An informal working group of stakeholders met with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Tuesday to discuss the possibility of bringing performance based parking to Georgetown.
Damon Harvey, DDOT's acting citywide program manager, told Patch in a phone interview, "We are merely exploring the idea... there is no pending performance parking coming to Georgetown."
Harvey added that at this point his agency is merely having discussions with stakeholders and that those discussions are still at "very preliminary stages."
Jim Bracco, the executive director of the Georgetown Business Improvement District, was equally firm about the exploratory nature of the process. "We’re kicking the concept around," he said.
For those unfamiliar with the tool, performance based parking is a mechanism for managing curbside parking to maximize land use. Harvey explained that parking is really a land use issue and that curbside space could also be used as bike parking or green space.
"Along commercial corridors one of the best uses is parking for retail establishments," said Harvey.
Performance based parking is a tool to protect residential parking, support businesses by encouraging space turnover and to promote alternative forms of transportation. According to the agency's website, DDOT's programs have used a combination of policies in a variety of ways to achieve these goals:
- Escalating or variable pricing parking meter rates
- Adjusted days and hours of operation for curbside space management
- Adjustable parking fines
- Expanded Residential Permit Parking plans
Though no time line been established for holding public conversations, Harvey told Patch that DDOT has done some preliminary work to look at parking patterns in Georgetown.
"The concept behind what performance parking can be and what it’s proved to be in Columbia Heights and the Ballpark is pretty promising," said Bracco.
For a neighborhood to be considered for performance parking, it must meet three primary requirements:
- Up-to-date meter infrastructure
- A vibrant commercial corridor
- A special traffic generator
"Georgetown itself is a special traffic generator," said Harvey. "The neighborhood "is an incredibly attractive potential opportunity."
Bracco said there is a certain appeal to the parking tool, especially in combating the notion that Georgetown is a difficult place to find parking. The BID has long worked to remind people of the many parking garages in the area.
As he sees it, "You want the curb space priced so that all the parking options, whether curb or garage are sort of equal."
Harvey said that the plan for each neighborhood has been different and that DDOT does not assume that what works in Ward 1 will work in Ward 2 or Ward 6.
"It is very important within performance parking to come up with a strategy to make sure you do not have spillover impacts on residential corridors," said Harvey.
Because of the pilot nature of the program, the agency has been able to flexibly respond to feedback from communities, to adjust the hours for enforcement to meet their needs. Additionally, before any pilot would be instituted there would be public meetings to allow residents to learn and offer input.
"The good news about any of this stuff, honestly, is it is set up as a pilot. We have tons of flexibility in it," said Bracco.
He added, "You can try to get the thing to work better. That’s what is kind of promising."