Greater Greater Washington

Parking


Less parking needed for housing atop Metro, not more

The developer of a new residential building at 7th & R streets NW in Shaw plans just 40 parking spaces for 105 units, but ANC commissioners say it isn't enough. Is more parking actually necessary?


The proposed building. Image from TenSquare.

Last year, DC put out a request for proposals to develop Parcel 42, a 17,000 square-foot lot next to the Shaw Metro station. After receiving several proposals, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development selected the TenSquare Group, which wants to build 105 apartments and 5,000 square feet of retail space there. The developer will set aside 20% of the eight-story building's units as affordable housing and expect it to meet LEED Silver standards, a measure of environmental sustainability.

The Zoning Commission has yet to approve the project. Neighbors and ANC6E commissioners are unhappy that the building would have just 40 parking spaces, located underground. TenSquare insists that the current plan maximizes the motor vehicle parking for a building its size, but it's unclear how much of the parking will be set aside for retail customers.

At a meeting last Wednesday, commissioners insisted that TenSquare add more parking spaces before they could support the project. Kevin Chapple, the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner whose single-member district covers Parcel 42, and fellow commissioners threatened to oppose the project at the Zoning Commission unless there was more parking.

Chapple owns a home three blocks away and relies on street parking. Not surprisingly, he and his neighbors want to ensure that there is enough space for their cars. But this building may not have a big impact on that. After the Howard Theatre opened last year, DDOT decided to include Shaw in its initial launch of the Visitor Parking Pass program.

Parcel 42 is also next to the Shaw Metro station, and several Metrobus lines run up and down 7th Street in front of the proposed building, including the 70, 79, and G8. There are also several Capital Bikeshare stations nearby. Meanwhile, there's a lot to walk to nearby. Shaw has seen a tremendous boom in corporate, retail, and restaurant development. In fact, Mayor Gray will take part in ribbon cuttings for three restaurants in Shaw later this week.

It's because of compact, walkable neighborhoods like Shaw that DC residents led the regional trend in driving less. According to COG, DC residents drove 8% less in 2011 than they did in 2005. While the city has added 40,000 residents in the past decade, the number of car registrations has remained flat, suggesting more people are choosing to live without owning a car. It's likely that a new building at Parcel 42 will attract car-less residents, both to market-rate and affordable units, as less affluent households tend to have lower rates of car ownership.

Shaw has not seen the traffic congestion that other parts of the city experience. But that may soon change with the completion of developments like Jefferson at Market Place, CityMarket at O, and smaller projects, many of which will have much more parking than Parcel 42 and are likely to attract more cars.

The Jefferson development will include 281 apartments, 13,400 square feet of retail space, and 230 below-grade parking spaces. CityMarket will have 645 residential units, 182 hotel rooms, and 86,239 square feet of retail, along with 500 parking spaces. Roadside Development, which is building that project, originally planned for 700 parking spaces. Because it's in such a transit-accessible location, city planners asked for less parking, despite complaints from community leaders.

Mayor Vincent Gray has repeatedly suggested that as the District's population increases, the city will not be able to accommodate similar increases in motor vehicle ownership and traffic. The developers of Parcel 42 already seem to have accepted this reality. More homes and amenities within close reach of each other means fewer car trips, not more, and we should plan for parking accordingly.

I grew up in California, the heart of American car culture, but carpooled or took transit to high school and university, fighting two or three hours of congestion each way. I'm not unfazed by the growing pains DC is facing, but I am surprised it's taken so long for local leaders to address them.

This article was edited to note that this project has not yet been approved and that the Zoning Commission, not the Office of Planning, will decide to approve it.

Martin Moulton is an education advocate who lives in the Shaw neighborhood. He is originally from California where he attended public, private and parochial schools. He works in the tech sector. A life long cyclist/non-driver, he serves on the board of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. Moulton has served as a consultant to KIPP DC in its community outreach. 

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I think you are preaching to the choir. You might want to present your article at the next ANC meeting, if you have not done so already.

In the neighborhoods like Shaw, the OP is approving a bunch of zoning variances despite the wishes of the ANCs, so I'd say that bodes well for Parcel 42 if it requires one.

by Scoot on Sep 10, 2013 12:12 pm • linkreport

Nice summary. Also, the Coalition for Smarter Growth has an action page where you can urge the Mayor's office to keep the Parcel 42 focus on encouraging transit use and affordable housing instead of mandating more parking than needed -http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/2041/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=11879

by Alex @ CSG on Sep 10, 2013 12:14 pm • linkreport

The Office of Planning has already approved the project . . .

At a meeting last Wednesday, commissioners insisted that TenSquare add more parking spaces before they could support the project. Kevin Chapple, the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner whose single-member district covers Parcel 42, and fellow commissioners threatened to boycott the finished development unless there was more parking.

Seriously, that's their threat? I'm pretty sure the development will be just as successful or unsuccessful if the ANC "boycotts" it as if they don't.

I mean, it reads like parody. The ANC has no actual power, but they're so concerned about losing free (taxpayer-subsidized) parking that they're just going to complain loudly anyway?

by Gray on Sep 10, 2013 12:20 pm • linkreport

'Chapple owns a home three blocks away and relies on street parking. Not surprisingly, he and his neighbors want to ensure that there is enough space for their car.'

Chapple has to drive three blocks?

by AlexCyclist on Sep 10, 2013 12:40 pm • linkreport

Before everyone gets too polarized, is there any indication how many more parking spots the ANC believes is necessary? There is a big difference between say 10 more and say one per unit which would be over 100.

Without knowing this fact, it doesn't help to have an us versus them argument by saying if they want some more parking they are anti everything you believe in....

by EH on Sep 10, 2013 12:42 pm • linkreport

is there any indication how many more parking spots the ANC believes is necessary

Does that really matter? The market says it wants 40 spaces. Why does an "advisory" neighborhood commission get a say in that?

by thump on Sep 10, 2013 12:44 pm • linkreport

@ thump:Why does an "advisory" neighborhood commission get a say in that?

Why does an ANC get a say in anything at all?

by Jasper on Sep 10, 2013 12:48 pm • linkreport

If one wants a meaningful discussion about the number of parking units are necessary for a 104 unit building then yes, it does matter. How exactly are you defining the "market," that is dictating it wants 40 spaces? How have they arrived at that number? The "market" does not always have the right answer either - otherwise there would be no building restrictions or zoning laws to begin with.

Like it or not, large construction projects do impact surrounding neighborhoods and our laws give ANC's great weight. If your position is that the ANC or neighborhood should have no say... well.. that is certainly an opinion but that is not the world we live in, now it is.

Characterizing the "opposition," in this case the ANC, without knowing the details behind what it is they are asking sets up an argument that creates two polarized sides and ultimately does not end well. Wouldn't you rather know something about both sides before you arrive at a decision?

by EH on Sep 10, 2013 12:55 pm • linkreport

“While the city has added 40,000 residents in the past decade, the number of car registrations has remained flat, suggesting more people are choosing to live without owning a car.”

The source for the statement that the number of car registrations has remained flat is a February 2012 Washington Examiner article citing DC DMV Director Lucinda Babers as stating that car registrations in DC have “hovered around 275,000.” However, recently DDOT provided information to the Zoning Commission on the actual number of registered vehicles. Citing Ms. Babers, DDOT provided the following information, showing an increasing number of registered vehicles:

2009 268,974
2010 275,043
2011 279,787
2012 284,905

Of course, in this instance, the relevant information is vehicle ownership rates for household in this area, and in particular with the demographic characteristics of the likely residents of this building. Is it likely that fewer than half the households in market rate units will own one car, none of the residents of the affordable housing will own a car, and none of the employees or customers of the retail space will drive to the site?

by OtherMike on Sep 10, 2013 12:58 pm • linkreport

It's another example of the parking space entitlement culture. How about the AMC commissioners cut a check to all of the pedestrian and cyclist taxpayers who subsidize their parking? That might be a little bit fairer.

by aaa on Sep 10, 2013 1:04 pm • linkreport

So if there's not much need for parking there, the developer will have no problem exempting the new building from RPP, right?

by Tom Coumaris on Sep 10, 2013 1:06 pm • linkreport

40 spaces meets the zoning requirement, so how can anyone require more?

Are the people advocating more parking willing to pay for it? Why should they pay for it when the city sells RPP stickers for $35/year? No private owner can compete with the government at that price.

by RBton on Sep 10, 2013 1:08 pm • linkreport

I suspect the issue isn't residental parking; it is concern about what is the blend of retail/residental.

I though the new parking pass is going to be abused hard, so how does that help?

by charlie on Sep 10, 2013 1:14 pm • linkreport

@charlie +1

When there's issues with parking in mixed-use areas, it's often because of visitors to the neighborhood (primarily the dinner crowd) trolling along for residential spaces.

by Adam L on Sep 10, 2013 1:20 pm • linkreport

EH,

Well the ANC is opposed. I don't know how else you could characterize it.

And shouldn't it be on the ANC to provide the specific number they want? If they can't or won't that's their problem.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 1:22 pm • linkreport

Plus, you can ask for more parking all you want but there are technical limitations. You can't just add more spaces, you have to plan and build them. That could mean taking away retail or living space or drive up the cost to dig deeper underground.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 1:25 pm • linkreport

How many times are they going to go around this merry-go-round? There are many older residential buildings without parking and renters take that into account when they plunk down a deposit. Why not let the developer's bottom line take a hit if they don't have parking? If you want to live downtown and have the privelage of a car, then pay for it. This is how behavior changes. I wish they'd give them a hard time over the roof design. It looks like three buildings mashed together.

by Thayer-D on Sep 10, 2013 1:26 pm • linkreport

If the ANC is not demanding that the new building be exempt from the RPP program, then might we infer that they are mainly worried about commercial patrons?

by JimT on Sep 10, 2013 1:28 pm • linkreport

If the figures from DDOT which OtherMike cites are true, showing car registration is increasing about 5000 cars per year for the past 4 years, then the figures in the story are false.

by Tom Coumaris on Sep 10, 2013 1:30 pm • linkreport

If the ANC is not demanding that the new building be exempt from the RPP program, then might we infer that they are mainly worried about commercial patrons?

No, perhaps we might infer that they don't know this is an option, or haven't considered it as one.

by Scoot on Sep 10, 2013 1:31 pm • linkreport

'Chapple owns a home three blocks away and relies on street parking. Not surprisingly, he and his neighbors want to ensure that there is enough space for their car.'

Classic... That's my free subsidized street parking spot...

by Street Parker on Sep 10, 2013 1:33 pm • linkreport

It's kinda hard to blame the ANC in this instance given that the city has created the perception that free parking is an entitlement, and is only very recently (in the last few years or so) looking at more creative ways to manage supply and demand so that users pay a higher share.

by Scoot on Sep 10, 2013 1:46 pm • linkreport

If 5000 new cars are added to DC every year then the people we are attracting to move here are much more inclined to own cars than the 63% DC norm, because that's more than 63% of the population increase(it's actually close to the population increase).

Meanwhile Arlington is getting the lions share of car-less new residents with it's No-Garage, No RPP policy.

All this so-called "smarter growth" rhetoric is just a smoke screen for giving developers cash savings with no concern for addressing the issue of how to discourage new cars coming into DC.

by Tom Coumaris on Sep 10, 2013 1:51 pm • linkreport

"Is it likely that fewer than half the households in market rate units will own one car, none of the residents of the affordable housing will own a car,"

Isnt one reason to supply affordable units in such a sought after, expensive location, the logic that it makes it easier for folks of modest means to go car free? If folks living in guaranteed affordable housing next to a metro station are owning cars, something seems to be wrong.

As to the market rate folks, I would suppose that will vary with their right to onstreet parking. Deny them RPP's, and yet the only folks who will rent there will be folks who want to pay for the in building spots (which will be pricey) or the car free. Allow them RPPs at the current low prices, and probably most of them will want cars - and the scarciy of on street spaces will gradually incent more other people to be car free. Or DC could see its way to market prices for RPP's.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 10, 2013 1:56 pm • linkreport

"no concern for addressing the issue of how to discourage new cars coming into DC."

Hasnt there been discussion of new parking policies, including the Wells bill to allow RPP free buildings? Whats the status of that, BTW?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 10, 2013 1:57 pm • linkreport

Tom C. is absolutely right that DC should follow Arlington's model and restrict RPP for new development built with no or light off-street parking. If a developer states that the "market" only justifies a certain number of off-street spaces, then let's see if the developer is basically willing to put his money where his mouth is and ensure that the building doesn't dump its external parking costs on to the public streets. Alternatively, when it comes to mixed use projects, DC could take a page from Bethesda's playbook and build municipal parking and restrict nearby neighborhood streets to residents 24/7. Problem of diners competing for residents' parking solved.

by Alf on Sep 10, 2013 2:06 pm • linkreport

If 5000 new cars are added to DC every year then the people we are attracting to move here are much more inclined to own cars than the 63% DC norm, because that's more than 63% of the population increase(it's actually close to the population increase).

