Last night DDOT hosted a meeting with the community to discuss parking. The meeting came out of a long series of discussions that have been going on for years between representatives of the ANC, CAG, and the BID to address the parking situation in Georgetown.
As expected the meeting was lively and well attended. After a short introduction by DC’s parking Czar Angelo and his colleague Damon Harvey, the crowd of about 40-50 was broken up into three discussion groups to tackle three topics of challenges: residential parking, parking for commercial establishments, and institutional parking.
The bulk of the crowd (and GM) gravitated to the first group, where opinions were strong although not always in agreement.
For instance, early on in the discussion, someone suggested the creation of a ANC2E-only parking permit. Under such a scheme, only those who live in Georgetown or Burleith would get the benefit of unlimited parking in those neighborhoods. As it stands now, anyone who lives in Ward 2–which stretches all the way to the Convention Center and down to Southwest DC–can park without restriction in ANC2E.
Lots of heads nodded in approval for that proposal. But then one member piped up, essentially, “Hey I like parking in Dupont. If our zone is reduced, then I can’t drive and park there unrestricted.” Some other heads then bobbed in approval of that, and cited the distance to the Metro. Others then responded, hey if you want to go to Dupont, take a bus. It’s not like there’s any parking anyway.
And that pretty much set the tone for the evening. Lots of impassioned opinions, with nods of agreement often followed by rebuttals.
Probably the most contentious issue was that of the idea of making the side streets pay-for-parking. Some of the objections to the idea were to the aesthetics of not wanting physical meters on the side streets. That, in fact, is not a likely proposal anyway. Any plan for pay-for-parking in the side streets would involve the use of pay-by-cellphone, which only necessitates the signs be changed.
But some objected to the very idea of making people pay for parking on the side streets. ANC Commisioner Tom Birch gave a impassioned statement against it, citing difficulties he’s had in getting contractors to come to his house, among other complaints. But there were voices for the idea too (including GM) such that there was really no consensus in either direction.
While there were these disagreements, there were ideas that most supported. For instance, increasing parking enforcement was popular, with one resident suggesting enforcement officers getting a cut of the tickets like they do in his native city of London. GM can immediately think of more than several reasons why that’s a terrible idea (and the word corruption would be featured frequently in those reasons) but it’s unlikely to be adopted here anyway.
Cracking down on out-of-state registered cars parked in the driveways of group homes was a popular suggestion among Burleith residents. Many seemed to think charging more for additional parking permits-per-household would make sense (an idea GM has long championed). Others seemed to like the idea if permitting people to park in front of their own garage.
As for the other discussion groups, GM was unable to circulate over to them since he had to run back home for familial duties. But GM expects they were similarly productive.
DDOT will take these observations back with them, and continue their discussions with the working group to generate a plan, hopefully this year. It won’t be a plan that everybody likes, but it will certainly be one that came from many (many) discussions of the issue.