No Annual Visitors Passes in Georgetown

Photo by ThisisBossi.

As the Georgetown Patch pointed out the other day, unlike their Ward 3 neighbors, Georgetowners don’t get an annual visitors parking pass. If a Georgetowner has a guest coming, they may obtain a temporary parking pass, but the resident must travel to the police station in Cleveland Park with enough paperwork to secure the pass. But this pass is only good for a maximum of two weeks. The police are known to reject a resident who tries to renew the pass.

With a permanent permit like those issued to Ward 3 residents, the resident doesn’t need to go to the police station, the pass is mailed annually. And it can be used over an over again. And it’s this flexibility that’s why Ward 2 leaders have been wary about extending the annual guest pass program to their ward.

The problem boils down primarily to two concerns. The first is that in many (but not all) sections of Georgetown, parking is short. Making it easier for lots of visitors to park will exacerbate the problem. Secondly, there is a fear that Georgetowners would simply sell their guest parking pass to the highest bidder.

But fear not, hope is eventually on the way! As part of a possible performance parking program for Georgetown, residents would be given the ability to go on to their computer and print out a temporary parking pass. Residents would be limited to only a certain amount of passes per year (something like, say, 30).

Such a program would address most residents’ needs, without flooding the neighborhood with visitors or creating a black market. (It’s worth noting that such a system doesn’t need to be a part of a larger parking reform. Allowing at-home parking pass printing could be a stand alone change, but GM doubts it will happen unless wrapped up in a larger effort).


Filed under Transportation

5 responses to “No Annual Visitors Passes in Georgetown

  1. Joan Kennan

    The concerns raised about an annual parking pass for Ward 2 seem unjustified in my opinion. No one has visitors descending on them on a regular basis, and when they do come, this would involve maybe one car; also, there are very few people who would be willing to sell their pass to the “highest bidder” so abuses would probably be few and far between. If this were a problem, why does it seem to be working just fine in the other wards that do receive an annual pass?

  2. Topher

    Joan I think you’re right that for the most part, an annual pass would not be abused and would have limited impact on parking supply. But I think a system with a high enough limit on temporary passes would work for that very reason.

    I do, however, believe that with all the office and retail workers in Georgetown who don’t have Ward 2 stickers, there would be a high demand to buy these annual passes. Neighborhoods who have tested the annual pass system don’t have as many daily workers as Georgetown. Maybe it wouldn’t actually create a problem, but I do think it would happen particularly if a performance parking system in set up.

  3. Cynthia Anthony

    I can honestly say that I would never part with an annual pass for visitors for any amount of money! We have need for a pass perhaps an average of once every few weeks (dinner/overnight guests) and the need to drive to the police station is an extra strain and time and gas-waster. Not to mention that the police have more important things to do than fill out parking passes! There seems to be one excuse after another for treating Georgetown/Ward 2 residents differently from those in other wards in this matter. Why are residents given less consideration than people who drive in and out every day?

  4. Hank

    I would add a third concern: If a person gets a free visitor’s pass whether it was asked for or not, why should they pay extra for a residential parking permit as part of vehicle registration? Two possible alternatives, 1) Charge the RPP fee in order to get the visitor’s pass (would also cut down on persons selling them because they didn’t want them or ask for them) or 2) prohibit vehicles with DC tags with no RPPs to use visitor’s passes.

  5. RNM

    Legitimate or not, the concerns about a black market of parking passes being made available so people can drive in and park/work in Georgetown will persist. Most “visitors” to our homes are probably not coming during the “work week” hours. Granted the passes could be open to use or “abuse” by cleaning, child care and other in home contract workers…of course that is true in other areas of the city as well. Far more often we are talking about a Saturday guest or someone coming over after work for dinner. On of the perks of living in Georgetown is that it is (or used to be) a nice area to entertain and where friends would want to visit. There is an easy alternative, a compromise that would strike a better balance. Why not roll back the draconian and relatively new (for those of us with a couple decades in the neighborhood) parking enforcement hours?

    Roll back the hours of weeknight enforcement from 9pm to 7pm or 8pm. Thus not making the earliest “safe” time for guest to arrive one or two hours earlier than the current 7pm. Yes, this might eat into the ability to get home from work in your car and find easy parking a little, but with the ever shifting work hours how far can we extend parking restrictions? Rolling back the restrictions still keeps a powerful disincentive for people to drive in and park for the work day which will carry over to create a good parking environment for locals returning home in their cars.

    Additionally, get rid of Saturday restrictions, treat Saturday like a Sunday is currently treated. Why should we have a special set of rules for Sunday only(ostensibly to honor some religions over others or the lack of religion I guess)? If the parking rules were to make sure residents had a place to park when they come home from working…even if that goes against the “War on Cars” today…then why have Saturday or Sunday restrictions. If it is to accommodate resident needs for parking at all times then why not have Sunday restrictions too? The current policy does not make sense.

    I know this unlikely to fly, because it would be a revenue reduction…if there is anything this city does well it is ticket, fine and tax. So, lets at least call it what it is…a punitive policy to make the city less livable and in this particular case to make the Georgetown area even less livable than the rest of our city. And I am highly dubious of Performance Parking plans which are again more revenue centered and focused on providing basic public access to only those able to pay for it on a sliding scale. I know it may not sound normal in modern society but why must everything be weighted toward the wealthy and scarcity always be treated as another path to revenue production?

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