents will be created under the increasingly draconian parking plans.

    Personally, I think that we have already gone too far. The weekend enforcement of parking hours as well as the extension of weekday hours were efforts to correct a problem that doesn’t exist. The best moves were the effort to carve out more spaces about a decade or so ago and the removal of the student reciprocity permits. Ultimately, we live in a city, which means we are not likely to have parking in front of our homes…but it is easy to find parking within a reasonable distance. If you want the convenience of living in the suburbs, they are there and waiting for you. If you want the convenience of living in a city then you have to trade off some of the convenience of living in the suburbs.

    And while on parking…how do the good folks who live at the first house next to the commercial strip on 34th between Prospect and N Street get to take up a quarter of the block (mostly unzoned 2 hour limited parking) for six months? Six months…so far.

  7. tassojunior

    The 1400 blocks of Dupont/Logan already have a Ward 2 Expanded RPP pilot program. That program is similar to RPP in Wards 6 and 1. I doubt this one will be different.

    RPP is extended to Midnight and to 7 days. One side of the block is reserved for only residents (Ward 2 stickers). The other side remains the same as now and would be where meters could be installed for non-residents.

    In fact residents usually “park up” the side open to everyone so there are no free spaces to warrant meters anyway.

    The fine is only $30 and the odds are 50/50 so many visitors will risk the fine since off-street parking is $15 anyway. But DC makes a lot of money.

  8. LouDC

    @RNM: “setting up system that basically creates a haves vs have nots is the antithesis of democracy.”
    The system is transportation, not parking. The goal is to reduce parking demand as price rises, which increases transit demand and fares collected, which drives further investment in transit options, which improves transportation for both haves and have nots.

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