Well, the new registrations could very well be coming from people who already live here, not from people who have just moved here.

by Scoot on Sep 10, 2013 2:07 pm • linkreport

If you want to live downtown and have the privelage of a car, then pay for it.

Exactly. So, would you agree that folks in this new building should be exempt from RPP? If they want parking, they can pay for a market rate space. But, of course, that shouldn't even be necessary for those thinking there will be no more cars than parking spaces added by this development.

by Falls Church on Sep 10, 2013 2:15 pm • linkreport

The zoning regs require 1 space for every 3 apartments (105/3 = 35) + 1 space for every 750 square ft of retail over 3000 square ft ((5000-3000)/750 = 2.6). So the regs require 37.6 spaces total.

Why is 40 controversial if the law only requires 37.6? Does the ANC demand the restaurant serve free cake at the end of every dinner?

by RBton on Sep 10, 2013 2:18 pm • linkreport

Ah yes, let's hold developers responsible for a problem that's actually the fault of DC government and really only something that DC government can solve.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 2:22 pm • linkreport

"Exactly. So, would you agree that folks in this new building should be exempt from RPP? "

that should happen for buildings that get variances to enable them to be parking free. This building of course, is by right - its providing the number of spaces required under the current code. So there is no particular reason to limit its RPP rights. Are the cheap RPP rights to buildings like this a windfall? Sure. They are also a windfall to folks living in buildings built before any parking was required. If folks in this building have to give up RPPs why shouldnt that folks in 1890s townhouses do so? Sure this BY RIGHT development will mean MORE rationing of parking by scarcity. DC can ration parking by price instead. If its going to ration by scarcity, because thats the existing law, than you have to accept that the current zoning is also existing law.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 10, 2013 2:23 pm • linkreport

Sorry, I missed the part of the story that said the parking spaces required by the developer were in line with the current zoning regulations. That explains where the 40 spaces came from.

Still don't know more about the specific objections of the ANC, or their motivations here. A lot of guessing, a lot of supposing, and a lot of accusing.... but no details. If they have not provided any reason or detail then that's on them. Just responding to the story.

by EH on Sep 10, 2013 2:24 pm • linkreport

People will buy/rent units with the expectation that they can just use street parking until the neighborhood gets to a point where it is so crowded that street parking is assumed to be too much trouble to bother with (eg, Georgetown, Adams Morgan, DuPont, Logan). Since Shaw is not yet at that point, I think it is reasonable for the ANC to assume that a lot of the new residents will forgo a parking spot in favor of street parking. But the ANC should "be the change" and buy off street parking themselves if they are so concerned.

by Tyro on Sep 10, 2013 2:24 pm • linkreport

"Tom C. is absolutely right that DC should follow Arlington's model and restrict RPP for new development built with no or light off-street parking."

But this isnt light. Its by right according to the current code.

You want to INCREASE the limits to 1 car per unit to protect the privileges of folks living in (old) units with ZERO offstreet parking?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 10, 2013 2:25 pm • linkreport

and DC government could have solved the problem with a No-Garage, No-RPP policy.

But instead it agreed to exactly what developers wanted- diminished parking to the level that developers of tall buildings have to build as a foundation anyway.

by Tom Coumaris on Sep 10, 2013 2:29 pm • linkreport

Well, we already have parking at this site. But the best you can hope for is keeping the current parking at status quo with that arrangement. Hardly any help if parking is already tight.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 2:42 pm • linkreport

Tom C

what problem? I see an attractive new building, that will provide more badly needed housing close to the city center, very close to metro, will provide more tax revenue for DC.

And is being built by right.

Where is the problem?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 10, 2013 2:48 pm • linkreport

@Walker- The issue is that DC Zoning just lowered the requirement from an effective 1 to an effective .5 without conditions, including a No-Garage, No-RPP policy. Instead of writing into the code that builders could waive or lower the previous requirement in return for such agreements DC just dropped them to what developers of tall buildings have to build anyway.

So now there's no incentive to sign no-RPP agreements and Well's new law, if it gets passed, will be toothless.

What the so-called "smarter growth" crowd accomplished was to make it virtually impossible to get No-RPP agreements.

by Tom Coumaris on Sep 10, 2013 2:49 pm • linkreport

OtherMike -- interesting data but relatively useless. That's not your fault of course.

The data needs to be presented in a variety of ways. Registration by wards, registration by housing type, in what we might call transit station districts, in the core vs. the noncore, changes over time, etc.

Plus DDOT has, to the best of my knowledge, not presented an inventory of parking spaces by ward and sub-district (unlike say Seattle, cf. http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com/2012/12/testimony-on-parking-policy-in-dc.html).

Part of the reason this debate is so contentious is because the data we have access to is so paltry.

My understanding, based on a variety of sources, is that multiunit buildings in DC that are proximate to transit have underutilization of parking spaces compared to the number of spaces required by zoning. This is true not just in the core, but outside the core, in more suburban-seeming locations like Takoma DC.

And a majority of trips are made by walking, biking, and transit, not by automobile.

But stitching together a bunch of traffic studies from various projects and anecdotal reports from property managers and developers isn't enough.

I do not understand why more definitive research hasn't been conducted.

by Richard Layman on Sep 10, 2013 2:58 pm • linkreport

"So now there's no incentive to sign no-RPP agreements and Well's new law, if it gets passed, will be toothless.

What the so-called "smarter growth" crowd accomplished was to make it virtually impossible to get No-RPP agreements."

hardly. The incentive to do a no-rpp agreement (or some alternative,more valuable proffer) will be to get the parking req to zero. or to anything less than .5

.5 being still a fairly onerous requirement for units near metro, and so close to downtown. For many its not possible to justify the expense unless you can save money by going car free.

is there money perhaps left on the table? Possibly. But as others have pointed out - there is money left on the table by not taxing municiple bond interest. By not charging market prices for RPPs. By many policies. Those are lost revenue opportunities to be sure. But I still do not see the "problem".

This building is better for the district than no building, or than a smaller building.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 10, 2013 3:00 pm • linkreport

The data needs to be presented in a variety of ways. Registration by wards, registration by housing type, in what we might call transit station districts, in the core vs. the noncore, changes over time, etc.

For the city to invest in that kind of specific data analysis, it would actually have to take parking reform seriously.

by Scoot on Sep 10, 2013 3:19 pm • linkreport

Walker- New buildings over a certain height have to have excavations for foundations anyway and those always become garages. Effective .5 is what developers have to do anyway. 1 was double that and would have been an incentive to sign no-RPP agreements.

The whole purpose of the rush to drop requirements unilaterally was to sabotage any effectiveness of Wells' bill.

by Tom Coumaris on Sep 10, 2013 3:20 pm • linkreport

If that is the case, would you support lowering the requirement to zero? There are already buildings proposed with zero parking. The foundations can be used for storage, bike parking, fitness centers, and other uses IIUC.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 10, 2013 3:31 pm • linkreport

At Arlington's transportation commission last week, we reviewed developments in two areas of Arlington that offered an interesting contrast.

In one area, we reviewed an elementary school addition to the Williamsburg middle school. In this case, the local neighbors were pushing for an increase in on-site parking to reduce the number of teachers and school employees that would have to park on the local residential streets. In the end the transportation commission voted to allow some of the on-street parking to count against the zoning code requirement for the school to have a certain number of spaces.

In the other action, the developer was seeing approval of a preliminary site plan with a maximum one parking space per 1000 square feet of office, which is less than the typical Arlington standard of about 1 space per 600 square feet of office, and is the first parking Maximum anyone had heard of in Arlington. In this case, however, the local residents were requesting that the Transportation Commission require an even lower maximum than the developer had proposed, and the developer was defending the need to provide that much parking in order to keep the building marketable.

The difference between these two cases, of course, was the expectation about what people coming to work at the property would do with their cars during the day. In the case of the school, the expectation was that teachers and employees would drive alone to the site and park their cars for free, either in the school lot or on the streets in the neighborhood nearby. The school is not close to Metro or any high-frequency buses. In the case of the office building, employees would not be allowed to park their cars on the street without feeding parking meters or paying for off-street parking, so limiting the building's parking was seen as an effective way to manage the building's congestion impact.

In Arlington, the ability to restrict a building's residents and tenants from flooding a neighborhood with excess parking demand is KEY to being able to satisfy the goal of reducing people driving alone everywhere.

I highly recommend that DC implement a policy that buildings that are approved with less parking than required by the zoning ordinance be exempt from RPP eligibility, and the streets around those buildings be set up as metered or paid parking.

This is my opinion and does not reflect endorsement of the Arlington Transportation Commission on which I serve.

by Michael Perkins on Sep 10, 2013 3:37 pm • linkreport

I'd support zero with no-RPP. But that's not going to happen now except for buildings under about 7 stories. And bike-parking waives 2 units of required parking for every equivalent space for bikes in Seattle. But that's not the way we went.

And I'd love to see no-RPP in return for basements being used for purposes other than parking. But knowing local developers I don't expect much of that.

by Tom Coumaris on Sep 10, 2013 3:43 pm • linkreport

No i mean zero with RPP. Since you believe that will have no impact on the actual number of parking spaces built. You should be indifferent whether there is a minimum of .5, or no minimum at all.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 10, 2013 3:49 pm • linkreport

Walker- I said I don't think .5 is any incentive to tall building developers to sign no-RPP agreements, so for buildings over 6 stories it may as well be zero. I wouldn't be hopeful the basements would be used except for garages though unless there's a formula to waive the .5 for other basement uses- but that's not coming either, unless the developers want it.

When talk of No-Garage, No-RPP started and Wells' bill surfaced the prospect for unilateral zero looked dim and .5 was a fig-leaf that could be promoted as a compromise. In fact it was all the big developers needed.

by Tom Coumaris on Sep 10, 2013 4:03 pm • linkreport

so if it may as well be zero, you wouldn't object to it actually being zero, I would think.

Im still not clear on what the PROBLEM is though. Again, was the city easier on the developers (and their tenants - lets agree to disagree on the market and how it passes through benefits) than it could have been? Maybe. By the same token its easier on the folks who get RPPS for $35(?) that are worth much more. One is no more of an outrage than the other.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 10, 2013 4:11 pm • linkreport

Would it appease the current locals if the developer proffered a CaBi station as part of the development?

by rogerwilco on Sep 10, 2013 4:27 pm • linkreport

@rogerwilco

Considering there is already a bikeshare station across the street, I don't think so!

by Scoot on Sep 10, 2013 4:30 pm • linkreport

Michael Perkins -- what would be interesting, like with the Seattle data that is linked to within my above cited testimony/blog entry, is if ArCo has data on the parking utilization of the area by the elementary school.

One of the wacked things about DC's parking restrictions is that they are focused on the daytime--because of there being a desire to discourage driving to the Metro and parking all day--when the reality of timeshifting (what JJ called "mixed primary use") is that's the time of day when parking demand is likely to be low, generally speaking, at least in that neighborhood, Monday through Friday, before 5pm. (Recognize I don't know the place you're talking about and depending on the nature of the housing stock, I could be completely wrong.)

That's the kind of info we need in order to up the level of conversation (cf. Scoot's point about taking parking reform seriously) on these issues.

2. one of my concerns about a DC transpo commission is that members appointed would reflect the suburbanized city (5 of the 8 wards are more suburban in orientation) and this could get really f*ed fast in DC.

Granted, that's not how it works in ArCo or Tempe, fortunately for those localities.

by Richard Layman on Sep 10, 2013 4:31 pm • linkreport

Those new tenants get RPP.

The outrage is that with all our congestion and ozone pollution problems DC has absolutely no plan to discourage 5000 new cars being brought in every year. The "let the market decide" plan of letting congestion get so bad there's accidents too often and the air is virtually unbreathable on hots days to entice people to be car-free isn't working.

