Greater Greater Washington

Fix all of Dupont's parking problems tonight

DDOT officials will meet with residents tonight to discuss parking in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. After the meeting, anyone will be able to park directly in front of their homes, offices, or stores, for free, without circling.


Photo by sethladd on Flickr.

Oops, it's not still April Fool. But there is a parking meeting tonight.

Dupont Circle, like most of DC's busy neighborhoods, has far more demand for parking than supply of on-street spaces. Right now, we allocate the limited resource of spaces in one way. The meeting will discuss whether to allocate them in a different way.

Today, people who don't live in the neighborhood can park on any residential block for up to 2 hours during weekdays and for unlimited time evenings and weekends. This means that around the commercial corridors, especially hot spots like Lauriol Plaza at 18th and T, parking is very scarce.

I used to live near there and parked on the street. When I had to move my car for street cleaning, it would usually take under 5 minutes mid-morning to find an alternate space, but coming home from a car trip on a Saturday night or Sunday morning could mean a 20-30 minute quest for a space.

Residents in this and other spots are understandably interested in change. They'd like a less daunting parking experience. Plus, if the residential blocks are supposed to prioritize parking for residents, why are we giving it to diners?

More importantly, why should this parking be free? Parking in garages isn't free. At the meters on 18th, it's not free (except Sundays). Free parking on residential streets just encourages people to circle the neighborhood for a long time to save some money.

DDOT could pursue a few options.

Reserve parking for residents of all Ward 2 neighborhoods. A simple approach would be to set up the same arrangement Jack Evans has suggested for Logan Circle: Designate one side of every street for holders of Zone 2 stickers only. A related option, with similar pros and cons, would be to extend Residential Permit Parking hours later into the night and to weekends.

These options would free up a lot of parking for residents, though with so many residents in the area, it still wouldn't guarantee that anyone would be able to park on any given block.

There are also a few downsides. For one, people often have contractors, housecleaners, friends, family members, and others who don't live in the area drive to visit residents. In other wards, these parking changes went hand in hand with visitor passes. Each household got one, and any car sporting a pass counted as a resident.

In Ward 2, there would be too much abuse. If every resident got a pass, many would sell them to people who want to drive jobs in the ward. DDOT monitors Craigslist and other sites for people selling passes, but the temptation and potential profit would be far higher for Ward 2.

Another downside is that it would also encourage more driving from neighborhoods like Georgetown, which happen to be in Ward 2, at the expense of drivers from U Street or Adams Morgan in Ward 1 or other DC neighborhoods. If we are dedicating parking to residents of a neighborhood, then it should actually apply to residents of that neighborhood, not them plus others who by accident of legislative line-drawing live in the same ward.

Reserve parking for actual Dupont residents. DDOT could reserve one side of the street as above, but also give out new 2B stickers to residents of the ANC 2B area. Only drivers with those stickers would get the new privileges.

Reserve parking, then "sell" the excess. Any of these schemes to reserve parking may overly limit parking especially at lower demand times. Should we just leave part of the street empty much of the day? DDOT could also reserve one side of each street, or even both sides, but also let drivers pay for some of the extra space.

It's too expensive to install multi-space meters on each block, but now that DDOT has ParkMobile, it could offer these spaces through that service. Just put up signs that say something like, "Reserved for cars with 2B stickers only, OR pay $5 an hour for this space at ParkMobile."

DDOT would set the price at a premium level. This parking is primarily reserved for residents, but others can use it too if they want to pay the higher rates. If they don't, then use a garage, or arrive by Metro, bus, bike or foot.

Set meters to a market rate. There are a number of meters in the neighborhood. At night, they're usually all full. During the day, they're often not very full at all. If a more rigorous analysis bears out this anecdotal evidence, DDOT ought to raise rates at night and lower them during the day. That could bring more drivers in to patronize businesses middays, when the neighborhood is only moderately busy, and generate more revenue at night, when people will fill up the spaces regardless.

DDOT and ANC commissioners will likely support approaches which have support at the meeting and oppose those which don't. Some good ideas for 17th Street's streetscape got thrown out because a majority of people at a community meeting opposed the idea. If you live in the neighborhood, it's important to try to attend.

The meeting starts at 7 pm in the Foxhall Room of the Hotel Dupont, which is on Dupont Circle at New Hampshire Avenue on the north side. Go in the New Hampshire main entrance and turn right to reach Foxhall.

David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

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I still don't understand why any parking should be reserved for residents. Why should they be able to park at below-market rates on public streets?

by Gray on Apr 3, 2012 2:28 pm • linkreport

@Gray

I'm not saying you're wrong, but I think residents would argue that they pay taxes that maintain those public streets. Now if only we could find a way to have residents-only sidewalks...

by Adam L on Apr 3, 2012 2:31 pm • linkreport

Sure, all of the residents pay taxes to maintain public streets. This includes those without cars. These taxes allow all of them to travel for free, and for trucks to reach their homes for deliveries and public services.

But why should those of them with cars get a free benefit on top of this, especially when there's clearly not enough parking to go around?

by Gray on Apr 3, 2012 2:37 pm • linkreport

@Adam L

I think people make that argument, but I wouldn't buy the argument. That same argument is used for why shouldn't more roads be toll roads because people say they pay taxes for roads. If you include the price of parking in taxes, then there's less incentive to not use that resource of a parking space. I do not own a car, so why should I be paying for the parking spaces of people who do own one?

Unbundling is a good thing but not popular (e.g. airlines separately charging for luggage instead of including luggage in the price of your ticket gets talked about a lot). DC should charge more for residential parking permits and parking so the resource is not taken advantage of.

by Steve on Apr 3, 2012 2:39 pm • linkreport

A few friends and I were on our way home and wanted to stop in Dupont Circle for a house party. It was Saturday night and parking was completely "free". We circled for about 30 minutes without any success. Then, right before giving up, we saw someone about to leave a spot in a prime location. We snagged the spot, angering another motorist in the process, and hogged it for the rest of the night (hey, why not?). It felt so good, almost like winning the lottery. Paying and parking without all of the circling would have been a lot more efficient, but there's a psychological component that often goes unmentioned.

by RP on Apr 3, 2012 2:42 pm • linkreport

How about letting the RPP fees float to market rates, too?

by Alex B. on Apr 3, 2012 2:42 pm • linkreport

One reason to give residents preferential treatment for parking is that the curb is the best place for parked cars. It creates a buffer between the road and the sidewalks, and its availability discourages the building of big, ugly off-street lots or multilevel garages.

by David on Apr 3, 2012 2:46 pm • linkreport

A. Why residents should be able to park for free

1, When I lived in Baltimore city, you had to pay for your resident parking tag, it was not free. This was a more efficient way to allow residents to park, than installing meters, given that the market clearing price would have been fairly low at all but the most peak times, and zero much of the time. Does DC not charge for resident parking tags?

2. Some people moved to a neighborhood long ago, when parking was not scarce. With the expectation things would not change. Giving them a free resident tag will likely reduce their resistance to new development. This obviously should NOT apply to residents of new developments.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 3, 2012 2:47 pm • linkreport

"How about letting the RPP fees float to market rates, too? "

Interesting. If the meter rates fluctuate, and the RPP rates fluctuate, you will get two interacting markets.

Also - should non residents have the opportunity to buy in to resident parking permits? If there is serious objection to that, maybe at a premium?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 3, 2012 2:50 pm • linkreport

Free parking is very expensive for communities. That's space that could be used for something that actually pays taxes.

Residents should pay market rates for those spots. If the spots always cost market rates, there would always be free spots for people to park. The only reason that people have to search for 30 minutes to find a spot is that parking is priced too low allowing demand to far outstrip supply. Since we can't build more supply, we can certainly charge more for parking, thus lowering demand and raising revenues. The goal should be to eliminate the need for anyone to have to circle endlessly.

Those of us who live in buildings with parking pay for our spots. A parking spot in Dupont has to worth at least $50,000, if not substantially more.

There is nothing more anti-urban than free parking. My proposal is to eliminate free weekend parking.

by Patrick Thornton on Apr 3, 2012 2:55 pm • linkreport

To add on to my previous thoughts, since it would be impractical for residents to actually purchase street spaces, the city should charge $2,000-5,000 a year for a residential parking tag.

Everyone else can pay market rates 24/7.

by Patrick Thornton on Apr 3, 2012 2:58 pm • linkreport

"Everyone else can pay market rates 24/7."

how do performance parking meters adjust for time of day peaks? We were downtown to look at cherry blossoms, my wife and her friend drove in in the evening, the meters were in effect (and rates were substantial) near the USDA building at D street and 14th till 10PM, though there almost all the spots were empty.

I realize there are limits not only to RT pricing, but even to adjusting for trends, but it would be better if rates really did rise for the times of day when few spots are available, and really did decrease when they are abundant.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 3, 2012 3:09 pm • linkreport

Patrick,

At those rates people would be encouraged to find off street parking since it would cost about the same. Increased demand for off street parking means more parking garages and surface lots which is not what we want.

by bone on Apr 3, 2012 3:10 pm • linkreport

@Bone,

Parking garages in an area like Dupont cost more than
$2,000 a year for a spot (and you're car wouldn't be outside of your house). This site lists the cheapest garages going for $3,000 a year in Dupont, which some approaching $4,000: http://washingtondc.bestparking.com/index.php#1

Real estate is valuable enough in Dupont that surface lots are out of the question. Even building above ground parking garages is silly. A new garage would most likely go underground. I have no issues with that.

Parking should always be at market rates. When it is, people drive less and parking is easier to find. That's what we want.

by Patrick Thornton on Apr 3, 2012 3:17 pm • linkreport

@AWalkerInTheCity,

Parking rates should be dynamic. If there isn't demand for parking in a certain area at a given time of the day, it is better to lower rates to encourage more people to park. When demand is very high, it's best to raise rates so that there are always a few spots open.

