Photo by CascadeFoto.
Recently several DC pols have issued some proposals that could significantly impact Georgetown’s transportation mix. Some of the ideas are good, others bad.
Let’s start with the good.
Up until Chris Ziemann left DDOT last year, Ward 2 had a dedicated DDOT planner. This position can coordinate transportation projects across the ward. Further it can lobby DDOT on the ward’s behalf and bring a unified vision across multiple projects and neighborhoods. Unfortunately since Chris left, the position has remained empty and Mayor Gray recommended it simply be cut completely. Councilmember Tommy Wells, however, proposed that this position–as well as the vacant ward planner positions for Wards 3 and 5–be filled again. This is a good proposal.
Additionally, Wells proposed creating a position titled Parking Czar. This individual would spend all his or her time addressing the parking issue. In particular, this person would bring life back to the stalled effort to bring performance parking to DC. This is something that GM has lobbied to bring to Georgetown for a while. In short: right now we price street parking too low and as a result visitors troll the neighborhood looking for free parking rather than simply driving to the pay garages. This increases traffic, encourages people to leave their car parked for as long as possible and makes it more difficult for residents to find a parking spot near their homes. By raising the price of parking enough that there is always at least 10-15% of the street spaces open, we can encourage more turnover. Plus, the additional parking fees will get plowed back into the neighborhood in the form of streetscape improvements, and the like.
Having a parking czar will make it much more likely that such a policy can come to Georgetown. Continue reading
Photo by Jim Malone.
Good morning Georgetown, here’s the latest:
- Metrocurean rates Dolcezza as a top Hot Chocolate purveyor. GM concurs; their hot chocolate is like a melted chocolate bar; it’s that thick.
- Where the bus route names, including the G2, came from.
- In researching for an article that will appear later today, GM came across this cool website that compiles information from pay garages. It’s not real time information, but it gives you daily and monthly rates, which is pretty helpful.
Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that as part of his final effort to close the city’s budget gap, Adrian Fenty is considering doubling the fee for residential parking passes. This is actually not a bad idea at all. We charge a laughably small fee for street parking: $15 a year. Only in the world of cars is it considered reasonable that private individuals are able to squat their personal property on 180 square feet of public property and only pay 4 cents a day.
So doubling it does seem like a quick and easy way to raise revenues while spreading the pain pretty thin. But it would be a failed opportunity. Before we consider raising the fee for households with one car, we ought to raise it for houses with two cars, and raising it even more for houses with three or more cars.
See how this would play out in a parking-challenged neighborhood like Georgetown: According to the 2000 Census, there are roughly 4,936 cars in Georgetown. There are only 4,640 households in Georgetown. Of those households here’s how the car ownership breaks down:
- 20% of households have no car
- 57% of households have one car
- 23% of households have more than one car
On Tuesday, Vincent Gray soundly beat Adrian Fenty for the Democratic nomination for mayor. Given the one-party state that we live in, Gray can for all intents and purposes be considered the mayor-elect. So what will his mayoralty mean for Georgetown? It’s not clear, since he has not said too much specifically about Georgetown, but that doesn’t mean GM can’t do a little speculation on a few issues!
GM has kicked around the idea of writing an article about Michelle Rhee’s disastrous meeting with the Hardy PTA last December and call it “The Night Adrian Fenty Lost the Election.” Yes there were other single events that seemed to encapsulate everything that Fenty was doing wrong to get reelected, but the Hardy incident stands out as a particularly bad one. Not for nothing, but the meeting ended with Ward 7 councilmember Yvette Alexander delivering a rousing speech to the angry crowd that to get rid of Rhee they’d have to get rid of Fenty first. Step one can be checked off.
While the post-Pope transition appears to be going along with relatively minimal problems, it seems likely that an appetite remains within the Hardy PTA to roll back the changes and reinstall Patrick Pope as principal. Moreover, there may be an effort to finally convert Hardy entirely into a magnet arts school. Given that the Hardy situation became a bit of a rallying cry for pro-Gray voters, it seems likely that at least some change of course is taken.
Of course much of that depends on whether Michelle Rhee sticks around and how much latitude Gray gives her. The jury is still out on that. Continue reading
We’ve all seen them. Some of us have put them up ourselves. They’re Emergency No Parking signs, and they’re a fact of life in neighborhoods like Georgetown. They ordinarily evoke a bit of frustration, and sometimes a whole lot, but we learn to live with them.
Those that have had to put them up themselves have had two options:
- Submit an application to DDOT, pay $34, and travel all the way down to North Capitol St. to pick up the signs once the application is approved;
- Go to MPD 2D headquarters on Idaho Ave. and pick up the signs for free
Unsurprisingly, most people choose Option Two. But Option Two is available no longer. MPD no longer issues No Parking Signs.
If you need to block off some parking spaces, you have only one choice now: submit and application to DDOT and pay $34. The upside? Maybe fewer people will use them.
Hat tip to GGW’s Lynda Laughlin.
Georgetown Cupcake by Daquella Manera.
Good morning Georgetown, here’s the latest:
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.