Having a decent transit system in the city would be an enticement but I don't see Santa bringing us that any time soon.

by Tom Coumaris on Sep 10, 2013 4:32 pm • linkreport

"The outrage is that with all our congestion and ozone pollution problems DC has absolutely no plan to discourage 5000 new cars being brought in every year. The "let the market decide" plan of letting congestion get so bad there's accidents too often and the air is virtually unbreathable on hots days to entice people to be car-free isn't "

actually the District is expanding transit, bike lanes and other supports for biking and walking, etc. If you think it would be better to discourage residents from having cars by not allowing residents in these buildings to have RPPs - well thats interesting, but Im not sure why it should apply only to those in new buildings. If you want to make parking difficulty/cost an incentive to going car free you probably want to limit the number of on street spaces period - not reserve them for residents of older houses. And you might consider parking maximums. Im not sure how maintaining parking minimums will lead to fewer cars. Im also not sure that the number of cars in the District has really increased by that much - as many have suggested that may be out of state registered cars now registered in the district (which would account for differences between registration data and census data). And I would also expect that the goal is less to have fewer vehicles in the district, than to have fewer VMT in the district. Which you get if you have more people living closer to jobs and retail - even if they insist on OWNING a car anyway.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 10, 2013 4:39 pm • linkreport

" The "let the market decide" plan of letting congestion get so bad there's accidents too often and the air is virtually unbreathable on hots days to entice people to be car-free isn't working"

BTW if more people could live in DC, and it resulted in fewer VMT and fewer GHGs generally, but more ozone in DC, would you consider that a defeat? Would you consider that an outrage?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 10, 2013 4:42 pm • linkreport

@ Richard Layman 1

I've asked DDOT if they have any ideas about the number of off-street parking spots in any given location in the City and specifically in my part of town in Tenley/Friendship, and their response has been that they have no clue. Folks like Harriet at OP are forced to use the DCUSA example over and over again, which the suburban parking lovers claim is not a proper example of overbuilding because . . . well, some such goofy argument. I'd prefer her to say we don't need parking minimums in transit zones because in places like Friendship, the median number of available spots is X.

How is it that DDOT can possibly create any reasonable parking plan without knowing the total number of spots in town is beyond me. I know, welcome to DC.

by fongfong on Sep 10, 2013 4:56 pm • linkreport

Walker- If RPP is bad as an incentive to own cars WHY are we expanding it to include thousands of new residents?

And there ARE a finite number of RPP street spaces (actually a diminishing number). And there are many more RPP stickers than RPP parking spots already. So we solve the problem by giving out thousands of MORE RPP stickers?

Is the theory that traffic will become so miserable with people circling for spots that don't exist that people won't buy cars? That doesn't work because the newcomers don't find that out until after they've brought a car in lured by DC's promise that RPP provides them virtually free parking.

by Tom Coumaris on Sep 10, 2013 5:02 pm • linkreport

DC might not have as great a transit system as NYC or SF (despite all the bitching by SF residents, they've got it pretty good). But when you add a bike and car sharing to transit and maybe bike sharing + mobile taxi hailing services (I don't use those), I would argue that the city's sustainable mobility landscape (as opposed to the transit-only landscape) is pretty good.

If the city gets its "stuff" together on streetcars, over the next decades the transit environment here can become quite incredible.

You don't have to look at SF as the example, although the F line is awesome (I don't know the SoMA area well enough where the streetcars are being extended to).

My best experience was 10 days in Portland, staying at a youth hostel in the Nob Hill neighborhood, about 10 years ago. That area along with the Pearl District and a goodly portion of Downtown is served by their streetcar (+ bus + light rail, I didn't have access to a bike, and wasn't using carsharing then, although they had Zipcar back then).

You see how livable and non-car enabling it makes urban life. (I don't think the streetcar in New Orleans has the same impact, but I didn't stay an equivalent length of time. And it's been years since I've been to Toronto, and so am unable to compare the experience there).

Plus one of the best ways to judge the effectiveness of _transit_ is by the amount of vehicles on the streets. For many hours of the day, DC's streets have minimal traffic. True that's not during rush hours, and there are many tough chokepoints--Columbia Heights being one--that are best to avoid, but for the most part, it ain't that bad, or I wouldn't be able to employ the Idaho Stop with relative impunity, following Idaho Stop rules to the letter.

Transit works. Even in DC. And the people who whine about it aren't being fully objective. Or at least, maybe I just have low expectations.

by Richard Layman on Sep 10, 2013 5:04 pm • linkreport

Moreover,

Besides the steps DC is taking that AWITC mentioned there is the simple fact that if DC govt just reformed its RPP scheme the scandal of developers not being forced to prohibit RPP would simply evaporate.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 5:05 pm • linkreport

fongfong -- obviously, I am not going to disagree with you, because I agree 100%. We need a census of spaces, like the Seattle data I keep referring to.

But DC/USA isn't the only example. The Tenleytown "Sears" site is another. Since 2003, Richard Lake has been talking about how the utilization of parking is significantly less than expected.

But also, indirectly, many traffic studies for new developments provide good data too, when they survey nearby buildings.

E.g., the Gables building in Takoma was surveyed as part of a study of a different site. It has 140 units I think, and during rush periods generates about 35-40 car trips. I was really really surprised. My understanding too is that all of the parking that they have is not utilized, although I don't know a percentage.

I think many other traffic studies end up generating similar information but it isn't compiled and codified in a overarching fashion.

by Richard Layman on Sep 10, 2013 5:08 pm • linkreport

In fairness we could just do a survey of street parking and off-street parking in each area and then limit the number of RPP's given out to that number. In order to get a new sticker an old resident or new resident would have to get on a waiting list for one to be given up.

But the system we're moving toward now is insanity.

by Tom Coumaris on Sep 10, 2013 5:26 pm • linkreport

"Walker- If RPP is bad as an incentive to own cars WHY are we expanding it to include thousands of new residents? "

The program is not being expanded. the program is the same - but more people will get RPPs because there are more residents (do you write Newt Gingrichs speeches on food stamps? becuase the misuse of "expanding the program" is quite parallel)

"And there ARE a finite number of RPP street spaces (actually a diminishing number). And there are many more RPP stickers than RPP parking spots already. So we solve the problem by giving out thousands of MORE RPP stickers?"

Wait, I thought you said the problem was ozone. sounds like the problem is more that its hard for a resident of an old house who HAS an RPP to find a parking space.

I agree thats an inefficient way to allocate parking. I prefer price. But I think mandating lots of new offstreet parking is even less efficient. Now is it possible that 1 space per unit minimum will motivate developers to make deals for waivers? maybe. Or maybe they will avoid the headache and just build the parking to meet the minimum.

"Is the theory that traffic will become so miserable with people circling for spots that don't exist that people won't buy cars? That doesn't work because the newcomers don't find that out until after they've brought a car in lured by DC's promise that RPP provides them virtually free parking."

Personal story. Wife and I looked at a unit in a DC building. We didnt think "OMG, its so great we will get an RPP!" We thought "OMG, this is expensive, BUT we could manage without a car here and we need to think about that" The idea is to let more people live where transit is convenient and biking and walking are options.

And note again, even if we moved to such a place and kept our car - we wouldnt drive it much.

So if you are concerned about pollution and congestion on the roads thats a win. OTOH IF we moved there, and IF we kept our car, and IF we got an RPP, we sure WOULD use the RPP to park when we went out to places like 14th street (for arguments sake, lets assume we are in the same ward) (and at least on those occasions when we were not more inclined to walk or bike) so IF your concern is not congestion, or pollution, but keeping relatively easy on street parking, thats a loss.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 10, 2013 5:28 pm • linkreport

Sure, that would be government moving towards fixing its own problem. Much better than relying on developers to fix a problem they actually can't.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 5:29 pm • linkreport

"In fairness we could just do a survey of street parking and off-street parking in each area and then limit the number of RPP's given out to that number. In order to get a new sticker an old resident or new resident would have to get on a waiting list for one to be given up. "

why a waiting list? Why not just make them transferable? Let the old residents sell them.

The reason that is not done, is to hide the degree to which cheap RPPs represent a valuable property right - a transfer of public property into private hands.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 10, 2013 5:30 pm • linkreport

Walker- I never said my concern was for older residents to have easier parking. I said giving XX stickers for X spaces is an almost fraudulent incentive that makes traffic and pollution so much worse.

And it's not the drivers who have to suffer the pollution and the danger- they have air conditioning and airbags. It's the pedestrians and bikers and other people outside who have to breath noxious air and dodge cars that are in a circling frenzy.

I'd be all for a congestion tax, a high RPP fee, and/or a ban on certain vehicles. But short of that don't encourage more cars than we have room for.

by Tom Coumaris on Sep 10, 2013 5:46 pm • linkreport

@Richard Layman, The American Community Survey by the Census presents vehicle ownership information for smaller geographic areas, such as census tracts and wards, as well as by other demographic characteristics. I posted the information for the DC DMV on vehicle registration to address the claim that vehicle registration in the District "has remained flat." Actual data demonstrated that the statement was false.

@fongfong, In its transportation studies, DDOT routinely collects data on parking inventory and utilization, both on-street and off-street. There generally is an appendix which includes all the relevant data, including the inventory, restrictions for the on-street parking, and utilization measured at several times, such as weekend, weekday, morning, evening, depending on the types of parking concerns raised. There might be some transportation studies done in your part of town that would have the information you requested.

@Richard Layman, "My understanding, based on a variety of sources, is that multiunit buildings in DC that are proximate to transit have underutilization of parking spaces compared to the number of spaces required by zoning." I would be very interested in examples of multiunit residential buildings where vehicle ownership is actually less than the zoning requirement of one space for every two to four units depending on zone.

by OtherMike on Sep 10, 2013 5:48 pm • linkreport

"It's the pedestrians and bikers and other people outside who have to breath noxious air and dodge cars that are in a circling frenzy."

by constraining the number of units in places like 7th street, you are moving far more people to the suburbs, where the walking and biking conditions are far worse.

"I never said my concern was for older residents to have easier parking. I said giving XX stickers for X spaces is an almost fraudulent incentive that makes traffic and pollution so much worse. "

and if you dont give the stickers, but allow the new units with 1 space per unit (the old code) than you STILL have lots of cars on your streets, endangering peds, creating pollution, etc. All you've removed is the cars circling for parking.

How much of the total VMT in DC is resident cars circling for parking? I would venture that the increase in VMT, in danger, and in pollution due to that is a drop in the bucket compared to the benefits in VMT, walkability, GHGs, etc from having more people live closer in in dense, well laid out areas.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 10, 2013 5:52 pm • linkreport

Who's constraining the number of units any place? It's constraining the number of cars.

by Tom Coumaris on Sep 10, 2013 5:58 pm • linkreport

"Who's constraining the number of units any place? It's constraining the number of cars. "

how, absent a reduction in the number of units, does a parking MINIMUM constrain the number of cars? It does not.

And again, even if the Wells bill passed (whats its status?) there is no assurances of how workable it would be or how many developers would avail themselves of it rather than take the perhaps legally easier path of just meeting the minimum.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 10, 2013 6:04 pm • linkreport

Has even a shred of evidence been offered that the free market cannot handle the supply and demand for parking? Is there any market failure at work here such that artificially boosting the supply might be called for? Is this the kind of good for which we need to artificially increase supply?

by Crickey7 on Sep 10, 2013 6:22 pm • linkreport

@OtherMike, I believe Richard Layman has already suggested the old Sears building as but one example. DCUSA is another, though that isn't residential. There are always parking places at both locations, day and night. Highly underutilized.

by William on Sep 10, 2013 6:24 pm • linkreport

Sorry. But I live a block away from this parcel. I am thrilled that it is being developed. But the people in that building will bring their cars. And if they have no place to park, where will they go? They will park on the existing streets.
So living in the pollyanna world of "let them not have parking spaces" disregards the neighbors who will suffer from it.
I used to live in Dupont. But I often would not go visit friends in Virginia because I knew I could never find a parking space when I returned. I do not want the same thing to happen in Shaw.
Add some spaces to this building.

by John on Sep 10, 2013 6:36 pm • linkreport

Walker- Parking minimums should be waived for transit benefits and no-RPP agreements, not for nothing. Certainly not waive them and give the residents RPP stickers.

And the Wells bill would have worked as a trade-off for parking minimums at the old standard. It would have been much better for adeveloper than building an additional floor of parking. At the new standard it isn't worth much except for buildings under 6 stories.

by Tom Coumaris on Sep 10, 2013 6:38 pm • linkreport

They'll have 40 spots to park in. Everyone else will make other arrangements. Just like everyone else who has moved into some sort of house in DC. If it gets hard/harder to park on the street then all ire/rage should directed at the entity that owns and manages those spots.

Meanwhile the developer is following all the laws and the rules that the government set. And we're getting more residences in a city that badly needs it. I'd dare say needs it more than the city needs more parking spaces. On or off site.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 6:51 pm • linkreport

I am all for more people in the city
But the building should have more parking spaces

by John on Sep 10, 2013 6:57 pm • linkreport

@AWITC "but allow the new units with 1 space per unit (the old code)." In DC, the parking requirement varies by zone. For most apartment buildings, the requirement is one space for every two units, or less, as low as one space for every four units. Only in the lowest density zone allowing apartments is the requirement one space per unit for apartments. You can read the zoning regulations on the DC Office of Zoning web-site.

OTOH, the lowest parking requirement for Arlington is higher than one space per unit, which is meant to provide both resident parking and visitor parking. The Arlington zoning regulations are also posted on-line. In Arlington, this 105 unit building would be required to have 118 spaces.

If the ZRR is approved, the minimum parking requirements would be changed, and the requirement for buildings near transit would be less than one space for every six units. With the ZRR, the parking requirement for this 105 unit building would be 17 spaces.

