New Parking Pass Program Roils Ward 2 Officials

High demand for parking in Ward 2 had previously prompted officials to oppose mass issuance of parking passes.

A visitor parking pass in the window of a car, accompanied by a parking ticket. Patch file photo.
A visitor parking pass in the window of a car, accompanied by a parking ticket. Patch file photo.
Ward 2 residents and officials are questioning the wisdom behind the District Department of Transportation's (DDOT) plans to issue one visitor parking pass per residence upon request beginning in October.

DDOT will expand and adjust an existing visitor park pass program, allowing residents to apply for the pass, free of charge, previously DDOT sent the passes in the mail automatically to homes in most wards of the city. The new pass will be valid for one-year; effective Oct. 1 through September 30, 2014.

“It’s been made clear to DDOT that the leadership in Ward 2 doesn’t want these,” Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans told the Georgetown Current. “I thought this was a settled issue.”

Ward 2 residents did not receive the passes under the previous program, but now will. Currently, Ward 2 residents can request a pass from the local police station. The Temporary Parking Passes from Metropolitan Police Department stations will still be available throughout the District for eligible vehicles.

Residents of Georgetown and elsewhere in Ward 2 had been in talks with DDOT during the past year to discuss solutions to the parking squeeze and systems to allow visitors to park without encouraging abuse. 

But DDOT's parking team working on that solution was recently all-but-disbanded when Damon Harvey left for a new job in Atlanta and a few weeks later his counterpart, Angelo Rao, was fired. 

Georgetown Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Ron Lewis tells the Current that the move to expand the visitor parking program city-wide was a "surprise."

During conversations about parking with Rao and Harvey, the ANC and a team of residents looking for parking fixes explored more tailored options for the neighborhood.

"We learned that there are a lot of possibilities for improving visitor parking. Some of these are more flexible than the proposal of one placard per household,” Lewis told the Current. 

Georgetown Metropolitan blogger, Topher Mathews, calls the new parking decision "idiotic" and says DDOT Director Terry Bellamy should be fired. He writes:

"Now DDOT is making the absolutely idiotic decision to expand the VPP program city-wide, including Georgetown. Any other parking reforms for Georgetown appear completely dead. So all we’ll get is more out-of-state drivers parking on the side streets because they’re willing to buy VPPs on the black market."

Reggie Sanders, a spokesman for DDOT, told the Current that the agency tweaked the previous system to reduce abuse and that he hoped residents would do their part to report any misuse of the passes.

“This is not an end point,” he told the Current. “We will continue to hear feedback from residents ... and we will continue to design this to help get us to a system where there aren’t any abuses.”

You can send comments about the new system to publicspace.policy@dc.gov.
RNM August 15, 2013 at 09:58 AM
Finally, tax paying residents of Ward 2 are not treated like second class citizens of the city. Over the last 20 years there have been a lot of changes in parking policy in Georgetown, some for the good (such as the creation of hundreds of new spaces by taking steps like having parking on both sides of N Street in the 3200-3500 block) and some bad (such as extending parking enforcement hours later and to Saturdays, making it hard to invite people into Georgetown as guests in our home and keeping us leaving the city to dine with friends). I get that the War on Cars is under full effect and that leaders such as Jack Evans (full disclosure I have contributed to his mayoral campaign) aren't directly impacted since he can park his car illegally as he sees fit (and this past Sunday even when in a legal spot his car was so far from the curb it created a hazard). I understand that Topher Matthews (self described radical urbanist) thinks cars should be done away with and we should all use a trolly, gondola, bike system to get around, but cars are part and parcel of the transportation system and will continue to be well beyond my or their lives. This issue is ultimately about fairness and equality under the law. Our tax dollars fund those streets and pay for those curbs, signage, etc... To work to deny us access to it or in this case equal access as residents in other parts of the city have to their streets is indefensible. Our house of two tax paying residents of Georgetown for over 20 years is thrilled to see just one bit of the over zealous parking war (which we all know is about revenue) rolled back just a little. RNM
Dan McQuade August 15, 2013 at 11:12 AM
I think RNM sums it up nicely.
BillDee September 26, 2013 at 04:16 PM
“'It’s been made clear to DDOT that the leadership in Ward 2 doesn’t want these,” Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans told the Georgetown Current.'" The leadership isn't who should have a say here, how about the residents--and many of us don't live in Georgetown, but on "regular" residential side streets. I previously lived in Ward 3 where the parking pass system started a few years ago, and it was probably the ONLY DC system that I thought was user-friendly and a true benefit for the high taxes I pay. I wish the Councilman would look out for others than himself and his G'town neighbors.
RNM September 26, 2013 at 05:07 PM
Of course Jack Evans frequently parks his Sebring only yards from his house in a spot that would get the rest of us ticketed and towed. As someone who actually donated to his mayoral campaign, I wish I could retract my contribution. Sickens me that my own city council treats us as second class citizens while complaining about the Federal Government treating all of DC residents as second class citizens...pot meet kettle. The kicker is that the proposed QR coded system that would limit passes to an ANC SMD area would basically be pointless for some, in this case me. I rarely can park in my SMD because there are few zone 2 spots in that zone...even now where my car is currently parked about 75' from my front door is out of my SMD. On top of that most residents don't know the boundaries of their SMD, and what are the odds of a guest coming over for a Saturday afternoon visit knowing those boundaries? I don't mind the QR codes to track for abuse...but to put absurd restrictions on that make it okay to park three blocks and across a canal away but not okay to park across the street seem silly.


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