People should never circle for 30 minutes looking for a parking spot.

by Patrick Thornton on Apr 3, 2012 3:18 pm • linkreport

It is interesting that the same crew of people can have such divergent opinions on the same subject, depending on the day.

One day, residents who own vehicles should pay 2000-5000 a year for a residential parking tag to park on any ol' residental street in town.

Then on another, when it comes to defending popular taxpayer parking giveaways to companies like Zipcar, you defend those freebies by claiming those prime, streetside commercial district spots that were being given away wouldn't go for for than $200 a year anyway (when they in fact went for $300 a month when auctioned off to Zipcars competition).

One could make a reasoned argument for increasing the residential parking tag, but it couldn't even realistically approach the market rate limit already established in the District, especially considering they were in high high traffic commercial corridors and not on some random barely traveled back street in Mt. Pleasant.

by parking on Apr 3, 2012 3:22 pm • linkreport

@parking

I think the argument still holds. Think of a parking space for a Zipcar as equal to 10 (or 8 or ??) parking spaces for individually owned cars. Just like we allocate some vehicle travel lanes for buses to increase the efficiency of people moved, we can increase the efficiency of parking spaces. Yes, there should be competition for car sharing but charging rates less than for an individual for a space is fair since you're serving so many more people.

A jump to 2k-5k/year for parking while warranted to start off with would seem excessive. Thinking about the bag tax. At 5 cents, it has significantly changed behavior despite being trivial to most people. Let's start charging $500/year for parking to residents and see how it affects behavior. I imagine that we'd see a reduction in residential car use.

by Steve on Apr 3, 2012 3:33 pm • linkreport

@Gray - the parking is not free for residents. Residents pay to register their car and pay an additional fee for a neighborhood parking sticker; on top of the same taxes non-car owners pay.

by Tina on Apr 3, 2012 3:45 pm • linkreport

A question I keep forgetting to ask: how much is an RPP permit currently?

by Gray on Apr 3, 2012 3:46 pm • linkreport

@Steve,

Now you are making a moral equivalency argument. The argument I am talking about is straight apples to apples, that companies like Zipcar shouldn't have to pay more because the market rate for those spots doesn't demand more.

Also, isn't the residential parking permit really just another tax on the lower incomes of the District? The Districts higher income folks can and do afford offstreet parking and/or buy homes/condos that have offstreet parking and can simply avoid paying the residential parking fee because they don't park on the street. I believe even D. Alpert has offstreet parking at his dupont circle townhome, no?

Yet you want to charge District residents who have the "sad misfortune" of not being six figure earners living in SFH's or 700K 2 bedroom condos in the cities most expensive neighborhoods that also happen to have close walking access to overlaping multi modes of public transport and instead have to make do in regular ol apartment buildings in every other part of town and who can't give up their car because their job/lifestyle doesn't allow it.

by parking on Apr 3, 2012 3:46 pm • linkreport

@Tina: all car owners pay to register their cars. Not all get free parking in prime locations.

How much are the neighborhood parking stickers?

by Gray on Apr 3, 2012 3:47 pm • linkreport

The neighborhood should consider performance parking for weekends (particularly weekend nights) for non-residents. In addition, resident charges should go up. $2k-5k/year is too high a charge, but I think $1000/year is appropriate. In addition I think there should be streets where ONLY residents may park (i.e., remove the 2-hour free parking for non-RPP holders).

by Scott on Apr 3, 2012 3:47 pm • linkreport

RPP is $35 a year

by bone on Apr 3, 2012 3:49 pm • linkreport

@parking: If you want to consider a parking fee a tax on District residents, then why not also note that a below-market fee is a subsidy for car owners?

"Yet you want to charge District residents who have the "sad misfortune" of not being six figure earners living in SFH's or 700K 2 bedroom condos in the cities most expensive neighborhoods that also happen to have close walking access to overlaping multi modes of public transport and instead have to make do in regular ol apartment buildings in every other part of town and who can't give up their car because their job/lifestyle doesn't allow it."

I'm confused. Are you arguing that people who need to own a car, but can't afford a place with a parking space, should be encouraged to live in areas with the best access to public transportation while also owning cars, and that this should be done by subsidizing parking for these people?

by Gray on Apr 3, 2012 3:50 pm • linkreport

The Districts higher income folks can and do afford offstreet parking and/or buy homes/condos that have offstreet parking and can simply avoid paying the residential parking fee because they don't park on the street.

An RPP is $35/year. It's so cheap that I can't see how it could be considered a tax on the poor -- or at the very least, a hardship. Property sales that give an option to convey a private parking space usually charge a premium of $35,000+. Most city residents fall somewhere between the two extremes you mentioned ... they are neither six figure earners nor desperately poor.

by Scott on Apr 3, 2012 3:54 pm • linkreport

@parking

Parking is (or should be) a luxury. Most places where single-family homes are dominant either have parking or are in areas where demand is lower, and so too should be the cost. Simply owning a car is often one of the greatest expenses on low-to-middle-income people and enacting policies that help those individuals get around without needing to own a vehicle is a step in the right direction.

by Adam L on Apr 3, 2012 3:55 pm • linkreport

@Gray -any resident can purchase a RPP when they register their car that allows them to park on the street in their own neighborhood. Its not free. I'm not saying I think its an optimal system/price, but you keep insisting its free. Its not.

by Tina on Apr 3, 2012 3:55 pm • linkreport

@parking -- the issue is who should be "privileged" with cut rate parking, people who own cars or people who use cars collaboratively, via services like Zipcar?

Why should a car owner have more privilege than a car user? In any case, the change in the shared car parking pricing system by DDOT means that car sharing members have to pay a couple dollars more per hour, meanwhile there is no change for car owners.

The other reason to "subsidize" car sharing parking spaces is that it is a form of inventory management, since the avg. shared car supports about 15 households, and that means maybe 10 or more fewer cars being parked on area streets, hence more spaces for the already privileged.

WRT Alex. B's comment, I have made that point in blog entries for 5+ years, although I am not necessarily so hardcore that it has to be market rate. I would be happy if it were significantly higher than the current rate ($35/year), that would still have significant positive impact.

Toronto is about the only city in North America that seems to charge a lot for residential parking permits. The fees are graduated depending on some other factors, but top out at about $42/month. While not market rate, it's still a lot of money comparatively speaking, compared to current rates.

http://dmv.dc.gov/serv/parking/RPP.shtm
http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com/2010/01/toronto-rules-or-charging-higher-rates.html

by Richard Layman on Apr 3, 2012 3:56 pm • linkreport

@Tina: $35 is not market rate. It differs from the market rate price by different amounts in different areas, and is in fact nowhere near the market rate in Dupont Circle.

I apologize for failing to underscore that $35 is a huge amount of money to pay for the privilege to park on public streets. But the fact remains that giving this privilege to some car owners for the price of $35 is a huge subsidy, paid for by those who don't own cars as well as those who own cars but pay for parking at market rates.

by Gray on Apr 3, 2012 3:59 pm • linkreport

Gray,

No, I am saying the cities wealthier, who also own vehicles, live in DC neighborhoods that are metro accesible. These folks also have offstreet parking and don't need to pay for the residential parking pass.

You can't expect someone who can't afford to live in places like Dupont or Logan Circle abd doesn't have access to all sorts of public transportation to go carless (which is what folks here are trying to encourage by drastically increasing the parking fee).

No, higher residential parking fees hit those of lower incomes the most because they can't get rid of their cars and can't afford to live in places that have or come with offstreet parking. Surely this isn't complicated.

by parking on Apr 3, 2012 3:59 pm • linkreport

@parking: Okay, I think you're arguing something different from what most people here are arguing.

Most commenters are saying that residential permits should cost significantly more than $35 in Dupont Circle. Do you disagree with that?

You seem to be saying that if permits cost more in Dupont Circle, they would also have to cost more everywhere else in the District. Do I understand you correctly?

by Gray on Apr 3, 2012 4:02 pm • linkreport

@Richard Layman

The problem with those numbers is that I only know 4 people who are zipcar members. The problem with your logic? All 4 of them also own their own vehicles. They have memberships to Zipcar for the handful of times a year they need to rent a truck or a van to make runs to Home Depot, or the dc dump.

Ask yourself...are all the people you know who have memeberships to entities like Zipcar, not have their own vehicles?

Succintly put, I think those ratios that folks like to parade as benefits of car sharing are baseless as I've never seen any hard data behind them. These people wouldn't be going out and buying second cars for their 7 trips a year to home depot so there is no tradeoff in terms of "taking cars off the street".

by parking on Apr 3, 2012 4:07 pm • linkreport

Gray,

Yes...I do believe parking permits should cost more in places like Dupont, Georgetown, Cleveland Park etc, and if people want to make increases in the fee based on where you live in the District I would be fine for that.

I am just saying a citywide flat fee of say...$1000 a year is inherently unfair to the folks living in SE or parts of NE who can't afford it, and can't afford to give up their car.

by parking on Apr 3, 2012 4:11 pm • linkreport

It's my understanding that we're only talking about raising RPP fees which don't cover the entire city just certain neighborhoods and I can't think of an RPP neighborhood with a significant rate of impoverished families. So it is already de facto based on location.

by Canaan on Apr 3, 2012 4:18 pm • linkreport

It seems to me that many of the cars in these neighborhoods move very infrequently.

I think the parking zones should be constricted and the RPP fee raised. We need to encourage people to lose their car dependency - towards that goal car sharing services should be allotted dedicated spaces free of charge.

by JeffB on Apr 3, 2012 4:19 pm • linkreport

@Gray - I said I wasn't suggesting the system/price was optimal, just that contrary to what you kept writing, street parking for residents is not currently free. You may think its grossly underpriced, but its not currently free. There's no reason for you to be so snotty.

by Tina on Apr 3, 2012 4:22 pm • linkreport

Parking is (or should be) a luxury. Most places where single-family homes are dominant either have parking or are in areas where demand is lower, and so too should be the cost. Simply owning a car is often one of the greatest expenses on low-to-middle-income people and enacting policies that help those individuals get around without needing to own a vehicle is a step in the right direction.