@William, According to sworn testimony before the Zoning Commission by a representative of the Condominium Association for that building, there are 204 units, and all 170 spaces were purchased by condominium buyers. There are 10 spaces owned by residents who do now own a car, and those were quickly rented to other residents. The number of parking spaces available to the condominium exceeds the minimum requirement of 102 spaces. If the ZRR is approved, 204-unit residential building similar to the Sears condominium in this area would only be required to have 33 spaces, even though all 170 spaces are currently being utilized and residents of the building also are eligible for RPPs.

by OtherMike on Sep 10, 2013 7:01 pm • linkreport

John,

How many? What if it comes at the expense d something else? Like the affordable apartments (or the regular ones that help pay for the affordable apartments)? How much more should the apartments cost if more parking spaces means digging further underground to provide them?

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 7:12 pm • linkreport

There should be at least one parking space per unit. I would support more.
I am all for a taller building if it means a better parking spot per unit ratio.

by John on Sep 10, 2013 7:18 pm • linkreport

Well, at 8 stories the building likely can't be taller if just because of the height limit. Moreover, building taller costs money an the cost of building an extra floor may not recuperate that especially if the extra floors are just going to parking rather than apartments.

Meanwhile, if recent construction is any indication then you simply don't need a spot per apartment, especially in shaw which would have a much lower percentage of people owning cars even if we didnt have metro.

Plus, if the developers thought they couldn't sell/lease with only 40 spots they could've built more. Nothing prevented them from doig that.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 7:32 pm • linkreport

Irony alert. There was an article here yesterday about how atrocious and nearly unusable weekend Metro service is, so having a Metro station near this building doesn't really reduce the need for parking that much.

In the future, letting downtown parking availability dry up could be a great green idea, but first DC needs to deliver a professional transit system, as found in other capitals such as London and Tokyo.

by Chris S. on Sep 10, 2013 7:34 pm • linkreport

Another floor of apartments could be part of the negotiations for another floor of parking.
And just because Shaw has a relatively low ratio of cars to units does not mean that will continue. All the more reason to plan NOW by requiring more parking
I am tired of those without cars trying to force their lifestyle (while certainly noble) on everyone else. I have to have a car.

by John on Sep 10, 2013 7:38 pm • linkreport

But it's in shaw. You can't really be more central to lots of places that ou can get to easily without a metro train.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 7:38 pm • linkreport

Not everyone wants to live without a car

by John on Sep 10, 2013 7:40 pm • linkreport

Cool, no one is preventing them. By the same token, it doesn't really make sense for developer to be mandated to provide parking for two reasons:

A: lots of people in DC do choose to live car free, why should they pay for parking they don't want/need? The more people who move into DC without a car the les parking you need.

B: the city has a goal of reducing car trips. One way to acheive that is to make sure that driving (and parking is a part of driving) isn't subsidized.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 7:44 pm • linkreport

I am tired of those without cars trying to force their lifestyle (while certainly noble) on everyone else. I have to have a car.

It sounds like this is a case of the opposite. The developer wants to build about the minimum that zoning allows, while the ANC is requesting more parking spaces.

It would seem to me that it's the drivers that are forcing the car lifestyle here.

by Alex B. on Sep 10, 2013 7:48 pm • linkreport

drumz- We're subsidizing parking and driving thru RPP for the residents. Is more of that better?

by Tom Coumaris on Sep 10, 2013 7:52 pm • linkreport

I promise you that any added parking spots will be filled. It is fine and laudable to be without a car.
The only people pushing this are the builders and people pushing an agenda, which impacts others.
I understand the city's goal. And again, it is laudable. My family, for one, only has one car. bA two to one or three to two ratio still achieves that goal

by John on Sep 10, 2013 7:53 pm • linkreport

As I've explained, RPP's issues can only be solved through the entity that created it, DC government. Restricting certain residents from participating may stave off some problems but hardly some sort of necessary element. Like I said earlier, reform RPP and the issue of needing to restrict new residents of new buildings from RPP goes away.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 7:56 pm • linkreport

Alex B
Please explain how anyone is forcing a car on anyone. There is no requirement to buy a car.
But what will happen is that the people in that building who want a car but so not have a spot in the building will park on nearby streets.
Yes. That is people without cars imposing their will on others and bystanders get impacted

by John on Sep 10, 2013 7:56 pm • linkreport

John,

And asking for more parking isn't an agenda as well? One that says parking must be subsidized by gov't?

And you may understand the city's goal but that doesn't change the fact that demanding more parking than either the developer or city feels necessary goes against that goal in practice.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 7:59 pm • linkreport

Developers around the city are constructing condo and apartment buildings with higher ratios than this building. This one, getting a city owned lot next to a Metro, can do the same

by John on Sep 10, 2013 8:01 pm • linkreport

and the best way to reform RPP is to cap the number of stickers, whether city wide or by making deals with developers to waive parking requirements in return for car-free new residents.

by Tom Coumaris on Sep 10, 2013 8:02 pm • linkreport

And similarly, if I move in an park my car on the street that really only impacts others who park on the street. The only way to reconcile the issue is to reform te way the city manages its parkig spaces.

Also, seniority seems to be a poor way to demonstrate need for a parkig spot. Just because someone has lived somewhere longer doesn't necessarily "prove" they deserve the spot any more than a newer resident (of either the new building or the house built back in 1880).

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 8:04 pm • linkreport

Tom,

Sounds great. Though in this case the developer decided to build the parking anyway.

John,

But every building and location is different. Just because a developer thinks its prudent to build more than what's required doesn't mean that the next site/developer will come to the same conclusion.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 8:07 pm • linkreport

Please explain how anyone is forcing a car on anyone.

The developer wants to build X parking spaces, and the ANC wants something more than X. It's quite simple.

There's no requirement to buy a car. So why is there are requirement to build a parking space?

by Alex B. on Sep 10, 2013 8:09 pm • linkreport

There is no issue of seniority.
That is the whole point. Make sure there are more spots in the new building, which lessens the impact for all

by John on Sep 10, 2013 8:12 pm • linkreport

Requiring a realistic ratio makes sure we do not rely on the good graces of builders

by John on Sep 10, 2013 8:14 pm • linkreport

I've been saying this for years...

If reducing cars is the goal, then we need to model our RPP system after Arlingtons.

It is easy for a developer in DC to talk out both sides of his mouth. Adopting Arlington's program forces him to p ut his money where his mouth is.

As it stands, Developers simply dump their customers cars on public streets, rather than addressing them, and despite what the urbanist crowd wants to believe (that the new young urbanists coming to DC are of the car free / lite midset) it simply isn't true. They are bringing their cars to DC in greater percentages than the population thats already here.

End result, dc gridlock and Developers who laugh their way to the bank for getting out of having to build appropriate parking.

by Arlington on Sep 10, 2013 8:14 pm • linkreport

drumz- The developer had to build that space as a foundation for the building anyway. Without a requirement for the old rule there's no leverage for DC to bargain for no RPP. With parking rates at $250/month in the new buildings, most new residents will chose virtually free RPP (although they'll probably fork over the $250 after they learn what a joke RPP is).

by Tom Coumaris on Sep 10, 2013 8:15 pm • linkreport

Requiring the developer to include a realistic ratio is no different from the requirement of developer in the suburbs to include sidewalks or other amenities

by John on Sep 10, 2013 8:16 pm • linkreport

Responses to different people,

Tom,
Ok but that doesn't change anything about this project. Other projects maybe but at the moment its a non-existent issue.

Arlington,
it is easy for a developer in DC to talk out both sides of his mouth. Adopting Arlington's program forces him to put his money where his mouth is.
The only reason for this apparent duplicity is the fact that DC has barely done anything with RPP. They're the city's spots and the can do what they want with them. Developers are just responding to the conditions the city created. There are ways for the city to address it that do much more than just demanding more and more spots from developers (which hasn't really made it easier to park on the street).

John,
Requiring the developer to include a realistic ratio is no different from the requirement of developer in the suburbs to include sidewalks or other amenities

Yes it is, one subsidizes walking and the other subsidizes driving. I (and the city) want to see more people walking. I (and the city) want to see less people driving. It's intellectually consistent to support subsidies for walking and not for driving.

Requiring a realistic ratio makes sure we do not rely on the good graces of builders
See, I don't see it as good graces. I see a minimum ratio as a blunt tool for something that requires a lot of finesse. Right now we are assuming that government knows the amount of spaces we need. Since parking is a big hassle for many I'd hazard that their current solutions have not worked.

There is no issue of seniority.
That is the whole point. Make sure there are more spots in the new building, which lessens the impact for all

It lessens the impact for those already parking on the street. It can have an adverse impact on others though. Namely people who could move into the building but can't because more parking was built instead. That's an adverse impact.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 8:29 pm • linkreport

Tom,

Unless you want to argue that the rule should be no RPP for any building that provides parking at any ratio <1.00 but that would just add more parking spaces without any of the benefits that you want to negotiate for.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 8:31 pm • linkreport

Drums - we now see that it all is about people without cars trying to stop others from having cars
But it won't. The people in those units simply will park on neighboring streets.
And where will the people who used to be able to park now park their cars?
We for example are planning to rip out our backyard.
So you see, you won't succeed.

by John on Sep 10, 2013 8:40 pm • linkreport

Sidewalks are a multi-modal transportation system, where missing one link makes the entire segment useless. Parking spots are storage for one mode of transportation. One has general benefits, the other benefits only the person with the right to use it.

by Crickey7 on Sep 10, 2013 8:45 pm • linkreport

Not true
More spots keeps more cars off the streets, which benefits the neighborhood

by John on Sep 10, 2013 8:46 pm • linkreport

More spots is forced consumption of parking that lowers the incremental cost of owning a car, so it results in more cars and more car traffic. That hurts the neighborhood.

by Crickey7 on Sep 10, 2013 8:52 pm • linkreport

No.
More cars than than spaces hurts neighborhoods
I live in Shaw. But I avoid going to Dupont Circle or Georgetown because of the lack of parking. I am sure I am not alone.
The good news is that there are plenty who are willing to make that battle. But it is not good for the neighborhood. And if you asked merchants in those neighborhoods they would tell you that more parking spaces would be good for them

by John on Sep 10, 2013 8:56 pm • linkreport

"In the future, letting downtown parking availability dry up could be a great green idea, but first DC needs to deliver a professional transit system, as found in other capitals such as London and Tokyo." True dat! I don't think it's fesable to have a special penalty on residents of new buildings vs. existing ones when a renter/owner isn't responsible for these decisions. If you move from an older building with parking stickers to a new one without, why should you loose the right to park in your neighborhood. The severity of the situation ought to prompt the city to speed up the street car system.

by Thayer-D on Sep 10, 2013 8:58 pm • linkreport

Indoor parking at $250 a pop doesn't really increase car ownership a lot. Giving residents of those buildings RPP parking does.

Withholding RPP rights in return for no parking requirements is the only way to assure less car ownership and use.

by Tom Coumaris on Sep 10, 2013 9:05 pm • linkreport

People in those buildings will park on the streets. There might be someone moratorium on the number of parking stickers at first
But with time there will be some relaxation. And others will figure out a way around it
They will gum up the neighborhood with their cars

by John on Sep 10, 2013 9:13 pm • linkreport

$250 a month. Which if they were not forced to buy, they might choose to spend differently. But because they have been forced to spend it on car storage, the incremental cost of owning a car dropped by, let's see. $250 a month.

That is more than enough to distort demand and result in more cars in general.

by Crickey7 on Sep 10, 2013 9:16 pm • linkreport

Cricket - there is no one requiring anyone to buy parking spots
Those are like gold. I wish I owned a lot in Dupont Circle so that I could rent it for a lot of money

by John on Sep 10, 2013 9:18 pm • linkreport

Zoning to require a set parking ratio isn't forcing people to buy a parking spot?

How can you possibly say that? YOu might say it's forcing them to buy what they would have otherwise bought anyway, but (a) if that's the case, why force them, (b) that's an assumption, and (c) it's still forcing them even if they would have.

by Crickey7 on Sep 10, 2013 9:21 pm • linkreport

John,

I don't care what you do about your backyard. Moreover, I and pretty much nobody else is arguing for banning of cars. Thats a strawman argument.

Capping the number of RPPs may be one way to fix the problem but its the governments problem to fix. The bet you can hope for from developers is that they can keep things at status quo. But everyone who parks in a garage will end up parking onthe street sometime for various reasons. Developers can't make more spots on the street available.

