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 firstname.lastname@example.org.