Actually, the opposite is true. Owning a car is often essential for workers with low-skills and minimal education, since most of the service jobs are located in the suburbs and have locations and schedules that make public transportation difficult if not impossible. Also, many of these jobs make having access to a car a near-requirement since the management doesn't want workers showing up late due to bus problems etc.

Owning a car is an expense to be sure, but it is an expense that can open up major job opportunities that simply aren't there in many neighborhoods. This is one of the reasons why new immigrants make buying a car or getting access to a shared car one of their top priorities when they arrive in the US.

by dcdriver on Apr 3, 2012 5:01 pm • linkreport

2 ideas that should be put into place citywide

1. Raise the RFP rate. $35 a year is far too low. I have a reserved spot at my building, but also pay for RFP because the cost is so low as does everyone else. Realistically I think $30 per month would be fair, and in fact is probably still too low. The prices should also be tied in some way to demand.

2. There are too few zones. Why should there only be 8 zones for the entire city? Why do the zones have to match the council districts? Right now you can commute within a zone in many cases. Neighborhood parking should be just that, NEIGHBORHOOD parking. The SW Waterfront, Navy Yard, Capitol Hill, and RFK stadium are not all one giant neighborhood, but they are all in the same parking zone.

by dcdriver on Apr 3, 2012 5:07 pm • linkreport

Gray,

If you really want market-priced transportation, fine. Then let's have market-priced transportation. We'll start with the presumption that users should pay the full cost of their transportation, whether it's cars, mass transit, walking, biking or whatever. Any subsidies must be clearly justified.

Somehow, I don't think you'd like the results.

by Bertie on Apr 3, 2012 5:29 pm • linkreport

Our block (in Ward 6) has RPP and I know that the $35 is too much for some folks to swing, so they park away from their homes on non RPP blocks. Either you break apart Zones with a fine tooth comb or risk screwing working class folk who just happen to live in a neighborhood that's coming up.

by SunnyFloridaAve on Apr 3, 2012 5:34 pm • linkreport

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by Dave on Apr 3, 2012 5:38 pm • linkreport

$35/year is less than a dime a day. If you own a car and pay gas and insurance on it, I find it hard to believe people aren't able to come up with that for a parking permit.

However, if that is indeed the case, maybe the city can come up with a program where if you are a low income resident, have to commute via car (no reliable transit to your workplace during your working hours) you can get a fee reduction of some sort.

by jyindc on Apr 3, 2012 6:00 pm • linkreport

Expanded RPP is already in Wards 1 and 6 because they have a concentration of night spots. Ward 2 has multiples of 1 and 6 put together and yet the Dupont ANC and Jack don't get the problem.

1. People coming in to nightlife areas should either take taxis, public transit, or pay market rate parking. When I visit other cities I never expect to find free on-street parking on residential streets when I go out.

2. Residents do have a equitable right to preference in curbside parking by their houses. No less than their front yards, which are also owned by the city in the old city, curbside parking in residential areas was devised so that residents could park their cars. In older days and still in many parts of the city, it was considered insulting to take the parking spot in front of someone's home. Just as insulting as to have a picnic in someone's front yard because it is also public property. Diminution of a homeowner's equitable rights in abutting city-owned property is serious business to homeowners.

3. The effect on the environment and quality of life is devastating when residents are forced to concrete over rear yards for parking because non-residents have taken over the curbside parking. This could be addressed by banning such paving, but it won't be. Especially if there's no place else to park.

4. The image spread that residents with cars are gluttonous SUV-drivers is ridiculous. DC residents use their autos very seldom. But since in today's world there's still usually a need for an auto at one's disposal when the need arises, it's best to give preference to those seldom-used resident-owned autos. In DC an auto is more likely to be owned by a middle-class older female who uses it on weekends to see a relative or grocery shop than a yuppie who drives from bar to bar.

5. It is the residents' city. We own it. We pay for it. We vote the crooked bastards in and out. Residents don't have greater rights ? We'll see how that works out.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 3, 2012 6:08 pm • linkreport

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by SunnyFloridaAve on Apr 3, 2012 6:11 pm • linkreport

@SunnyFloridaAve: Please, explain the plight of the common folks! Although I guess common folks don't have Internet access, so that would make you oblivious too?

@parking: Okay, I understand your point that a citywide fee of $1000/year would be unreasonable. So how about the point that I (and others) were making: that the fee should be greater in high demand areas, like Dupont Circle?

by Gray on Apr 3, 2012 6:14 pm • linkreport

@Tom Coumaris: You do not own the street space in front of your building. Why on Earth do you expect to be able to act like you do, simply because you registered your car and paid a token sum for a sticker?

You do, by the way, own your front yard. If someone tries to have a picnic there, you can kick them out.

by Gray on Apr 3, 2012 6:22 pm • linkreport

Nope Gray- DC owns the front yards in the Old City.

The front yards were planned for use by the abutting homeowners and the curbside parking was planned for vehicle parking by abutting homeowners.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 3, 2012 6:27 pm • linkreport

@Tom Coumaris: Ah, I forget about that quirk. If that's the case, then yes, it's public space. You bought the property knowing that. What gives you the right to act like it's yours when it's not?

by Gray on Apr 3, 2012 6:29 pm • linkreport

This is a difficult problem to solve and I have no solution to offer, just obsevations. There are interests of both residents and businesses to consider. I have 2 parking spots behind my house as do most of my neighbors. So high prices for restricted street parking will affect mostly younger people who live in apartments, not most home owners. And I'n not sure we want to drive away our night time restaurant visitors. One of the beauties of living in Dupont is having local businesses we can enjoy.

by Swann Man on Apr 3, 2012 6:32 pm • linkreport

Equitable Ownership.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 3, 2012 6:38 pm • linkreport

@Tom Coumaris: Was that a response to me?

by Gray on Apr 3, 2012 6:39 pm • linkreport

Yes Gray. I have to run to the RPP meeting now though.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 3, 2012 6:43 pm • linkreport

@Tom Coumaris: I still don't believe that people should feel entitled to public spaces near their property, but I understand that there is a tradition of feeling that way. Best of luck at the meeting.

by Gray on Apr 3, 2012 6:50 pm • linkreport

This is why it's important for new multifamily housing to include sufficient underground parking for its residents, especially in transit-rich mixed-use environments where residents frequently leave their cars at home for days at a time and where there's continual demand for parking from people entering the neighborhood to shop, go out, work, visit, etc.

by Sue on Apr 3, 2012 8:59 pm • linkreport

@parking -- it's not your experience or my experience with zipcar users (and I suspect that each is a function of our respective "networks" cf. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303816504577307943076491220.html ) that matters. It's the research that finds that a significant number of car sharing members go without cars, give up cars, give up second cars, etc.

wrt your failure to find research, I don't think you looked very hard, e.g., http://gigaom.com/cleantech/its-official-car-sharing-reduces-vehicle-ownership/

@tom coumaris -- observationally, I'd say it is true that people who have fewer cars tend to have bigger cars. This is definitely true in inner Capitol Hill, and many of those cars are SUVs. Just go around a few blocks and do a survey.

In the SNAP plan process in 2000-2001, our neighborhood group suggested pricing parking permits according to how many cars were in a household, plus I think we suggested that rates increase for the size of the car. You can see how far we've come in 10+ years...

by Richard Layman on Apr 3, 2012 9:45 pm • linkreport

(I forgot to mention that larger cars collectively reduce the inventory of available parking spots as well.)

by Richard Layman on Apr 3, 2012 9:49 pm • linkreport

@Sue
This is why it's important for new multifamily housing to include sufficient underground parking for its residents

But isn't part of the canon of smart growth to provide denser, more affordable housing by limiting parking? The cost of multi-level parking is $30K - $60K per spot.

In any case developers often have to promise to limit the number of spots in their development to assuage the traffic concerns of existing residents. The latest trend is forcing developers to agree that residents of their projects will never be eligible for RPP's.

So we now have 2 classes of citizens. Those that can get a RPP to park in the neighborhood essentially for free (parking space provided by the tax payer). And those that may have to pay tens of thousands of dollars (if they are lucky) for the same privilege.

by JeffB on Apr 3, 2012 10:02 pm • linkreport

I think that one important progressive aspect that could be put in RPP fees is increased fees for larger cars. while it may not be the determining factor in someone getting a large car, it would least be a penalty. Say free RPP stickers for electric cars up to $1000 RPP stickers for large SUV's.

DC tag fees should also be more progressive.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 3, 2012 10:11 pm • linkreport

If it ever takes you more than 15 minutes to park in Dupont -- any time, any day of the year except certain holidays -- you're doing something wrong. I have years of Dupont parking experience, and often get home at peak times during the day and week.

Imagine a 10 minute walk radius from your home, and park somewhere with those boundaries. At busy times, you select locations within that radius that are less desirable to most people -- meaning, they are further from "hot spots" where most people want to park. You have a much higher likelihood of scoring a spot in these areas, but you'll incur the "cost" of a longer walk to your destination. You might, for example, spend 5 minutes circling and 10 minutes walking.

Other times, when people are leaving rather than settling in for the night (people leaving Dupont post dinner around 830 or 9pm, for instance), you adopt a strategy that involves more circling so as to take advantage of greater churn. You purposefully circle in "hotpot" areas near your home. Sometimes, you'll get a space close to your home in 5 minutes, sometimes it'll take 15.