Meanwhile plenty of people find ways to get to DuPont despite its parking problems. And of course businesses would like parking to be easier but that doesn't mean that the city should be in the business of providing more and more parking. Parking has benefits but it also has costs. You're arguing that the city and developers should ignore those costs on favor of yor ability to park on the street easy. Fair position but its northern only one.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 9:23 pm • linkreport

Zoning that requires a certain ratio requires no one to purchase a car.
No one is forcing me to buy a car. But I WANT a car. Actually we need a car
Making options possible does not force anyone to make take one of the options

by John on Sep 10, 2013 9:29 pm • linkreport

No I'm not
I am saying that developers should include a fairly high ratio of parking spots to units. I argue this to accommodate the needs of those people because limiting the parking spots will impact the neighboring streets

by John on Sep 10, 2013 9:32 pm • linkreport

I did not say it was forcing people to buy a car. It is forcing them to buy something that makes owning a car less expensive relative to other modes, because you've already forced people to incur part of that total cost. And now they have less money to use other modes, so it encourages more cars relative to use of other modes. Which we have decided as a matter of public policy, we don't want to do.

by Crickey7 on Sep 10, 2013 9:34 pm • linkreport

But they will have cars anyway
And they will need to park them- somewhere
This hurts the neighborhood and the neighbors

by John on Sep 10, 2013 9:36 pm • linkreport

But mandating a higher ratio has costs of its own. Those costs are not insignificant.

Meanwhile you're askin developers to solve a problem that's is entirely the creation of government. And it's really only government that can solve by managing its street parking better NOT by mandating more spaces which will put more cars on city streets.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 9:40 pm • linkreport

And the data shows that people aren't bringing cars. Some are, some aren't. The ratio of car free households has remained steady and even grown a little. Garages around the city are remaining empty and there are lots of people selling/renting unused RPPs.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 9:46 pm • linkreport

Not in the densely populated parts of the city

by John on Sep 10, 2013 9:47 pm • linkreport

Almost wveryone I know needs or wants a car, either because they work in the suburbs or because they need a car to visit friends or stores in the suburbs
I am a good liberal but I do not agree with limiting options for others

by John on Sep 10, 2013 9:51 pm • linkreport

The only way to curb car ownership is swapping higher parking requirements for no-RPP. We surrendered that option to put more money into developers' profits. And a lot of those increased profits are expected to show up as money orders in next year's election and hiring of friends and relatives.

We gave up our greatest tool to get fewer cars for nothing less than corruption. And we put a smart growth mask on it.

by Tom Coumaris on Sep 10, 2013 9:56 pm • linkreport

Parking has costs. Underground parking is especially expensive due to the high cost of excavating and constructing a human habitable space that has elevators, lights, stairs, constant ventilation of fumes, and constant pumping out of water. The monthly maintainance cost and the monthly loan payment for the garage are far higher than $35/year. These spaces are simply rented at a loss because the government requires them.

Why should the building have to rent these spots at a loss (subsidizing car ownership)? The only reason people are complaining is because they're doing something (parking on the street for virtually nothing) which is ok for them to do but not ok for other people to do.

by RBton on Sep 10, 2013 10:02 pm • linkreport

"Withholding RPP rights in return for no parking requirements is the only way to assure less car ownership and use."

thats one strategy. I do not think it is the only one.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 10, 2013 10:05 pm • linkreport

Drumz,

If DDOT is telling the truth and 5000 new cars are being added to district roads every year, when the gross population is growing by 12000 per year, then you are wrong. There aren't more car free households, there are fewer.

by SE-DC on Sep 10, 2013 10:07 pm • linkreport

And roads have costs and street sweeping costs and police costs
We live in a car-driven society
And people need those cars to travel,to their jobs and friends and family and stores and restaurants
It is Pollyanna to say otherwise
If you live a life where you do not need a car, then bully for you
But that is not realistic for most people

by John on Sep 10, 2013 10:07 pm • linkreport

Parking is already a nightmare in parts of Shaw, there's no dialing it back. Parcel 42 residents are going to have plenty of visitors who will undoubtedly park on local streets; the development's lot could never accommodate all of them. Those residents will presumably have visitor parking permits, like local home owners, for guests to legitimately park over night in the area.

Is the ANC fighting giving those big apartment residents VPPs?

No one's complaining that the Dacha Biergarten, Mandaly or other restaurants and bars have no parking; their motorist patrons are already parking on local streets, denying residents of their usual convenient spaces. Residents who live adjacent to the Convention Ctr have been pulling their hair out for about a decade. That congestion is now creeping up 7th St.

Warren Williams had a plan years ago, to redevelop the east side of the 1500 block of 7th St (much like the Jefferson at Market Place on the west side). That would have provided a lot more off-street car parking for the current and future establishments. That plan didn't get a lot of community support.

Take a deep breath, brace yourselves, keep your hair.

by Martin on Sep 10, 2013 10:07 pm • linkreport

The densely populated parts of the city are precisely where people are giving up cars (because you don't need a car to get to stuff) and where people get creative when they do need to park. Otherwise the suburbs would be awash in people living car free.

Also, I don't know if part of being a good liberal means supporting removal of parking minimums. But removing the minimums creates more choices rather than fewer. More people who don't want/need parking don't have to live in buildings that provide it (or provides more than what's needed). Meanwhile if you need a space, good news there are lots of buildings that provide it and indeed more parking will be built with new development in DC. There is no suggestion on a parking maximum in DC. In 20 years there will be a net increase in parking spots in new development.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 10:11 pm • linkreport

Tom,

I think the greatest tool that DC has to relate car free residents is walkable neighborhoods and support of alternative transportation. That's what they do in Arlington as well.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 10:13 pm • linkreport

Having a high ratio does not preclude walkable neighborhoods
I live in Shaw and look forward to having a neighborhood with more amenities. And I will walk to them
BUT I also need a car when I need to visit my friends or family who live in the suburbs or Annapolis or farther

by John on Sep 10, 2013 10:19 pm • linkreport

People who enjoy the privilege of storing their private property on public land for a subsidy ($35/year is way below the market value of a street space in Shaw) feel entitled to continue receiving that subsidy but want to deny it to others?

Where in the constitution is the right to cheap public land to store your own personal property? If you don't like hunting for a publicly owned parking space, you should rent or buy a private space.

by RBton on Sep 10, 2013 10:19 pm • linkreport

John,

You're still relying on straw men. Many people rely on cars. Many dont, especially in DC. If you think it's in the city's best interest to promote car free lifestyles while also saying that buildings should have more parking than what's required already so that parking remains easy then your goals are at odds or your merely paying lip service to one.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 10:19 pm • linkreport

Um. Not sure what the Constitution has to do with anything here
I am talking about zoning requirements for developers

by John on Sep 10, 2013 10:21 pm • linkreport

Se DC,

I can't find the story that showed growth so instead I'll backtrack and say that the ratio is holding steady.

There may be more cars registered in DC but that alone isn't evidence that parking minimum must be raised to make parking easier.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 10:23 pm • linkreport

John,

Ok, what should developers do about spaces on the street that they don't own?

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 10:24 pm • linkreport

Not true
The zoning should require developers to be at least 2 to 1
Removing people's flexibility is not the way to do improve the livability of neighborhoods
And I do not promote car free living because that is not attainable for most people

by John on Sep 10, 2013 10:25 pm • linkreport

I am not asking for developers to do anything about street parking
I am only talking about having a high ratio of parking per unit so that there is less pressure on the neighborhood

by John on Sep 10, 2013 10:28 pm • linkreport

2 spaces for every apartment?

That's incredibly unrealistic and incredibly wasteful. That would reduce many options for thousands because instead of shops or housing you must have space for cars. This holds true if its one space for every 2 people as well.

An the reason car free living is unattainable for most people is because we keep coming up with policies that subsidize car ownership.

What's most flexible is to let people make their own choices rather than trying to mandate them through zoning.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 10:30 pm • linkreport

And it holds true if its 1 space per 2 people as well.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 10:32 pm • linkreport

I am not saying one parking space for every DC denizen
I am talking about a two for one ratio for new buildings
That will still end up with far fewer parking spaces than people. But it will at least mean that when you plunk a brand new condo building into a neighborhood you also are not spilling tons of new cars onto the surrounding streets

by John on Sep 10, 2013 10:35 pm • linkreport

John,

The developers can build a 500 spaces and they will never fill because the parking space rent would have to be astronomical to break even on the construction cost. As a result, most residents will choose a $35/yr RPP sticker. The actual unsubsidized costs of underground parking cannot compete with government land given away for $35/yr.

An unsubsidized underground garage, even with 210 spots (2 per apt), will never fill because many residents will find it way cheaper to park on the street.

by RBton on Sep 10, 2013 10:42 pm • linkreport

That's what I meant as well. For DC that is incredibly unrealistic. Far to expensive and onerous especially in a city with such a short height limit.

Meanwhile it won't solve the problem. People who have cars even parked in garages will use them so the new condo in plenty of parking in Petworth will affect you in shaw when they ride down to visit something there.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 10:43 pm • linkreport

One thing that i don't understand at all is that non-residents can get RPP stickers I understand that DC has certain reciprocity arrangements for students, Hill staff, etc., with the theory being that they are here temporarily and so should not be subject to the burden of registering their vehicles in Washington. Fine, provided that they have a private parking spot. But given that the existing supply of RPP eligible vehicles already exceeds supply of street parking in many areas, I do believe that registration and payment of fees should be a requirement to park on the street. Specifically, a motorist -- whether here "temporarily" or not, should not be able pay lower out of state insurance rates and fees yet take advantage of RPP street parking. If you want the sticker, then register your car here and pay related fees. Or leave your vehicles back home. That would encourage more "car free" living.

by Alf on Sep 10, 2013 10:43 pm • linkreport

There will be plenty of people who will pay top dollar for those spots.

by John on Sep 10, 2013 10:49 pm • linkreport

It is a given that more units in Petworth will mean more parking in my neighborhood as they come to the fun restaurants in my neighborhood
But we should make new buildings have more parking spots so that the Impact is minimized

by John on Sep 10, 2013 10:52 pm • linkreport

John, have you bought or rented an off-street space? Or is this something you only want to require for other people?

by RBton on Sep 10, 2013 10:58 pm • linkreport

That's not what I said. Mandating parking in other neighborhoods affects yours too. It's eminently reasonable that someone with a parking space in one neighborhood will drive to anther one and likely park on the street. This denying a resident of that neighborhood a parkig spot. Indeed that's what you do when you choose to drive to DuPont from Shaw. Unless you park in a garage everytime but I'd imagine that gets pretty expensive.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 11:05 pm • linkreport

I not seeking to require anyone to purchase off street space
I am seeking to require developers to have at least a 2 to 1 ratio in new construction.

by John on Sep 10, 2013 11:06 pm • linkreport

They will have a car anyway
And they will drive to my neighborhood anyway
But if they need a car for whatever reason, they have a place in their building to parks high minimizes the impact on their neighborhood

by John on Sep 10, 2013 11:09 pm • linkreport

There's no parking garage fairy. The extraordinary cost of the garage will be absorbed into the apartment rent residents will pay. No space will break even. The losses will have to be cross subsidized by apartment rents. You are forcing residents to pay for it whether they use it or not.

Likewise if we required restaurants to serve dessert with every meal even if the patron didnt want dessert, the main course will cost more to absorb the cost of the dessert.

Parking is subsidized by everything else, even people who don't use it.

by RBton on Sep 10, 2013 11:13 pm • linkreport

And those people with cars who move to a building without parking will now park those cars on neighboring streets. This is this a burden on the neighbors

by John on Sep 10, 2013 11:17 pm • linkreport

That still has an effect on your neighborhood. Unless you expect residents who live in existing buildings without parking to be buying up spots in new garages that developers are so eager to buil that it takes a law to force them to build it.

Do you see how complicated this is getting? Seems easier to just let developers figure out how much parking is needed per project. They're pretty good at it because thy need to be otherwise their business fails. This also has the benefit of making sure that DC doesn't have more parkig than it needs which helps the city acheive it's goals in sustainable transportation.

If there is a problem with street parking it should city governments problem to solve since they are the only ones who can do anythig about it. They should try something new since 35$ and a parking minimum doesn't cut it.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 11:21 pm • linkreport

A burden? Because they might lose privileged access to a subsidized $35/year space on public land?

And who's the burden on who? Aren't the people currently parking on the street being a burden to each other right now?

The people complaining are upset they might have to share their privilege (subsidized underpriced $35/yr use of public land) with others. How is this not driven by selfish entitlement?

by RBton on Sep 10, 2013 11:25 pm • linkreport

Selfish entitlement? Really?
I am talking about keeping the city livable even for people who need cars
If you do not want a car, don't buy one
But don't try to keep others from owning them just because you don't like them

by John on Sep 10, 2013 11:28 pm • linkreport

I would not trust a developer to make that decision
That is why zoning is necessary

by John on Sep 10, 2013 11:30 pm • linkreport

Wanting to exclude other's from your subsidized use of public land does sound entitled and a little selfish. Why should other neighbors be excluded from using public land the same exact way you do?

