Agencies still confused about Ward Court parking
Residents southwest of Dupont have been stymied for months by a classic bureaucratic snafu: is it legal to park on Ward Court, or not? DDOT believes (or used to believe) that parking is legal on Ward Court, and has posted standard parking signs just like on any other street. But DPW has been ticketing drivers who park there nonetheless.
Michael Beidler, a resident of the street (who also currently works for the city government at HPO) appealed his parking ticket, according to the July 23 Current (continuation), but the DMV denied the appeal because parking is prohibited in alleys. But is Ward Court an alley? The article also quotes DDOT spokesperson Karyn LeBlanc, who said Ward Court is not technically an alley because it's wider than 30 feet.
After appeals to Councilmember Jack Evans, Michelle Molotsky from Evans' office asked DDOT to inspect the road and attend last night's Dupont Circle ANC meeting to provide resolution. LeBlanc and Chief Engineer Kathleen Penney showed up at the meeting, as did Molotsky and Beidler. LeBlanc first said that DDOT believes parking is in fact legal, but Penney, who had conducted the walk-through earlier in the day, jumped in to tell the audience that the road is actually only 25 feet wide and thus parking should not be permitted.
Beidler brought out a map which claims the street is wider. It's this which DDOT used when they redid the signs just this past Februrary. Mark Bjorge, the Mayor's liaison for Ward 2, added that some signs had been missing, creating more ambiguity, before DDOT replaced the signs. Further complicating the situation, the police officer in attendance (there to give the public safety report) added that MPD does not distinguish between alleys based on their width and will ticket for parking on any alley.
Commissioners, led by Curtis Farrar, quickly moved to restore order. Farrar suggested the agencies coordinate a response and present it next month. In the meantime, the audience got a front-row seat (literally) of the chaos that sometimes ensues between agencies. But Penney made one thing clear: DDOT sets parking policy, while DPW only enforces it. DDOT will decide if parking is or is not okay on Ward Court. That's what residents thought had already happened in February, when DDOT placed new signs on the street.
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