Another thing you can do is grab a metered spot after 630 and then switch over to residential after 10pm, when almost all visitors have left the neighborhood. You'd do this only if you luckily happen across a metered spot (sources of greatest turnover), and have 5 minutes later that evening to come back. Obviously, this doesn't work on a Friday or Saturday.

I think residents' concerns regarding parking are overblown. Yes, RPPs should be more specific, but other remedies are unnecessary. Parking isn't a right. If you happen to live in one of the most walkable neighborhoods in DC, you should only have to use your car for commuting -- and the prospect of spending 15 minutes, 5 days a week parking after work isn't onerous. It's a small price to pay for the luxury of living within hand's reach of everything.

by tresluxe on Apr 3, 2012 10:16 pm • linkreport

@Tom I think that one important progressive aspect that could be put in RPP fees is increased fees for larger cars. while it may not be the determining factor in someone getting a large car, it would least be a penalty. Say free RPP stickers for electric cars up to $1000 RPP stickers for large SUV's.

Why should some bureaucrat get to decide what kind of vehicle someone can drive? I could understand differential pricing if that vehicle is taking up more public space, but if I read you right, you're saying someone should be penalized for not driving what you would want to drive. Who's going to make the determination what is a 'good' car to drive and what isn't? Isn't that a decision that should be made on one own needs and means? I mean, a Smartcar might be a waste for someone working on minimum wage who only plans to use it for joyriding ... while an SUV might be a necessity for someone dealing in 'used things' that he/she sells at flea markets. Getting into making judgements on others' personal choices based on one's own needs and means is a sure way to not let the free market allocate resources to their best and most valuable uses ...

by Lance on Apr 3, 2012 10:32 pm • linkreport

@Lance Why should some bureaucrat get to decide what kind of vehicle someone can drive?

I have not seen anyone suggest we should determine what kind of vehicle someone can drive. However, some vehicles have greater impact on others and thus should incur a greater cost. Larger vehicles take up more parking space than smaller vehicles. Heavier vehicles cause greater damage to roads than lighter vehicles. Less efficient vehicles cause greater pollution which increases health costs among other things. All of these situations have consumer choice able to put a greater burden on others, so the owner should pay more in fees to balance out their choice if it impacts others more. It's not restricting choice, but more accurately assigning cost.

by Steve on Apr 3, 2012 10:49 pm • linkreport

Lance- Increased fees would partially defer the additional costs to the community associated with larger vehicles. Increased pollution and increased public health costs associated therewith, more public parking space being taken up, more frequent road repairs, etc. I think making people pay additional costs incurred by the community is fair. Basing fees on vehicle weight is pretty accepted practice.

tresluxe- I live at 14th and S. I often don't get home on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday in my car until after 9pm. I usually have to park on 11th between R and S those times. That's four very long blocks to walk home. Half the cars I pass walking have suburban plates. Sometimes there's no space at 11th and S. I've had to park as far away as 9th and Q and walk home. On cold or rainy nights I hail a cab home.

Hopefully people here do not routinely use their cars for commuting. There's better methods for commuting most places from Dupont than car.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 3, 2012 10:51 pm • linkreport

While I agree with Mr. Layman that research is what counts, not anecdotes, I see your 4 Zipcar members with their own cars and raise you 7 without their own cars (me, DH, and 5 friends). That's just off the top of my head. And even if it just makes it easier to go car-lite, that STILL reduces the number of cars fighting for parking.

I always found, as the story gets at, that my parking headaches were not caused by other residents, but by people who didn't live in the neighborhood. I'm surprised that David doesn't have trouble during the day, because that was the absolute WORST time to try and find parking on the Hill. RPP or not, commuters were willing to run the risk of a ticket to park in the neighborhood. Evenings were borderline...lots of guests/patrons eating up available space, but there were fewer of them than the commuters. Weekend daytimes were glorious. Between people skipping town and the lack of commuters, I could almost always find a spot very, very close to my house. So I'd say better enforcement is called for. Just start writing commuters a ticket every hour on the hour for a few weeks, and those garages will look a lot more affordable/Metro won't seem so inconvenient (since the cars came in between 8 and 9 and were usually gone by 6, I'm not bashing on people who have to work when Metro's not running).

From there, I found that the Zone 6-only side of the street in E. Market was rarely better than the other side. I like the idea of microzones in high-demand neighborhoods (perhaps with EXPENSIVE "pay only without permit" meters on one side of the street, to provide some access to business patrons without running out residents). As it stands, I could (if I had a car) legally park in some of the residential neighborhoods around H St., even though I don't live that close, and that seems unfair. Raising the RPP rates is a no-brainer in high-demand areas, which becomes a lot easier to swallow with smaller zones. $35 is a joke...even people I know with off-street parking pay for the RPP because it's there and it's cheap. I don't know about thousands of dollars, but $500 seems like a good starting place for very congested neighborhoods.

by Ms. D on Apr 3, 2012 10:53 pm • linkreport

Oh, and the previously-floated idea of more-expensive RPPs for multiple cars is my favorite idea of all.

by Ms. D on Apr 3, 2012 10:57 pm • linkreport

1. The cost of RPP is a small part of the total; it is added to other registration fees. Total annual fees for registration are $147-$225. This is not pocket change.

2. The idea of raising RPP to $1000 to effectively exclude those that cannot afford a car, so that the wealthy can more easily find parking is, well, funny. And a non-starter: just imagine what a political opponent could do with this sound bite...

by goldfish on Apr 3, 2012 11:50 pm • linkreport

@goldfish

2) The $1.5+M houses in Dupont effectively exclude those that wish to have a house from living in Dupont. While I don't like it, I don't think my housing should be subsidized so I can afford a house in this area. We're effectively subsidizing parking now by the non-parkers. Not everyone can afford to live or park in the areas they would like to. The resources are scarce so we need to price them appropriately.

by crackers on Apr 4, 2012 12:10 am • linkreport

@Tom C.

If you had some kind of ailment or were elderly, I'd support a set aside of restricted parking for your use. Otherwise, I don't think having to walk 4 blocks on a daily basis is problem.

The catch 22 here is that if you live in a very desirable location, parking will always be at premium. You can't have both cheap parking and a very desirable location. That's the reality.

We could increase meter rates to the highest point the market will bear before it negatively affects local commerce, and not necessarily increase parking opportunities for residents. Certainly, we'd capture more revenue, but that doesn't mean people like Tom would have to walk any fewer than 4 blocks.

Attracting people with out-of-state plates is a good thing for DC. They represent people who work in DC and pay taxes in MD or VA. Local tourism is one of the few ways that we can recapture the millions that flow out of DC every day. If it causes a small inconvenience for local residents, so be it. We have to remember that the reason why neighborhoods like Dupont or U Street offer so much is because of non-local patronage.

by tresluxe on Apr 4, 2012 1:08 am • linkreport

Regarding this general thread reminds me of a Jane Jacobs Q&A that I read. She said that most of the time people are asking the wrong questions. The right question isn't "why aren't there enough roads?" but "why are there so many cars?"

Obviously, the relatively free parking on the street encourages car ownership. Cost of cars etc. (the kind of stuff that CNT writes/does research on) combined with walkability, transit access, and proximity of employment centers is why fewer people in DC own cars.

But even so there is only so much space inventory. I wish we had it broken down by block so then people could understand what the situation is.

by Richard Layman on Apr 4, 2012 6:14 am • linkreport

@goldfish:

"The idea of raising RPP to $1000 to effectively exclude those that cannot afford a car, so that the wealthy can more easily find parking is, well, funny."

You think it's a problem to keep people who cannot afford cars from purchasing parking permits for these nonexistant cars?

by Gray on Apr 4, 2012 8:26 am • linkreport

@Gray

If you raise the RPP to $1000 you're just penalizing people at the margins who might already have a hard time affording the car that they need. Poor people have worse transit access/options than wealthier people who live in the city because of a combination of work schedules (they don't work 9-5 or travel during transit peak hours) and a lack of quality transit access (high frequency bus or metro) near home or work.

The reality is you don't need to solve the parking problem in Dupont and other places by raising RPP. That will only result in splitting car use into wealthy/poor instead of people who need/don't need a car. Parking is always going to be terrible there, and there is a certain segment of the population who will give up and get rid of their cars because parking is bad. The problem will solve itself. I could see raising prices for subsequent cars after the first to try to encourage people to get rid of cars they don't need.

People who move to an area shouldn't have an expectation that things will always stay the same. More people may move in. More cars may move in. The city should not be expected to protect your "right" to park in heavily trafficked areas just because you were here first.

One of the HUGE hassles of owning a car in the city is parking. But for some reason people think they should be able to have it all - live right on top of Metro, frequent bus service all the time, walkable neighborhood, and a $35 parking place on their block! If you want to be guaranteed a parking place and you live in Dupont (or another desirable place), either rent one from somewhere or move to somewhere with more parking available (garage or street). The argument that this tradeoff is unfair is the same as people who move somewhere with no regard to transit access to their home or job and then complain that they can't take transit anywhere. If you want to take transit, or you want to park, or you want to walk places, then take that into account when deciding where to live!

by MLD on Apr 4, 2012 8:41 am • linkreport

@Tom Coumaris

People coming in to nightlife areas should either take taxis, public transit, or pay market rate parking. When I visit other cities I never expect to find free on-street parking on residential streets when I go out.

I'm skeptical that outsiders are actually the core problem. I suspect the problem is more that there are simply too many residents with cars that want to make use of the scarce resource of on-street parking. Sure, those visiting for various reasons add to the demand, but that doesn't mean that later RPP hours will solve the problem. Hell, some of the visitors likely have valid RPP stickers - they're just driving from the far end of the RPP zone. That happens in Ward 6 all the time.

Residents do have a equitable right to preference in curbside parking by their houses.

Preference, sure. I'll buy that in certain conditions. Then it needs to be a preference for all residents, not just some residents. And it can't trump the other priorities we have for curbside space, where metered parking is often more productive, plus things like cycle tracks, bus stops, loading zones, etc.