Anyway, you must be happy because zoning requires 38 spaces. That's not the developer's choice. It's what the zoning law requires.

by RBton on Sep 10, 2013 11:39 pm • linkreport

John,

But as I said. They lose money if they don't build the right anout of parking. It's either space wasted or thy can't sell/lease their units.

And please point out any proposal that would ban cars in all of this. The closest you come is Tom C's proposal to prohibit people from getting RPP, maybe.

by drumz on Sep 10, 2013 11:44 pm • linkreport

drumz- I don't think being a good liberal is saying that business should be able to what they want with their property. Or that increasing their wealth will somehow trickle down to renters. That's strictly a libertarian or tea party position.

by Tom Coumaris on Sep 10, 2013 11:54 pm • linkreport

I didn't say that either. Moreover, while this is a case where I think the market works best I think that because of the results not the aim. I want a result where we strive to not subsidize parking in DC, removing minimums is part of that.

by drumz on Sep 11, 2013 12:00 am • linkreport

and neither do I think that the right to parking is a civil rights issue as people who contend we can't discriminate against new residents say. It's called planning. We discriminate against new residents all the time thru zoning for new buildings and by requiring more code requirements than those grandfathered in.

by Tom Coumaris on Sep 11, 2013 12:02 am • linkreport

Me neither, I just don't think banning RPP for new residents is the most crucial thing DC can and must do. So when it doesn't happen for a new building I dot worry about it that much.

by drumz on Sep 11, 2013 12:06 am • linkreport

drumz- The "market" doesn't work when DC assumes the burden of parking for new developments. To internalize the cost of parking, at least in the future, it should be between the developer and tenants to apportion the costs of parking between themselves. Either lower rents to compensate for no possible parking, or have the tenants pay whatever garage rent the owner demands to cover the costs.

by Tom Coumaris on Sep 11, 2013 12:10 am • linkreport

Ending parkig minimums is one part. Obviously for the market to work the district will have to better manage the parking spaces it owns as well. That's why I'd support steps to auction RPP or other ideas.

by drumz on Sep 11, 2013 12:17 am • linkreport

Removing parking minimums while allowing RPP parking is nothing but externalizing the parking costs of a new development onto the taxpayers.

by Tom Coumaris on Sep 11, 2013 12:42 am • linkreport

Removing parking minimums while allowing RPP parking is nothing but externalizing the parking costs of a new development onto the taxpayers.

Well, onto the car owners, no? How does it affect my walk to the metro if people can't find a place to store their unwanted stuff on the public carriageway?

Just reverse auction parking permits and be done with it.

by Steve S. on Sep 11, 2013 1:11 am • linkreport

Tom,

But that's the fault of the district not having a well focused and comprehensive parking plan. Not greedy developers seeking to screw over tax payers. In any case it's the reside t themselves externalizing, not the builder.

by drumz on Sep 11, 2013 2:19 am • linkreport

And you will kill the city
Most people need their cars
It is Pollyanna to believe the city can succeed without sufficient parking
All filies with kids need cars
Most people with jobs need cars.

by John on Sep 11, 2013 6:40 am • linkreport

Planning is excellent
Including sufficient parking is part of the planning

by John on Sep 11, 2013 6:45 am • linkreport

No one but you is talking about excluding anyone
In fact I am about inclusion
I want to include more parking for the people in the building
It is the anti-car crusades who want to exclude that ability
And of course the point is that it won't
They will have cars anyway- they will just park them on the neighboring streets

by John on Sep 11, 2013 6:49 am • linkreport

I am not for banning anyone from doing anything
But it seems that many think that minimizing car parking in these buildings will keep people from owning them
It won't
This developer is getting to build for less than 2 spots per unit. For such a prime piece of city-owned property it should be required to meet at least that threshold

by John on Sep 11, 2013 6:55 am • linkreport

People in new buildings will have cars
You can't stop that
All you will be doing is moving those cars onto the streets and into alleys and into new spots on former backyards, lessening the green space

by John on Sep 11, 2013 6:57 am • linkreport

How are the tenants goin to negotiate during the construction!
And zoning sets minimum requirements all the time
There are building codes, height restrictions, etc
The point is to require new developments to have a ratio of cars Ro units that helps ensure a successful city
Why is it that people want to force their view on others?
I want lots more people in the city. And I want for the city to be able to accommodate all the cars those people will bring - because they will bring them. You can't restrict their rights successfully

by John on Sep 11, 2013 7:03 am • linkreport

And you will kill the city
Most people need their cars
It is Pollyanna to believe the city can succeed without sufficient parking
All filies with kids need cars
Most people with jobs need cars.

This fantasy land you describe and apparently live in is at odds with the reality of how DC functions as a city.

The point is to require new developments to have a ratio of cars Ro units that helps ensure a successful city
And we already do, because the CURRENT requirements for parking ratios reflect the actual existing ratio of units to cars in those areas. They do not reflect your fantasy land where "everyone" owns a car.

They will gum up the neighborhood with their cars
It is absolutely fascinating to me that all those extra cars on the street would "gum up" the neighborhood, but fill up a 2-to-1 (spaces to apartments I assume) parking ratio with cars and all that extra traffic generated won't gum up anything, apparently!

by MLD on Sep 11, 2013 8:21 am • linkreport

This is ridiculous. If you want a guaranteed parking space, pay the market rate on private property. If not, pay the subsidized DC rate and lose your time instead of money.

If you want to lessen traffic in neighborhoods, support transit oriented development and market-based parking reforms. It is pure fantasy to think overbuilding parking facilities supports a robust, lively, and growing city. Housing in walkable neighborhoods is in demand, car dependent suburbs and cities are in decline.

This is all fact. No amount of cognitive dissonance will change that.

by cmc on Sep 11, 2013 8:36 am • linkreport

MLD +1. Many people who move downtown actually do so to not have to drive. It's a city for people, not cars. If that's hard to imagine, look at any successfull dense city and look at the car ownership ratio. If you want a private parking space, pay for it, if not, try your luck with everyone else for on-street parking. In the mean time, build those trolleys becasue the future is here.

by Thayer-D on Sep 11, 2013 8:49 am • linkreport

Both sides in this debate have valid points, and the protagonists are doing a remarkable job of overlooking the valid concerns of the other side (especially John).

Some people simply don't want to see shortages of parking spaces. If DDOT keeps the price of parking artificially low, then the best (perhaps only) way to avoid shortages is to get someone else to artificially increase the supply.

Others simply don't want to see residential construction subject to the cost of cross-subsidizing parking. So letting new residents park on the street is the obvious solution, though it may create shortages.

Neither side of this debate (except maybe John) seems to actually oppose putting a price on parking, and then letting the market work. They just disagree on who the loser should be from the government's unwillingness to create a functioning market: the existing residents with cars or the new residents without cars.

By the way, there seems to be no clear suburban equivalent to this problem. If we know for sure that alot of residents will in fact park on the street without some expansion of available spaces, then this is somewhat analogous to the requirement to provide adequate facilities, in which case the amount of required spaces should be equal to the best estimate of the amount of spaces needed by the new residents (which would be zero if the building is ineligible for RPP).

One assumes that eventually there will be a functioning market for on-street parking, so the question is hopefully about the best interim step. An obvious temporary solution is to make new construction ineligible for the existing below-market RPP's regardless of how many spaces a new building contains. Whatever the merits may be of artificially low RPP's for existing residents, there is no valid reason to expand that practice. The cross-subsidy caused by the mandatory parking minimum regulations will be small, once residents with cars must choose between market-based on-street parking and parking in their own building.

by JimT on Sep 11, 2013 9:12 am • linkreport

I can't trust retailers to reserve enough shelf space for toilet paper when other items are more profitable for retailers for the amount of space it consumes. Toilet paper is an essential good. Therefore, we have to have a law that mandates retailers must allocate a certain amount of their shelf space to toilet paper.

Or we could let the market deal with it, in the absence of any proof that the market does not work when it comes to toilet paper. Retailers who fail to carry goods that consumers want quickly find that consumers choose to go to other retailers.

by Crickey7 on Sep 11, 2013 9:21 am • linkreport

@OtherMike
There is always, I mean ALWAYS at least two-thirds of the cmmercial garage at the Tenleytown Best Buy available. It would be really easy for the property owner to make those spaces available for rent. Even on Saturdays at peak shopping periods, that underground lot is EMPTY.

Yes, the property owners on the residential side finally bought up the rest of the above-ground spaces, but even that took years to sell out.

by William on Sep 11, 2013 9:27 am • linkreport

Some people simply don't want to see shortages of parking spaces.

And, the counter to this is: it's not that simple.

Requiring off street parking has been demonstrated to raise housing costs, reduce housing supply, limit the kinds of viable market-rate developments (only luxury units pencil out), induce cra traffic and traffic congestion, and a whole host of other outcomes that run contrary to a city's plan.

It's a simple matter of geometry. Cars are big. They take up a lot of space. In a city where land is fixed, growth means adding density. Adding density requires making better use of space. Making better use of space means relying on something other than cars to do the bulk of your transportation. QED.

Now, I don't want to see a shortage of parking spaces either, but I would suggest that the way to get to that point of equilibrium is to embrace the market rather than try to mandate it via zoning codes.

Parking will be a scarce resource in the city, full stop. We then need some mechanism to allocate that scarce resource. Price is the mechanism that offers the best possible outcomes.

by Alex B. on Sep 11, 2013 9:29 am • linkreport

Also add Loree Grand
http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/additional_41-unit_residential_building_to_be_included_in_major_noma_comple/7163

"however the developer noted that the parking lot associated with the Loree Grand is not even 50 percent leased"

and DC USA and other examples.

by h st ll on Sep 11, 2013 9:31 am • linkreport

"Neither side of this debate (except maybe John) seems to actually oppose putting a price on parking, and then letting the market work. They just disagree on who the loser should be from the government's unwillingness to create a functioning market: the existing residents with cars or the new residents without cars."

Maybe thats the stretch of the debate here, but I think the reality is that there are many people who would oppose market pricing of RPPs and that the vast majority (if not all) of them are existing residents with cars. It may be that aggravating the shortage is the only way to convince them that the lack of market rate pricing is a problem.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 11, 2013 9:41 am • linkreport

The Arlington RPP model isn't designed about market rates for allocating parking. It is designed to make sure multiunit buildings only go in near metro stations where you can dig deep for underground parking.

The problem with DC is we're talking the rowhouse city and converting that into small condo units. That is what is causing the scarcity, and where we should be forcing parking minimums.

This building, as I said before, is mostly about retail parking.

by charlie on Sep 11, 2013 9:46 am • linkreport

John writes:

There is no issue of seniority.

But he also writes:

But it won't. The people in those units simply will park on neighboring streets. And where will the people who used to be able to park now park their cars?

And there you have it. Beyond the platitudes about "green space," "inclusion," and "keeping the city liveable," and the straw man of "those bad anti-car urbanists are trying to force their anti-car views on me!" - John's argument boils down to:

"I have enjoyed relatively easy access to street parking all the years I have lived in this neighborhood, at the low-low price of a RPP sticker. This building, although it will add a great deal to my neighborhood, may make it slightly more difficult for me to find public space to park on - after all - OTHERS might also want to park on that public space. That's completely ridiculious - I was here first, so my easy, cheap, subsidized parking needs to be preserved."

But it's not about seniority. Got it.

by dcd on Sep 11, 2013 9:50 am • linkreport

Well there's a simple solution here if the builder doesn't want to be bothering with parking requirements. They can simply build low density housing, without any retail space.

The issue really here is that you have a greedy ass developer that wants to squeeze every penny out of a project, and doesn't care about he or she is impacting existing neighboring residents.

I don't live in this neighborhood, but you can spare me the crap about how you are subsidizing my car. If anything, I'm subsidizing all you Metro and bus takers.

I HAVE to drive to my job, and if you want to make it really inconvenient for me to get home and get to work, I won't have a choice but to move and take my tax money elsewhere.

by adriana on Sep 11, 2013 9:53 am • linkreport

@adriana,
If the market prices your parking spot at $1200/year and you are only paying $35/year, your parking is effectively being subsidized by the government, which is funded by the tax payers.

by cmc on Sep 11, 2013 10:02 am • linkreport

" They can simply build low density housing, without any retail space. "

which is bad for the city, and bad for the region, and bad for the planet.

"I don't live in this neighborhood, but you can spare me the crap about how you are subsidizing my car. If anything, I'm subsidizing all you Metro and bus takers."

If there were no metro, you'd have a hard time driving around this region.

"I HAVE to drive to my job, and if you want to make it really inconvenient for me to get home and get to work, I won't have a choice but to move and take my tax money elsewhere."

And (assuming you live in a close in part of DC comparable to 7th Street NW) you would quickly be replaced, probably be someone from the suburbs who works IN the central part of DC and values the convenience of transit, walking and biking.

