Category Archives: Cars and Parking

Parking Reform Q & A

Paring Reform Q & A

As mentioned here and at the Georgetown Current, leaders in Georgetown are considering developing a proposal to be sent to DDOT to reform the way in which on-street parking is administered. GM has laid out his own vision for such a program, but that vision is presented from a top-down perspective. What would be the actual experience of residents and visitors in the ultimate system? While GM certainly doesn’t speak for the leaders who are considering reform, he is familiar enough with the likely result to produce a Q & A to address residents’ concerns.

Will I have to pay more to park my car in the street?

No. While parking reform would likely call for the installation of meters or other devices on the residential blocks, these would not apply to residents. That bears repeating: Georgetown residents would not pay a cent more to park where they already park for free.

The theory behind performance parking is that you make it expensive enough to park on the street that at least 15% of the parking spaces are free at any given time. By making it more expensive for visitors to park on Georgetown’s residential streets fewer of them will decide to do it. They will either come a different way or park in a pay garage. The focus is on changing visitors’ behavior, not residents. Continue reading

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The Great Georgetown Bugaboo Part II: How We Really Get There From Here

Last week GM explored the question of cars and parking in Georgetown by digging into the Census records to determine what the actual car ownership levels are in Georgetown. The somewhat surprising results demonstrated that the parking problem in Georgetown may be caused more by multi-car households than it is caused by a density of residents. This week GM looks into what we do (or don’t do) with those cars every morning.

GM first started thinking about these questions after the last ANC meeting. At one point Commissioner Bill Skelsey argued that when he has to drive around for a half an hour at the end of the day looking for parking, that’s time he can’t spend with his kids (a point made in critique of a proposed curb cut). GM left the meeting wondering: is that the experience of most Georgetowners, or is Skelsey a minority? Should the ANC be worried about Georgetowners spending time away from their loved ones while circling around the block, or do most of us get to work some other way?

The interesting results after the jump: Continue reading

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Filed under Cars and Parking, Transit

The Great Georgetown Bugaboo: Cars and Parking

At Monday’s ANC meeting there was a near constant theme that weaves itself through just about every ANC2E meeting: cars and parking. It is the received wisdom that parking is a scarce commodity in Georgetown that needs to be defended against all threats of a cut in supply or an increase in demand.

For instance, on Monday night a resident came applying for permission to construct a basement exit to her house. The conversation soon turned to how many square feet the butler’s pantry was in the basement. What does that have to do with a basement exit you ask? A basement with a kitchen and an exit could be turned into a completely separate basement apartment. And in the minds of Commissioners, and many residents, another apartment means another car and another car means one fewer parking spot.

This is how the great Georgetown bugaboo, cars and parking, guides many of the decisions of our elected officials.

But are they basing their decisions on a fair picture of the neighborhood or are they letting their own flawed perceptions and the voices of a loud minority guide them?

GM dug into the numbers and found that the true picture of cars in Georgetown is complicated. The problem is felt by fewer than you’d think and the bulk of the problem may come from the choices of surprisingly few. Find out why after the jump.

Continue reading

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Filed under Cars and Parking