And preference says nothing about price, nor does assigning preference via RPP do anything about the scarcity of on-street parking.

The bottom line is this: you have a scarce resource, and several ways to allocate it. The idea that you can allocate that resource effectively while maintaining a price that is essentially zero ($35 a year is effectively free, mind you) is devoid of logic.

The effect on the environment and quality of life is devastating when residents are forced to concrete over rear yards for parking because non-residents have taken over the curbside parking.

As Richard Layman noted, you're asking the wrong question. It's not a given that people will pave their yards for cars. Yards are nice. The real question is why are there so many cars? You're assuming that demand is constant, and you're assuming the marginal cost for parking must remain very very low.

But since in today's world there's still usually a need for an auto at one's disposal when the need arises, it's best to give preference to those seldom-used resident-owned autos.

I dispute the assumption you're basing your conclusion on. I don't think that 'need' exists. If you let the price of that service (keeping a car in the city) float to what the actual cost is, then I think people will reconsider.

It is the residents' city. We own it. We pay for it. We vote the crooked bastards in and out. Residents don't have greater rights ? We'll see how that works out.

I'm a resident, too. Don't think that those outsiders parking in your neighborhood aren't also residents.

That's the thing about residential parking. The whole presumption is based on the need to keep a car, but when you actually use that car to go someplace else, you're then the outsider.

If you're going to put this as a matter of citywide policy, then I don't see how neighborhood parochialism should be the paramount factor.

by Alex B. on Apr 4, 2012 8:54 am • linkreport

@Tom Coumaris: The $1.5+M houses in Dupont effectively exclude those that wish to have a house from living in Dupont.

I was under the impression that Dupont is in fact mostly apartments lived in by younger people that cannot afford such homes.

Seriously, putting forth a $1000 RPP idea just proves that many people have no idea what it is like to struggle in this expensive city, with kids and transportation demands. It also shows a political tin ear. Totally.

This problem has in fact already been solved: if you don't like parking in a crowded area, either give up your car or obtain a private space.

by goldfish on Apr 4, 2012 9:24 am • linkreport

@goldfish: I think that, once again, we're talking past each other. Tom Coumaris was arguing for an inherent right to street parking. The only way to make this possible is to raise the prices for permits.

You, on the other hand, seem to be arguing that people should accept an insufficient supply of parking spaces, and in return should pay very little.

These are alternate strategies for rationing a very limited supply. What we can all agree on is this: residents can't expect both freely available parking and practically free permits.

by Gray on Apr 4, 2012 9:31 am • linkreport

One thing I've never understood - why is non-resident parking limited during the day (when some, if not many, residents will have driven to work) and unlimited at night (when residents will most likely want to park)? It strikes me that it should be the other way around - visitors, workmen, etc., would be able to park during the day but clear out at night, leaving spaces for residents.

Is there something I'm missing?

by Todd on Apr 4, 2012 9:32 am • linkreport

goldfish- That was someone else's quote.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 4, 2012 9:34 am • linkreport

@Todd

Because RPP was never really about resident parking exactly, it was about preventing commuter parking - particularly in areas close to Metro stations.

by Alex B. on Apr 4, 2012 9:34 am • linkreport

@Gray: that people should accept an insufficient supply of parking spaces, and in return should pay very little.

No. Instead of using the RPP to ration parking, people reckon the cost in terms of their own time, whatever that is worth. This encourages private parking alternatives.

But nobody has address my other points about the transportation needs of a busy family, and the politics of confiscatory RPP fees. These are essential parts of the problem.

by goldfish on Apr 4, 2012 9:39 am • linkreport

@Tom Coumaris: I stand corrected. The quote was from crackers.

by goldfish on Apr 4, 2012 9:40 am • linkreport

@goldfish: I'm not seeing how you're disagreeing with me. By "insufficient supply of parking spaces" I meant that there would not be enough spaces for everyone to park quickly and easily. It's my impression that you prefer rationing by inconvenience to rationing by price. Am I missing something?

by Gray on Apr 4, 2012 9:47 am • linkreport

1. I think MLD makes a point not unlike JJ's, but a bit rounder, that people want to live by Metro, have bus service, be in a great walkable community, and have a relatively free place to park their car. This is an attitude that is sort of urban/suburban, a function of an automobile centric paradigm.

2. The thing about the parking space inventory that matters is that rowhouses tend to be about 15 feet wide. A small car such as the VW Beetle is 12 feet wide and when you figure space in between cars, that takes up about 15 feet. So if you have more than one car per house then you have a serious inventory problem. (Except for corner houses on the side, which have space for about 3 cars along the lot.)

This is why services like Zipcar should be encouraged, not discouraged, because since so many people, as Tom Coumaris points out, use cars only occasionally, it's better from a space utilization standpoint to encourage them to rent/car share when they need a car, rather than to own a car and store it on the street.

3. FWIW, I am not advocating for market rates necessarily for RPP, just a lot more expensive than currently, in the Toronto range of $40 to $50/month.

The thing that bugs the s*** out of me on "performance parking" "tests" is that the residents are given even more parking privileges, without having to pay any more for it.

4. WRT concerns about lower income people and hardships for parking costs, the proper policy response isn't to prevent a better policy and practice from being implemented, it's to provide a means for the lower income to participate in the market extranormally, e.g. with vouchers, rebates, etc.

At the same time, you have to be very careful that this privilege is not abused like handicapped placards tend to be abused, e.g., studies find that 30 to 40% of handicapped permits are used improperly/illegally.

by Richard Layman on Apr 4, 2012 9:48 am • linkreport

dcdriver had some good suggestions -- like raising the permit to $30/month. The thing about this forum is that nobody even noticed!

by norb on Apr 4, 2012 9:48 am • linkreport

Corrections. 1. I meant to say an "automobile-centric planning paradigm" that is more typically appropriate for suburban communities. 2. The VW is 12 feet long, not 12 feet wide.

by Richard Layman on Apr 4, 2012 9:49 am • linkreport

fwiw, I made a similar point before dcdriver, using the Toronto example.

by Richard Layman on Apr 4, 2012 9:51 am • linkreport

@Alex B - "Because RPP was never really about resident parking exactly, it was about preventing commuter parking - particularly in areas close to Metro stations."

If that was the logic, then it hasn't worked -- which is why we need smaller RPP zones than ward boundaries. Everyone on this board seems to assume that car "commuters" just have MD and VA tags. What's less understood, except by impacted residents, is that the ward-wide zone stickers allow DC commuters to drive, say, from Chevy Chase DC, Spring Valley or McLean Gardens and park near a Ward 3 Metro station all day (and often into the evening), meaning that residents who live within several blocks of such stations get essentially no benefit from the RPP program because the streets are jam-packed all day. (Remember the howls of protest when part of W3 in Chevy Chase was redistricted into W4? -- the compromise was that residents were still eligible for W3 RPP stickers, so they could park on streets near the Metro.)

I am in favor of progressive RPP fees on second and third cars registered to the same address, to encourage less car ownership and bring a bit more market rationality to the process. DC should also charge for the visitor parking placard in use in some wards.

by Axel on Apr 4, 2012 10:16 am • linkreport

Axel,

No doubt, RPP has failed to accomplish even its stated and limited goals.

Nevertheless, that was indeed the genesis of the current system.

by Alex B. on Apr 4, 2012 10:21 am • linkreport

The defacto policy now is to encourage autos that are used the most and penalize those that are used the least.

Curbside parking in residential zones was established for abutting residents to park their cars. Just as front yards in the Old City, it was technically public space intended for the use of abutting residents. It was never intended for free parking for non-residents. That right was eroded over the years and the RPP program put in. Now there are problems with non-residents using the free curbside parking at night and Expanded RPP is coming in.

The consequence of having little available curb parking for residents in an area is that rear yards are concreted over for parking. Rear yards were never intended to be concreted. The resulting damage to surface water dispersal is bankrupting the city. We can't afford the tunnels-under-the-Potomac solution.

I'm one of the last few in my block who refuses to concrete over my rear yard for parking. My yard is enjoyable and it also absorbs rain water the way nature intended and takes the burden of disposing of it off the taxpayer.

A simple solution would be to ban concreting of rear yards and require or encourage those that are to be changed back. This could only be done if residents had some security of a place to store their cars.

Auto storage (car ownership) is not the problem. Auto usage is the problem. The Smithsonian has many autos. They don't add to our problems. A neighbor has a car she uses only to visit her mother in western Maryland once a week. She doesn't add very much to our problems.

I know there are some residents who are car-spoiled. (Mostly ones with private parking). But the major problem comes from non-residents who take advantage of free curbside parking to avoid mass transit. Many drive from one Metro stop to another while they are in town. Encouraging these auto-abusive non-residents with free curbside parking is insane. Whatever few dollars we get as a result, the costs are tremendous.

and @Todd- I did bring up at the Dupont meeting the concept of "Upside Down RPP". In neighborhoods like mine the problem has evolved into a nighttime problem. Daytime visitors are often here on business and do not create a major problem. Keeping the present system in the daytime in such an area would not be a problem. It's the nighttime that has become ridiculous.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 4, 2012 10:30 am • linkreport

Axel/Alex B. -- in Ward 4, the RPP zones are zoned to the ANC. This means that only ANC4B residents could use their parking permits to park all day near the Takoma Metro station. Similarly, Petworth station and Fort Totten are in different zones, so 4B residents would be hard pressed to park all day for free near those stations. So far, I haven't noticed a similar zoned pattern for RPP permits in other wards in the city.

I do know that when I worked in Brookland, it appeared that parking spaces in the vicinity of the station/commercial district were used by residents in other areas of the ward, driving in to use the Brookland Metro. (At Rhode Island Station it costs $ to park.)

by Richard Layman on Apr 4, 2012 11:09 am • linkreport

Tom C. -- your ex. of the Smithsonian owning vehicles is nonsensical. Those cars aren't parked on neighborhood streets.