It seems logical that folks who work in autocentric suburbs should live there. Does it really make sense for DC to pass on higher (this isnt really high) density development to accommodate reverse commuters?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 11, 2013 10:21 am • linkreport

If the market prices your parking spot at $1200/year and you are only paying $35/year, your parking is effectively being subsidized by the government, which is funded by the tax payers.

This needs to be said a thousand times.

In any building that builds parking, residents of the building almost always have to pay something for it (rentals charge per-month, condos often you end up buying a parking space). It often works out to around $100 a month or more. Never mind the fact that that $100 per month doesn't actually cover the construction cost of the space if it is underground.

An RPP sticker, by comparison, costs $3 a month. THREE DOLLARS per month. How on earth can you not look at that price difference ($100 vs $3) and decide that there is no subsidy or market distortion happening? Granted, RPP is not a RIGHT to parking space (though some may think so) nor is it as secure, but a 97% discount? Really?

by MLD on Sep 11, 2013 10:23 am • linkreport

@ John
All families with kids need cars - false
Most people with jobs need cars - even more false
I know many people who do just fine without and/or rent simply them when needed.

Many people who choose not to have or to give up their cars downtown do so because it's not worth the cost and hassle (parking fees away from their homes, parking tickets, traffic congestion, insurance, car payments, car break-ins, repairs) others of us actually care about the natural environment that fossil fuel vehicles destroy.

@ adriana
The developer is providing at least a modicum of lower income units (21/105). A greedy developer, like some who did not make it to the final round of cuts, would have devised a scheme with fewer to no low income units (buying the silence and support of a few local officials in the process). http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/six_proposals_for_shaws_parcel_42_revealed/

by Martin on Sep 11, 2013 10:50 am • linkreport

If the market prices your parking spot at $1200/year and you are only paying $35/year, your parking is effectively being subsidized by the government, which is funded by the tax payers.

The market for parking in a secure garage or other private parking lot is very different from the "market" (if there really is such a thing) for on-street parking. Trying to compare the two doesn't really make sense.

There's really nothing wrong with the RPP system. It seems to work for the large majority of DC residents and is one of the benefits that those residents get in return for their taxes. Arguing that RPP's should be charged at market rate is like arguing that DC public schools should charge tuition.

by Potowmack on Sep 11, 2013 11:24 am • linkreport

I'll gladly pay more than $35/year for an RPP sticker.

However -
The market rate for street parking is not $100/month in my neighborhood. It's the market rate for a guranteed spot in a lot or a garage. For that price, I'd gladly pay it. The problem is that no-one is building garages or lots because the city is incentivizing developers to screw over existing residents.

"And (assuming you live in a close in part of DC comparable to 7th Street NW) you would quickly be replaced, probably be someone from the suburbs who works IN the central part of DC and values the convenience of transit, walking and biking."

And I'm cool with being replaced or not being wanted. If all this city wants is rich lobbyists / lawyers / politicians or service workers (you know, the people who can get to their jobs with public transportation) and lazy ass people or criminals that don't work... well this is not the city for me.

I do own my place. I'll gladly rent it out to some sucker for 2x my mortgage.

by adriana on Sep 11, 2013 11:41 am • linkreport

Well there's a simple solution here if the builder doesn't want to be bothering with parking requirements. They can simply build low density housing, without any retail space.

All together now, the developer IS COMPLYING with parking requirements. And people are still bitching.

by dcd on Sep 11, 2013 11:42 am • linkreport

Well I don't really care if RPP changes or not. I just think that if there is a problem with RPP then the solution should be to change RPP not require more parking in buildings.

Also people often complain that they "need" that off street space. Fair enough, seems better that money is a better way of demonstrating whose needs are greatest, better than just paying 35$ and hoping for the best at least.

by drumz on Sep 11, 2013 11:43 am • linkreport

"There's really nothing wrong with the RPP system"

I began by suggesting there is no problem here. Theres a new building to be built, that will provide housing for people, tax revenues for the district, etc.

The ANC is objecting to the number of parking spots. They seem to be the ones with the problem. If theres nothing wrong with the current system, why is this new building as proposed a problem? The ANC seems to think theres a shortage of on street spaces and that IS a problem.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 11, 2013 11:45 am • linkreport

"If all this city wants is rich lobbyists / lawyers / politicians or service workers (you know, the people who can get to their jobs with public transportation) and lazy ass people or criminals that don't work... well this is not the city for me."

There are people with a range of incomes, and a range of jobs, who use public transportation - and who walk or bike to work (I doubt there are many rich lobbyists or lawyers or pols who do though).

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 11, 2013 11:48 am • linkreport

Where are people getting that street parking in shaw costs 1200 per year?

The folks supporting Monty Hoffmans million dollar project bonus invariably turn to disingenuous “data” to try to prove a point. The most frequent is equivocating the cost of a parking spot in some dense commercial district like K street, with residential on street parking in non commercial districts.

Two.different.things.

And the higher than thou non-car folks really need to lighten up on the “It costs me a fortune to subsidize drivers” BS, as it simply isn’t true. Those of you who snidely stare down your noses at anyone who dares own an automobile really have to grow the heck up and realize that the public transit they feel is morally superior is subsidized far more than the road system in the District.

The District taxpayers portion of Metro’s yearly contribution to Operating expense is 250 million dollars this year, and it only pays for 15% of the operating cost of the system. If one really wanted to "get realz" about it, the 3 billion dollars used to pay for 50% of the Silverline, that come directly from drivers on one road should exempt area drivers from the juevenile levels of ego driven snark they are constantly berated with forever, but I won't hold my breath.

Your circulators and metro buses? Also highly subsidized, far more so than cars in the District.

The District pulls in 40 million a year in parking revenue from the 17,000 street meters. That revenue alone is twice what DC spends paving/maintaing roads. Then we have parking ticket revenue, which should be funneled back to DDOT (even though it isn't) but is revenue from parking spaces as well. That revenue was 92 million last year, or 370K per working day (Monday-Friday).

The District spent 20 million dollars on the road network in FY 12 and collected 132 million in user fees from it (excluding the RPP revenue) so lets give the “I subsidize your driving canard” a rest shall we and quit pretending that your preferred form of transportation isn’t the most heavily subsidized on the planet.

Technically, one could make the argument that the ~85 million in speed camera revenue is also revenue that should be credited as a user fee produced by this road network that only gets 20 million a year in investment.

I should be shocked, but living in DC has taught me that the city and for the most part its residents really do aim for the lowest common denominator.

We don’t have to reinvent the wheel here. Dealing with parking via zoning has been successfully dealt with for decades by our next door neighbors in MD and VA. Arlington seems to have perfected it, yet instead of simply copying that overwhelming success, folks spend all their time swinging at windmills. Fascinating.

by Parking on Sep 11, 2013 11:49 am • linkreport

There's really nothing wrong with the RPP system. It seems to work for the large majority of DC residents and is one of the benefits that those residents get in return for their taxes.

The problem is that people argue that nothing is wrong with the price of RPP and then scream about how hard it is to park and how all these new cars are screwing everything up. And their only "solution" for that is to make new buildings build way more parking than necessary (i.e. push the costs of growth onto anyone else).

Arguing that RPP's should be charged at market rate is like arguing that DC public schools should charge tuition.
Public schools are free because we recognize that there are massive benefits to having an educated populace. Not sure the benefits of RPP parking are remotely the same, especially since RPP only protects parking during the day (when users who need their cars most are likely elsewhere!)

Also, it depends on what "market rate" is. It doesn't seem like an RPP should cost as much as a private garage space, since it isn't reserved and not as secure. So the "market rate" for RPP would be lower than that for a garage space. But there certainly is a reason to charge for it. The city has a goal of reducing car trips, that means it has an incentive to set a price that makes some people decide to forego a car. Second, the government has an incentive to recoup the costs of the RPP program itself - that includes printing stickers, maintaining a database of RPP holders, and of course parking enforcement! Does the $35 price cover all of that?

by MLD on Sep 11, 2013 11:49 am • linkreport

"And I'm cool with being replaced or not being wanted."

Its not a question of not being wanted. Its a question of the best use of limited space. Does it make sense for someone to commute in from Olney to a job in downtown DC, while you live in Logan Circle and drive out to say, Fort Meade?

"I do own my place. I'll gladly rent it out to some sucker for 2x my mortgage."

You sound angry.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 11, 2013 11:52 am • linkreport

"If one really wanted to "get realz" about it, the 3 billion dollars used to pay for 50% of the Silverline, that come directly from drivers on one road should exempt area drivers from the juevenile levels of ego driven snark they are constantly berated with forever, but I won't hold my breath."

Thats value recapture, those folks come from places where RE values will benefit from the Silver Line.

And snark runs all around.

BTW I am an area driver. Most advocates of shifting from a completely auto dominated society are drivers. heck, in Nova most metro riders are drivers.

"Dealing with parking via zoning has been successfully dealt with for decades by our next door neighbors in MD and VA."

Fairfax is looking at parking MAXIMUMs in Tysons Corner. Arlington is continuing to advocate car free living. The suburbs are not happy with what they did for decades - they too, are changing.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 11, 2013 11:57 am • linkreport

I began by suggesting there is no problem here. Theres a new building to be built, that will provide housing for people, tax revenues for the district, etc.

And I have to say I agree 100%. Apparently, the developer's proposal here meets zoning requirements for parking. The ANC here is trying to override democratically passed zoning regulations. If the zoning for parking requirements in this area is insufficient, the proper remedy is to petition the government for a change in the zoning.

by Potowmack on Sep 11, 2013 11:58 am • linkreport

"The District spent 20 million dollars on the road network in FY 12 and collected 132 million in user fees from it (excluding the RPP revenue) so lets give the “I subsidize your driving canard” a rest shall we and quit pretending that your preferred form of transportation isn’t the most heavily subsidized on the planet."

thats because DC has a built out road network, and is not building new roads. The same is not true of the rest of the region. And is, in any case, irrelevant to the question of what optimal parking policy is. The reason to price parking, is to allocate a scarce resource, not to pay for new roads.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 11, 2013 11:59 am • linkreport

Thats value recapture, those folks come from places where RE values will benefit from the Silver Line"

Unless all the toll road drivers live within the zone of influence of a proposed metro stop (~half a mile), there is ZERO value recapture. Lets not pretend that the couple stations in Loudoun County are going to drive up the value of tens of thousands of homes there. Worst yet, the traffic on the toll road won't even be reduced any measurable level.

Point is, District taxpayers spend 20 million a year on the road and take in 132 million directly from it in direct user fees. RPP and camera revenue aren't included.

How much revenue above operating costs does Metro bring in every year again?

We haven't even discussed the tens of billions in inflation adjusted cost to build metro in the District, nor the billions in existing and future capital costs to maintain it.

Folks need to stop swinging that ridiculous baseball bat at anyone with a car as it is beyond childish when you look at really what District taxpayers are subsidizing.

by Parking on Sep 11, 2013 12:04 pm • linkreport

"Lets not pretend that the couple stations in Loudoun County are going to drive up the value of tens of thousands of homes there. Worst yet, the traffic on the toll road won't even be reduced any measurable level."

In NoVa people drive to metro, its influence is much further than one half mile. As for the folks in LoCo, they had a chance to debate it, their BOS voted on it. Done.

"Folks need to stop swinging that ridiculous baseball bat at anyone with a car"

Once again, Im a driver, I own a car. This is not about attacking people who own cars, its about debating whether the ANC is reasonable in asking that this new building have more parking spots than required by the current code. The ANC says there arent enough on street spots. If thats the case, its logical to price them at their market value.

Complaining about metro is not going to help to allocate parking spots in Logan Circle, nor will it create more spots. Ceasing to subsidize metro would be a disaster for the region, which is why its not a proposal under any serious discussion. If you can find a serious proposal to eliminate all subsidies to WMATA, please link to it.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 11, 2013 12:10 pm • linkreport

adriana --

1. re: I HAVE to drive to my job, and if you want to make it really inconvenient for me to get home and get to work, I won't have a choice but to move and take my tax money elsewhere.

That's actually ok, it's the market working. It's better to live in places where your choices are co-incident with what's offered.

I choose to not own a car and make residential location decisions based on the ability to get around by other means and to meet my various needs.

The issue is that people in this discussion argue that every housing use has to be built to fully accommodate cars, whereas others argue that this doesn't make sense given the reality that DC's road network and inventory of curb space is pretty much fixed.

2. wrt your point about developers being incentivized to f* over residents, you actually have it backwards.

As long as RPP is basically free, there is no incentive for developers to build parking and "charge" market rates because their ability to market the "resource" at cost or better can't work in the face of a competitor that charges very little.

This is true for residential buildings as well as office buildings. But because the market for off street parking is so flawed, even commercial buildings mostly don't manage parking to make money, but as an "amenity" that serves office tenants. If they make a little more $ with itinerant use, that's great but not a priority. That's true even with buildings located in the vicinity of Verizon Center.

