Two dynamics appear to be converging to make parking in Georgetown more frustrating than ever. And we may be stuck with them until the pandemic finally passes.
First, think back to the days of spring and early summer. With so many people escaping to other locations, and nobody coming to shop or work in Georgetown, the streets were almost entirely empty. GM’s own block would typically have no more than six cars on it. Most other blocks felt similar.
But as activity has returned to Georgetown, the daily influx of cars has returned. In fact it is probably even worse, given that so many people are avoiding public transit. The lack of parking enforcement (more on that below) has also likely contributed to more people driving. On top of this larger influx is the fact that many Georgetowners who would normally drive to work, and simply staying at home. Demand for street parking may be higher now than it has ever been.
One thing you may have also noticed (and GM certainly has) is a huge spike in out-of-state cars parking literally for days without moving and without being ticketed. This is actually a result of a policy decision by the Department of Public Works, which gives out tickets. As described by ANC Commissioner Kishan Putta at the last Commission meeting, the agency has determined that it has such a backlog of tickets to adjudicate that it can’t add more to the system right now. So drivers working or visiting Georgetown can basically park all day with little fear of ticketing right now.
Additionally, DPW determined that it is not ticketing cars for parking for extended periods while lacking Zone 2 stickers or DC plates at all. According to Putta, DPW cannot determine if the car is actually owned by a resident since it could be the case that the resident is new and simply hasn’t been able to get new plates at the DMV due to the pandemic. GM is highly skeptical of this logic and believes it is being greatly taken advantage of by people who don’t really fit in that category. Moreover, it exempts a large number of Georgetown students, who have brought their cars with them as they live off campus and take classes remotely this year.
All this has combined for a perfect storm for parking frustrations.