And I disagree with you about your neighbor. She owns a car parked on the street for about 120 hours/week, and she uses the car on the weekends. It'd probably be cheaper for her to rent a car on weekends (especially if she is a member of USAA, as she could get a car for about $25/day) than it is to own one.

It'd be interesting to know more about how car parking spaces support multiple cars, but technically, leaving a car unused on the street for something like 3 days legally means it's abandoned and subject to ticketing.

by Richard Layman on Apr 4, 2012 11:13 am • linkreport

@Tom Coumaris: "Auto storage (car ownership) is not the problem. Auto usage is the problem."

I'm not sure how you're so certain of this. Obviously, you find that there is not enough space for all of the cars in your area to be stored. Some could interpret this as car storage being a problem.

The simple solution is for people to find places to park their cars without relying on public space. Why is this such an unthinkable solution?

by Gray on Apr 4, 2012 11:21 am • linkreport

I think y'all are not being clear about the base case. The use of curbside space to store cars is not intrinsically a problem, except where there is a serious proposal to narrow the street, or allocate that space to bikes, or whatever. In someplace where you have a cycle track with parked cars outside of it, the parked cars may actually be beneficial.

The two problems are 1. vehicle usage - VMTs that add congestion, criteria pollutants, GHGs, oil imports, noise, etc, etc 2. The proper ALLOCATION of the parking spots in a way that satisfies criteria for efficiency and equity.

The allocation issue is NOT an issue in places where the market clearing price for on street spots is zero. Which would be much of the suburbs, and perhaps some lower density areas in DC (the suburbs provide a very interesting example, where streets designed by code with wide widths, and with few on street parkers, end up needing traffic calming). Some areas in DC the market clearing price is zero at certain times of the day or week.

as others have noted, there various pricing schemes one can try, including time variable metering, market set permit prices, various coverage areas for RPP zones, sliding scales for number of vehicles per household, etc. In deciding among them it seems wise to note that the policy goals are lowering VMT, and finding an equitable and efficient way to allocate spaces (and I might add, a way that reduces opposition to otherwise desirable projects and policies)

If someone values parking their car on the street for two weeks straight enough to pay the opportunity costs, I dont see why that should be impossible. It should be noted that these policies, in addition to impacting vehicle ownership and usage, will impact the market for off street spaces, and the provision of offstreet space is not without costs, including both direct costs, and external costs.

I once lived in a suburb where few people parked on street and parking on street was unlimited. One person kept a boat on a trailer in an on street space. Given the width of the street, that was effectively a traffic calming device, achieved without the cost of a speed bump. Narrowing that legacy street wasnt really in the cards, so I think that was in fact an optimal solution.

by AWalkerINTheCity on Apr 4, 2012 11:36 am • linkreport

Take a hypothetical scenario. Let's say you live some place where street parking isn't too difficult to find and it's more or less free. The city comes to your neighborhood with a development plan that will significantly increase the number of residents and retail/restaurants in your neighborhood. The upside is greater access to amenities. The downside is either:

1) It becomes significantly more difficult for you to park on the street

2) It now costs you $1000-2000 to park on the street.

I'd probably be ok with option 1 but I can understand why many people would not be. Option 1 would also strengthen the case for mandatory parking minimums which is bad land use policy.

As for option 2, even though I consider myself as pro-growth as they come, I'd say no way. I'm guess most car owners in that situation would agree.

That's why if I lived in the above described hypothetical neighborhood, I would demand option 3: some portion of the street is reserved for residents so that parking is only a little more difficult after development than before.

The problem for Dupont residents is that all their negotiating power is gone after the development happens. Their power only exists prior to approving the development.

by Falls Church on Apr 4, 2012 12:11 pm • linkreport

Gary- I mean that auto storage is not part of the environmental problem- auto usage is.

Richard- We start from different perspectives. My goal is to discourage auto use. I see making parking more available for non-residents as encouraging auto use.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 4, 2012 12:53 pm • linkreport

Goldfish, please explain your calculation of the costs to register a vehicle in DC.

The registration fee for most passenger cars is $72/year. Inspection is $35/2 years. We're up to $89.50/year. An RPP, which is optional, takes that total to $124.50.

There is a higher fee for a larger vehicle (3500-4999 lbs curb weight). However, for example, the Ford Escape and Honda CRV sneak in *just* under 3500 lbs, while the Jeep Liberty and Toyota Rav-4 are slightly over the 3500 lb. cut-off, so the cut-off happens somewhere in the mid-size SUV category. For the larger mid-size SUVs and up to a regular-cab Ford F150 and the like, your total fee would be $167.50. As was mentioned, it's fair that these vehicles get charged more because they are more costly to our community and infrastructure.

Yes, if you own a super-big vehicle, you once again get hit with another $40 in additional registration costs. Again, fair.

I find DC's registration and inspection fees to be infinitely reasonable. They haven't changed much in the last few years, and are similar to fees I've paid elsewhere. As for parking, I think very few people suggest charging $500 or $1000 or $5000 for annual parking in Anacostia, or, heck, even my W5 neighborhood, or, heck, even Hill East. There seems to be some consensus here that expensive, high-demand places should get smaller zones and higher fees, along with better protection for residents so they can more easily find a parking spot. It's hard to cry "poverty" when you live in Dupont and own a car.

by Ms. D on Apr 4, 2012 12:56 pm • linkreport

@Tom Coumaris

mean that auto storage is not part of the environmental problem- auto usage is.

Huh?

Storage leads to usage. Storage is a huge part of the 'environmental problem.'

My goal is to discourage auto use. I see making parking more available for non-residents as encouraging auto use.

So, making parking available for residents discourages auto use, but making it available for non-residents encourages it?

Your logic does not add up.

by Alex B. on Apr 4, 2012 1:08 pm • linkreport

@ Tom, I thought you had a garage behind your rowhouse. Why don't you park there instead of having to walk those 4 blocks at night?

by Lance on Apr 4, 2012 1:28 pm • linkreport

My two cents in this entire conversation is simply that people should be responsible for their own 'car storage' needs. I.e., If you're going to own a car, you need to be willing to pay not just for its registration and insurance and car payments, but for storing it. Our streets are supposed to be about 'access' and not for storage purposes. I'm okay with Marylanders, Virginians, and even other DCers using the street parking to access our stores and restaurants and everything else this city has to offer. I'm less okay with residents monopolizing this curbside area for their car storage needs. Residents know where they're going to need to park each night ... and can go out and rent/buy a space to park their vehicle. Visitors don't have that benefit and need those curbside spots to access friend, businesses, doctors, whatever. I really believe if we made it so that NO long term parking (by anyone) was allowed at our curbsides, a lot of problems would solve themselves ... But the politics behind people thinking they are entitle to store their cars in public space are probably too hot for any politician to touch ... even if it would be for the good of the city in the end.

by Lance on Apr 4, 2012 1:34 pm • linkreport

But the politics behind people thinking they are entitle to store their cars in public space are probably too hot for any politician to touch

While people may not be entitled to store their cars in public space, they do have the right to disapprove development that makes it more difficult for them to store their car in public space. I think it's reasonable for the city to ask residents to approve development and in return, the city will take action to mitigate the negative effects of that development. And, hopefully the city can come up with a mitigation plan that's better than mandatory parking minimums for new development.

by Falls Church on Apr 4, 2012 1:43 pm • linkreport

Lance- I do not have a garage.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 4, 2012 1:47 pm • linkreport

This feels strange to say, but . . . I think I agree with everything that Lance wrote at 1:34 pm.

by Gray on Apr 4, 2012 2:09 pm • linkreport

Tom C -- I don't have a problem with your goal of discouraging auto use. But it's one sided (just like the performance parking districts). Your ideas discourage auto use by nonresidents of immediate areas, but encourage/privilege auto use by residents, by providing virtually free parking, in places where the inventory of spaces are seriously constrained, even without the issue of nonresident parking.

I just think that all car users, whether they are resident or not, need to pay more of the true costs of their use of cars, especially when many of the costs are foisted on other actors.

by Richard Layman on Apr 4, 2012 3:27 pm • linkreport

Parking is a finite commodity and in distributing it, from a conservation point of view, it's better to give preference to those who will likely drive the least.

That's not pure laissez-faire market economy granted. That's not maximizing the utility of spaces to get as many cars in and out as possible.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 4, 2012 3:44 pm • linkreport

@ Tom C

The problem with preferring residents strongly over non-resident parkers is that it creates a "gated community" effect. This doesn't work for commercially dense neighborhoods. Dupont, Logan, and U Street are unique in DC because of their location relative to downtown, the White House, the Mall, etc. They can't be anything but highly desirable in terms of situating commerce and housing. Because of this unique and profound desirability, it would never make sense to lobby for stronger parking rules in these areas, that effectively discourage specfically non-residents from parking. Sure, charge a premium for parking. But you can't effectively shrink the number of spaces available to non-residents, because that would be mis-use of very valuable real estate.

Tell me, where are we to put our entertainment centers -- the "hot spots" of the city -- if not along the fault line between where most people work and the beginning of residential space?

This is a structural problem. Demand for parking in Dupont and U Street is very, very high. Regulating parking to the point that you would have a space guaranteed for you, say, within block of home would kill all the businesses that make U Street so great. Simply put, you can't afford to have free parking on U Street, unless you're willing to pay the cost of turning it into a ghost town -- which would be about the least smart way to take advantage of U Street's central location.

by tresluxe on Apr 4, 2012 5:58 pm • linkreport

tresluxe-
Your position depends on the assumption that many people going out in the evening are only willing to do so if they can drive. Over the years we've seen that just isn't the case. Most of the nightspots locally have patrons who mass transit, taxi, or walk. There are a very few troublesome spots whose patrons usually drive, and the most obnoxious patrons can be seen at 3am stumbling dead drunk to their cars (stopping to urinate, vomit, or scream on the way).

These are usually troublesome patrons for the businesses too and in dealing with club owners we usually find they're not fond of the same people we hate. Also, maybe it's a chicken-and-egg thing, but it doesn't seem that as parking gets harder, crowds get any thinner.

At any rate the areas north of U, east of 14th, and south of S are getting Expanded RPP as soon as possible. Let's see if U or 14th become ghost towns.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 4, 2012 6:26 pm • linkreport

@Tom Coumaris: I find it interesting that you're quite certain that resident drivers are so different from non-resident drivers. Apparently your neighbors have cars but almost never drive them, while anyone living in another neighborhood necessarily drives almost all of the time. And non-residents who drive are worthy of hatred by shop owners and residents, while you residents are well-loved everywhere you go.

Seems perfectly reasonable to me. And I'm sure it's fully backed up by reality.

by Gray on Apr 4, 2012 6:37 pm • linkreport

Gray- You know I'm not claiming that at all. We have several residents who are completely car-dependent and drive far too many short trips considering where they live. They all have concrete parking pads though. Residents who park curbside generally aren't as car-dependent.

Not in every single case true, but generally, people who live in town drive a lot less than suburbanites.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 4, 2012 7:47 pm • linkreport

The parking challenge is greater than just Dupont; the street work on 18th St. is causing tremendous pressure in Adams Morgan. And the loss of spaces is clearly going to be an issue. Perhaps these neighborhoods should have regulations similar to those near RFK and even more residential only areas. The issue with the 2 hour limit is the staff and visitors know how to beat the rules. And enforcement in many of these areas is weak. Residents returning home after work or in the evening end up parking illegally, as there is no option only to wake up to plenty of available spots and tickets! If this City really wants to embrace smart growth and sustainability - push the use of Metro. Rather than brutalize residents - build a few public garages in key commercial areas its revenue generator; open/lease private garages on T, F and S nights. And, stop reducing the parking ratio on new and renovated residential projects that are mere fantasia in this auto based society.

by Catherine on Apr 4, 2012 8:09 pm • linkreport

@Tom C

You're the one who said that half the cars you see on your walk from where you park to your home are out of state. Since you get home late, this implies that nearly all of the suburban-owned cars you see are there to shop, dine, or drink in your neighborhood. You can't have it both ways. Either own-of-towners don't hurt your ability to park extremely close to your home, or they are indeed responsible for a significant amount of commerce and sustained development in your neighborhood.

My point is that inhibiting out of town drivers from spending money in your neighborhood is a bad, bad idea -- which is what would have to happen for you to get a space on your block every night.

You seem to be stuck on the idea that you have a *right* to park in front of your house every night -- even though you own a parking pad, which for some reason you refuse to use. You could easily lay down two gravel strips, which would 1) keep you from having to deal with a personal lack of parking, and 2) not negatively affect the environment. I think that's your solution.

I'm very pro expanding RPPs, as I've stated in my first post, but not to the point it hurts businesses. Common sense, no?

As parking gets harder, crowds do get thinner. Some people drive. If we subtract them from the total volume of people who show up to shop or dine, then yes, clearly, that leaves fewer people.

by tresluxe on Apr 4, 2012 8:24 pm • linkreport

Just for perspective, Lance, have you ever lived in a community that had "no long-term parking" rules?

I have. IT SUCKED. The town I went to college in had a 24 hour parking maximum, and they enforced it liberally. So, if I went away for a weekend with friends, I had to arrange for someone to move my car EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I helped out a TA when he did his comps (was locked in his office for 72 straight hours) by moving his car for him. Often, I - and many, many other people - were wasting gas and causing needless pollution just moving our cars to another spot on the block every day. This was a largely walkable community, where most people only NEEDED their car to go to the grocery store once a week or go to the doctor once in a while or other errands. Because the community was walkable for everyday activities (going to class, going out for drinks/dinner, going to the library), most people didn't need to move their cars much, but because it was planned using "modern" city planning (the "central business district" - where all of the grocery stores, clothing stores, car repair shops, etc. - was located from the border of town up to about 2 miles from "downtown" - where one would find the college, restaurants, bars, libraries, etc.), a car was still necessary, if only occasionally.

And you know what? The "parking maximum" did nothing for "storage parking." My roommates and I would usually just swap spots on the street once a day, as did all of my friends with their roommates. It was also really complicated. If you took your car out for an errand, and when you returned the same spot you WERE parked in was still open, you'd have to find another place to park or hope a roommate was home to swap spots with you (and that their car hadn't been parked in your spot in the last 24 hours). We had a notepad on the fridge to record whose car was where each day. Some people used colored chalk to mark the curb by their "house spots" so they knew whose car had been where. And let me tell you, we ALL cooperated on the parking. Parking in a known or marked "house spot" was strictly verboten, punishable by being disinvited to all future house parties at that residence. Since there were no businesses in the residential areas, and people in the residential areas were out walking around when commuters needed the spots, the system worked well for us, not so much for the intended goal of the law.

It also led to some pretty bad "development." As college became more of a "luxury" experience, new developments went up. These new developments, some of which bulldozed previously scenic hilltops, took over the few downtown retail options, replaced group homes with smaller apartment buildings with surface parking (fewer residents/area, because of the parking), and the like, and featured large, impervious, environmentally damaging parking lots, so that residents didn't have to suffer the inconvenience of moving their car all the time. They also introduced private busing systems to the city, since many of them were too far away to be walkable. Instead of students walking from their nearby group homes, they were now being bused around, increasing pollution and congestion.

Bottom line...parking maximums, in towns where car use does not need to be frequent, don't eliminate storage parking and create other undesirable outcomes.

by Ms. D on Apr 4, 2012 8:31 pm • linkreport

tresluxe-

As I said- I have not noticed that as parking has gotten harder the crowds have gotten smaller. Just the opposite.

This all reminds me of the protests about the no-smoking-in-bars ordinance. We were warned it would cripple bar business. Devastate night life.

How'd that work out?

Expect the same sky falling when ERPP goes in.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 4, 2012 8:45 pm • linkreport

@Tom C

It doesn't logically follow that demand is more well met, just because demand is rising.

No one on this thread is arguing against making RPP more neighborhood specific, including me. Who exactly is saying the sky is falling?

by tresluxe on Apr 4, 2012 9:24 pm • linkreport

@Ms. D., When I say no long term parking, I mean make it short enough that someone parking while at home won't even attempt the musical chairs trick you describe. I.e. maybe three hours , maybe four hours ... Though two hours or even 30 mins could work dependent on the block. The objective would be to make it so that people who owned a car took responsibility for storing it while at home ... and freeing up the curbside for people just needing to park 'temporarily'.

by Lance on Apr 4, 2012 10:00 pm • linkreport

@RL: WRT concerns about lower income people and hardships for parking costs, the proper policy response isn't to prevent a better policy and practice from being implemented, it's to provide a means for the lower income to participate in the market extranormally, e.g. with vouchers, rebates, etc.

So let me see, to enjoy a reduction in the RPP fee from say $50/month, ($600/year, roughly a twenty-fold increase), are you proposing that people provide proof of income? Will they have to provide copies of income tax returns? Again, it is dumb politics to make taxpaying voters feel like they are applying for welfare when they go to the DMV. Moreover, compare this to the political difficulties with the widely acknowledged need for a small increase in the gas tax, which has not been raised in decades. I can just see the frowns in the audience when a pol suggests a 20-fold increase in the RPP fee at the next public meeting. People have a finely tuned sense of their best interests, and increasing a fee to discourage auto ownership it at odds with this. Convincing voters that this is good for them is 99.99999% of the battle.

The minimal cost of RPP is because the money is only for administering the program; it is not supposed raise revenue.

I agree that parking around U St and Dupont is so difficult on Saturday night that it is probably hindering some from visiting, costing businesses. Something needs to be done, but raising the RPP fee is not the answer. OTOH for the people who live there to complain about weekend evening parking is difficult to accept, because these were the same people that moved to these neighborhoods for its nightlife. They cannot have it both ways.

by goldfish on Apr 4, 2012 11:48 pm • linkreport

"""OTOH for the people who live there to complain about weekend evening parking is difficult to accept, because these were the same people that moved to these neighborhoods for its nightlife. They cannot have it both ways."""

goldfish--- WHAT???? The people were here making this a decent neighborhood long before the businesses came in to profit off the residents' work.

When many of the residents came into the neighborhood every other house was a shell, smack and crack were sold openly on 14th and shot up or smoked in the alleys and there were dead bodies many mornings (my lover was one-that spurred me). 14th was one of the worst streets in the country.

It was the residents who went to court to convict criminals, demanded public services, went to jail to stop the neighborhood from being razed for a freeway interchange, and devoted the largest part of their lives to making Dupont/Logan an attractive well-planned neighborhood. The developer barons from Bethesda would never set foot in the neighborhood back then, much less invest.

The residents made this an attractive neighborhood for investors to come into and make money- not the other way around at all. I think in most neighborhoods the urban pioneer renovators come first and only after a neighborhood is nice do the businesses come in. If the people who turn a neighborhood around over years don't happen to want it to become just another Crystal City or just another Adams Morgan, maybe they know more than you think.

Nightlife ? 14th Street was traditionally auto sales companies and supply houses. The bar thing is new in the last very few years.

After all this work residents aren't going to give up their plans for the neighborhood and accept anything that now wants to come in with no input or that the residents will give up their rights as residents.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 5, 2012 1:37 am • linkreport

@goldfish "these were the same people that moved to these neighborhoods for its nightlife."

That's quiet an assumption. I know a vast array of people who moved to this neighborhood and they moved here for a large variety of reasons ... And only for a few, the newest (and fewest), would moving here for its nightlife have been a reason ... After all, it's not that long ago that there really was very little nightlife in this neighborhood. Unless, of course, you're doing the suburban thing and not differentiating between neighborhoods in the city and thinking "it's all one place" ... so nightlife in Adams Morgan or the L Street cooridor would qualify as nightlife in Dupont or Logan (formerly known as Shaw) circles ...

by Lance on Apr 5, 2012 1:43 am • linkreport

@Lance @Tom C

The U Street corridor has traditionally been host to nightlife. There's no reason for anyone to have assumed, in the last [Deleted for violating the comment policy.] 15 years, that it would continue to remain a haven for laundromats. No one bought there in the 90's or oughts, hoping anything but that U Street would return to it's historic status as one of DC' preeminent nightlife destinations. [Deleted for violating the comment policy.]

[Deleted for violating the comment policy.] Function fits form as neighborhoods are revitalized. If you live next to an boarded up laundry, know that one day it's going to be a source for boutique trinkets or drinks. Why? Because zoning is very hard to change in DC, and there's increasing *and* accelerating demand for high-end shopping and dining options in DC.

The gentrifiers who bought into U weren't hoping for dry cleaners; they dreamed of wine bars and Michelin stars. And even if they bought without a hope for revitalization, they should have known better. U Street has has always had a large number of storefronts, and it's always been in a very desirably location, geographically speaking. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the destiny of U Street would be very different than that of, say, Cleveland Park, as it developed.

[Deleted for violating the comment policy.]

by tresluxe on Apr 5, 2012 6:27 pm • linkreport

tresluxe- 14th isn't U

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 5, 2012 9:21 pm • linkreport

goldfish -- tax return or eligibility for EITC.

Just because RPP wasn't set up to raise revenue doesn't mean it shouldn't. The issue is properly pricing a scarce good to manage parking space inventory in a logical way.

Tom C. -- you might be interested in reading David Engwicht's _Reclaiming our cities and towns_ which is the book that laid out the basic ideas behind transportation demand management. He was trying to figure out how to justify not building a new freeway in his community.

There is an extensive discussion about how cities are created to foster all types of exchange, not just commerce, and a great diagram about how as more space is devoted to the car, there is less space available to foster exchange.

My point about what should the space be used for, car storage or other things has to do with facilitating exchange being the primary purpose of such space.

Anyway, in the parking and curbside management element of the Arlington County Master Transportation Plan, even it doesn't address some of these issues, because parking is the third rail of local politics.

http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/EnvironmentalServices/dot/planning/mplan/mtp/images/file73120.pdf

by Richard Layman on Apr 5, 2012 10:48 pm • linkreport

So, Lance, you support the destructive development that was the result of the parking maximum in my college town? As I mentioned, at the point that I lived there, about 10 years after the parking maximum went into place, one of the consequences of the parking maximum (24 hours, not 3 or 4 hours as you propose) was that developers started buying up properties and replacing densely-populated group homes with smaller apartment buildings with copious off-street surface parking. Other developers started building sprawling complexes far from the town center and providing congestion- and pollution-increasing bus transit, where those residents would have previously lived in a group home or small apartment complex without off-street parking and walked for most of their daily needs.

You've previously stated your preference for communities that separate residential from business uses, and expressed the idea that everyone needs to own a car in order to live a "good life," plus expressed desire for "human scale" communities of low-rises and townhomes. So, in combination with your statements here, I can only assume that you would support a development direction like the one my college town experienced when I was there, where low-density development with plenty of off-street parking dominates. To hell with the environment, sense of community (people who live further from each other are less likely to interact, no?), convenience (walking whenever you want to/from the store/campus/bar/restaurant versus waiting for your development's hourly bus...but only before MIDNIGHT!), affordability (fewer residents/square foot of the building's footprint = higher housing costs, no?), and preservation of natural resources (one of the hilltops that was bulldozed for a development used to be a popular hiking/mountain biking spot in a very, very beautiful rural-ish area - in fact it had one of the best views of the town and the stars around - but that's not important...sprawl, sprawl, sprawl).

Of course we could combine parking maximums with zoning regulations that allow things that people need to exist within easy walking distance of their homes, but you're opposed to that, as well.

by Ms. D on Apr 6, 2012 1:35 am • linkreport

"If you had some kind of ailment or were elderly, I'd support a set aside of restricted parking for your use. Otherwise, I don't think having to walk 4 blocks on a daily basis is problem."

First of all, DC will designate a reserved handicapped spot in front of a dwelling. I know of several examples. An effective residential parking permit program is not the same thing as giving every other resident their own reserved parking spot, and I don't think anyone is proposing that.

But dismissing the idea of walking 4 blocks on a daily basis from a parking spot as no big deal perhaps ignores the daily routine and needs of families (and other residents who are not so spry). It's perhaps a stereotype to suggest that most readers of this board are single, fit urban hipsters who just frequently dine out or get takeout from the latest faddish food truck. Certainly some
DC residents fit that profile, and indeed DC officials have made no secret of the fact that young professionals, single or not, with no kids pay more taxes than they consume in city services and are important to attract. But a healthy, vibrant city is also about attracting and retaining families with kids -- and not just in outer, semi-suburban neighborhoods like Spring Valley. (This obviosly includes the single hipsters who start families and want to stay in DC.) Families face a lot of challenges to choose to stay in the city, including finding good public schools, day care, recreation, etc. And they tend more than younger singles to need a car. It is obviously a big deal to circle endlessly for parking and then have to walk 4 blocks routinely at the end of a long day, with two tired, listless kids (and bags of groceries and other gear) because your neighborhood is crammed with vehicles of commuters or nightlife patrons. And before I hear the refrain of "you live in a city, you should know this," know this: More commercial and other dense development near such neighborhoods without adequate provision for off-street parking or implementing RPP micro-parking zones, just makes daily life more of a hassle. This is one of the reasons why such development meets opposition, when it should be supported more. Try to strike a balance of interests, including how to protect residential parking, and the path for good development hopefully will be smoother.

by Axel on Apr 6, 2012 10:27 am • linkreport

Axel:

You can have:

Easy-to-find-a-spot on street parking
Cheap RPP permits

Pick one. Fundamentally, this is an issue of scarcity, and how to allocate a scarce resource.

More commercial and other dense development near such neighborhoods without adequate provision for off-street parking or implementing RPP micro-parking zones, just makes daily life more of a hassle.

If it does, it's not because of the development, but because of our nonsensical parking regulations. Dense development is not the problem. In allows for more walking trips and less car usage. It's the solution, not the problem.

Try to strike a balance of interests, including how to protect residential parking, and the path for good development hopefully will be smoother.

Again, this depends on what you mean by 'protecting' residential parking. It can be easy, or it can be cheap. It cannot be both.

@Tom Coumaris

This all reminds me of the protests about the no-smoking-in-bars ordinance. We were warned it would cripple bar business. Devastate night life.

How'd that work out?

Expect the same sky falling when ERPP goes in.

I don't expect ERPP to cripple nightlife at all - I do expect that it won't solve the residents' parking issues, however - because residents have failed to realize that the problem they have with parking is of their own creation.

by Alex B. on Apr 6, 2012 10:54 am • linkreport

@Alex B.--

I have no problem raising RPP permit fees on all vehicles. In fact, I already wrote that I favor progressively higher RPP fees on second and third vehicles, to discourage auto use. I also favor charging to obtain the currently-free visitor parking placard that is being rolled out to RPP areas throughout DC.

by Axel on Apr 6, 2012 12:37 pm • linkreport

@RL: Just because RPP wasn't set up to raise revenue doesn't mean it shouldn't. The issue is properly pricing a scarce good to manage parking space inventory in a logical way.

But the RPP is a blunt instrument, and does not have the fine control needed to solve evening nightlife parking problems. It won't work.

@Ms D: Goldfish, please explain your calculation of the costs to register a vehicle in DC.

Have you seen the annual registration bill lately? My last one included inspection, RPP, and registration, and cost $185 (middle of the range I gave). This is expensive compared to other states. Again, the fees are supposed to cover only administrative costs, not raise revenue; revenue is supposed to come from gasoline taxes.

by goldfish on Apr 9, 2012 8:40 am • linkreport

People coming in to nightlife areas should either take taxis, public transit, or pay market rate parking. When I visit other cities I never expect to find free on-street parking on residential streets when I go out.

I live in Clarendon (that's a whole other parking discussion we can have later), and whenever I have to go into the city in the evening for a social event, I most certainly drive.

Here's why:

1) If I took the Metro, I'd have to take the orange line to metro center and then change to the red line to Dupont, and the whole trip (assuming I caught a train right as I arrived at the station) would take like 30-40 minutes. And then I'd have the same if not longer commute going back.

If I drive, I can be there in 15 minutes, especially if I go after rush or on a weekend evening.

2) The Metro would cost me at least $3.20

I can drive to Dupont and back on less than 1 gallon of gas..so that's what? 4.16? Hmmm...1.16 more?

3) I also have to factor in the weather (is it raining?) and whether or not the trains are working/on time and whether there is construction (one of the Dupont exits is closed currently for construction).

No wonder people drive. What's an extra 10-15 min in your car looking for a spot, if you can save all the hassle and time and be in your a/c and the privacy of your own vehicle.

And yes, I've never taken more than 10-15 min to find a spot even on a crowded night.

I'm all for increasing the prices that folks pay to park on the street...but in return, I also want money to go to build more parking garages, with lots of parking (and yes, go ahead and charge $5-7). Then let's see what happens.

I'm willing to be that even at those prices, people will still pay to park versus take Metro or public transport. It's just not convenient enough for folks.

2)

by LuvDusty on Apr 9, 2012 1:50 pm • linkreport

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