(Note that in the past I argued that fed. govt. buildings could rent parking at night, but post-9/11 that's now impossible. E.g., the GAO building would be perfect as it sits on the edge of Downtown and a couple blocks from the Verizon Center.)

3. Actually, I am not against more parking, parking planning, providing some municipal parking structures in some cases, I've written about these issues ad infinitum. But as long as the city won't treat on street parking in residential districts in economic terms, and doesn't incorporate off street parking in a "comprehensive plan" it's impossible to make a system function.

JimT-- you're wrong about these problems not existing in teh suburbs. They do, just a bit different. In places like Bethesda or Silver Spring, granted they mostly have apartments, residents can park in municipal structures for about $100/mo.

It also comes up in mixed use places where some civic functions like libraries co-exist with for profit uses and both are served by for profit parking. Automobilists argue that when they use the library parking should be free. (I counter, then the library should also pay for people taking transit to the library.)

They are different elements of the same issue.

by Richard Layman on Sep 11, 2013 12:22 pm • linkreport

Yes, we subsidize Metro. Why? In large part, it's becuase we are trying to get cars off the road since the auto transportation system simply cannot handle the volume (and that's not even mentioning the negative effects). We subsidize things we want there to be more of. Sudsidizing parking works against that stated public policy goal by increasing the number of cars on the road. So we shouldn't do it.

by Crickey7 on Sep 11, 2013 12:30 pm • linkreport

FWIW, when I was on the ANC6C Planning and Zoning committee in 2003-2005, we were probably one of the first such groups to advocate for car sharing spots in every new property. (I hate to say we weren't as attuned to the need for high quality bike parking.) And back then, we got a lot of push back, because developers didn't like the idea of nonresidents but members of carsharing being able to have access to the cars.

But carsharing too, not part of the discussion, is a great way to manage demand. Hoboken is doing this actively, and found that of the first 3000 members of their system, 1/4 said they weren't going to buy a car, or they gave one up, or they gave up at least one residential parking permit.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/03/nyregion/car-sharing-gamble-in-hoboken-has-mixed-reactions.html

Again, carsharing, biking, transit, intra-neighborhood shuttle services (which we don't offer), bike sharing, and of course "walking" are ways to support mobility other than by driving.

All of it needs to be integrated, which is why I argue for the creation of "transportation management districts" rather than "performance parking distrits."

by Richard Layman on Sep 11, 2013 12:46 pm • linkreport

@ Crickey7 "Yes, we subsidize Metro. Why? In large part, it's becuase we are trying to get cars off the road since the auto transportation system simply cannot handle the volume (and that's not even mentioning the negative effects). We subsidize things we want there to be more of. Sudsidizing parking works against that stated public policy goal by increasing the number of cars on the road."

WMATA is currently not even capable of keeping escalators running on a regular basis, much less keeping trains running on time. You cannot reduce car use without providing high quality transit. And that does not seem to be a priority for the city at present. Hopefully they will come around at some point.

by Chris S. on Sep 11, 2013 12:56 pm • linkreport

"WMATA is currently not even capable of keeping escalators running on a regular basis, much less keeping trains running on time. You cannot reduce car use without providing high quality transit."

better metro ops would help, but the reality is that WMATA still carries a huge number of people, and there is a major real estate premium to be close to a metrorail stop. And of course in someplace like 7th street NW walking and biking are also alternatives.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 11, 2013 1:01 pm • linkreport

Crickey,

But there are thresholds to everything, including metro. You wouldn't feel the same way (I dunno, maybe you would) about metro if District taxpayers were sending them a 5 billion dollar a year check, instead of 250 million. Considering the level of condemnation drivers get from people here, you would think DC taxpayers were "subsidizing" DC roads a lot but the simple fact is, they aren't subsidizing them at all. The 100 million + surplus fees and penalties collected from road vehicles every year off District streets goes to pay for your metro ride and your bike share. I don't condemn you for it. I would expect a certain about of adult like behavior and realism in return.

This false equivalency has to stop. District taxpayers aren't subsidizing my car or its street parking at all, and if they are, it is a tiny fraction of the investment drivers make in your metro ride every day.

by Parking on Sep 11, 2013 1:02 pm • linkreport

Chris S. -- even if WMATA sucks, it moves about 1.2 million people/day, Monday through Friday. And around 40% (it's a little les) of DC residents use transit primarily to get to and from work. Federal workers in DC, not living in DC also take transit at high rates (abetted by free transit benefits of course).

Yes, you can't rely on transit _for every trip_, but that doesn't mean you need to _own_ a car either.

by Richard Layman on Sep 11, 2013 1:08 pm • linkreport

"Considering the level of condemnation drivers get from people here"

Im a driver. I dont feel condemned here. The issue of "subsidy" raised in this thread was an economic one - charing below a market price and how that creates distortions. Its not a moral judgement of different classes of people.

"it is a tiny fraction of the investment drivers make in your metro ride every day."

one more time, most metro riders in the suburbs ARE drivers. Many drive TO metro, and most of the rest own a car. And lots of other folks are glad to have metro around, because it eases their driving commute.

So, again, subsidizing metro is not controversial, as there is no viable alternative.

There ARE lots of alternatives to the current RPP system. They should be evaluated on their merits, not on a false claims of a war on cars, or of drivers being persecuted.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 11, 2013 1:09 pm • linkreport

Awalker,

Yes, I get it. You have a car too, well done. There are more than 200 postings and YOU arenn't responsible for all of them, nor is this the first time GGW'ers have had a go at blaming every planetary ailment on vehicle ownership.

Now that we have established that you do indeed have a car, moving on...

Why again are you talking about metro riders in the burbs? Does this ANC have extrordinary powers of influence over Ashburn VA that I am not aware.

This entire thread came to bear because District residents feel that they are subsidizing District vehicle ownership too much as it is, the relevant and more apropos response is, they aren't subsidizing it at all.

As stated above by myself and a few others. Arlington has already filmed this movie. We know how it should end, if DC were smart enough or shall I say "progressive" enough to follow. But they haven't.

by Parking on Sep 11, 2013 1:20 pm • linkreport

This whole debate is rather rich. We start with a market failure cause by an indirect subsidy (i.e. RPP being priced well below market value), and then try to fix this failure by causing other failures (off-street minimums etc.). Let's look at it realistically. Even assuming every new resident in a building will have a car (dubious), 30 year amortized cost of a 30,000 parking spot is $150 a month - RPP costs $115 a month less. There is utility in having an off street space, but that is dependent on many factors and it is highly likely that, for many, this added utility does not amount to $115 so the rational decision is to park on the street.

So, under the regime set out above you will always have new residents taking advantage of the subsidized street space, so the "negative" effect of this is increased scarcity of these spaces for those who have been residents for a longer period (ironically this will increase the utility of the off-street spots causing better utilization). While, some may not think this scarcity is a negative at all because everyone seeking street parking is treated the same - that is another debate, and for purposes of this analysis I will assume that this is a negative effect.

This negative can be rectified in a number of ways:
1. Ban car ownership for new residents
2. Regulate both the construction and price of off-street units, so that the garage costs RPP+ average marginal utility. Since we've already established that this marginal utility will likely be under the difference in cost from break even to RPP this means that each spot is a money-losing proposition.
3. Disallow RPP for any new building.
4. Allow the market to set the RPP price.

Number 1 above clearly is not the way to go as someone said above, many people need cars.

Number 2 imposes a great cost on the new residents vis-a-vis, increasing rents and/or purchase prices. Because this increase in cost is done to set off a perceived negative effecting only current residents, it can be looked as a direct transfer of wealth from new residents.

Number 3 does not impose any specific monetary costs on new residents, but there is an argument that it is not fair as it treats existing residents differently than new.

Number 4 will provide for an efficient, market based system. Granted, existing residents will have to pay more for on street parking, but in all honestly this should properly be seen as the withholding of a subsidy, rather than a specific charge. Once you remove this subsidy, the entire market stabilizes, and without command and control methods, close to optimal parking will be created. As stated above, there is utility to having a garage, and there will always be people willing to pay, and ergo, developers willing to build. Conversely, as the marginal cost of owning a car begins to approximate the actual costs involved the market will correct itself and car ownership will approach an optimal rate (i.e. people who need cars and are willing to pay will own them - those who don't or can't, won't). Finally, the city will realize increased revenues by properly pricing what is, in actuality, property rental to private parties.

All of that being said, 4 will never happen. People got their slice (cheap parking) and are very unwilling to give it up. Longer term residents vote at a higher percentage, and politicians want to keep their jobs. This is why you see more and more of number 3, which clearly isn't optimal, but it is popular (who doesn't like free stuff?).

Also - the meme that making it harder to park is somehow "destroying" the city is simply empirically wrong. Parking becomes an issue precisely because an area is desirable. The individual above who stated that he "never goes to DuPont" because it is hard to park is clearly in the minority as property values, rents and population of that neighborhood have consistently risen over the past decade (as has the city as a whole). Another example of booming property values (the best indicator of how an area is fairing) is Manhattan which has an effective parking requirement of approximately 5 spaces per 100 units, and yet property values are through the roof.

by Econ 101 on Sep 11, 2013 1:22 pm • linkreport

It's entirely possible to want to subsidize transit and not want to subsidize driving. Especially in DC, a city with one of the better transit systems in the nation and is forward thinking towards bike infrastructure.

So the only response is "but we subsidize metro more!" My response is a hearty "I don't care".

by drumz on Sep 11, 2013 1:27 pm • linkreport

to Richard Layman re: your statement

'1. re: I HAVE to drive to my job, and if you want to make it really inconvenient for me to get home and get to work, I won't have a choice but to move and take my tax money elsewhere.

That's actually ok, it's the market working. It's better to live in places where your choices are co-incident with what's offered.

I choose to not own a car and make residential location decisions based on the ability to get around by other means and to meet my various needs.'

-----------

It's fine to say people should pay the market price for the goods they choose to consume. Just be fair and apply that EQUALLY. If you think a driver should be aware of the economic reality, fine. But so should a non-driver. And so should a developer.

Personally, I'm dumb-founded by most of the responses here. It's like you're all accepting bribes from developers. You're okay with maximimzing profits for these greedy bastards, even though it comes at the expense of the existing neighbors.

Now I understand all these NIMBYs. They bought into a neighborhood excepting a certain lifestyle and that laws and regulations would be applied equally for everybody. But actually, no.. apparently if you're willing to grease palms, you can get away with whatever the hell you want.

Thanks for the lesson, guys.

by yeah on Sep 11, 2013 1:29 pm • linkreport

Where is the evidence that the developer has somehow skirted the law or bribed anyone?

by drumz on Sep 11, 2013 1:33 pm • linkreport

If Metro isn't working as desired, then the obvious response is to increase the subsidy. I think I have identified a suitable funding source.

by Crickey7 on Sep 11, 2013 1:35 pm • linkreport

Why don't they just OK the 40 damn spaces and just see what happens?

The developer appears more than willing to take that risk!

by jojo on Sep 11, 2013 1:35 pm • linkreport

"Especially in DC, a city with one of the better transit systems in the nation "

The point of this discussion aside, this is probably the least true statment made in it.

by Huh? on Sep 11, 2013 1:36 pm • linkreport

"Why again are you talking about metro riders in the burbs? Does this ANC have extrordinary powers of influence over Ashburn VA that I am not aware."

You raised the silver line, and the broader question of metrorail.

"This entire thread came to bear because District residents feel that they are subsidizing District vehicle ownership too much as it is, the relevant and more apropos response is, they aren't subsidizing it at all."

No the thread arose because someone is proposed to build a building on 7th street. The ANC is complaining, and that led to a discussion of parking policy. Many of us pointed out that any issues with parking are due to the non-optimal policy of pricing RPPs very low considering supply and demand. Someone used the word "subsidy" which to some of us is a term of art, but to others is a moral attack on their identity.

Perhaps they do so to avoid a policy focused, cost benefit focused, discussion of the issue at hand.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 11, 2013 1:38 pm • linkreport

"There's no parking garage fairy. The extraordinary cost of the garage will be absorbed into the apartment rent residents will pay. No space will break even. The losses will have to be cross subsidized by apartment rents. You are forcing residents to pay for it whether they use it or not."

This argument can be applied to almost any aspect of a multi-tenant or resident building. A fancy health club on site or party spaces are effectively subsidized by those who don't use it or don't care about it. Residents who don't care about a glitzy lobby or a concierge desk effectively subsidize those who do. Market rate units subsidize "affordable" ones. On a per s.f. basis, small units are typically more expensive than larger units.

As Tom C. wrote, when new buildings don't have on-site parking and RPP is available to their residents, the developer is effectively shifting his costs/burdens on to the public. In a neighborhood where there is already strong demand for RPP, the neighborhood residents are burdened with the parking externalities -- subsidizing the costs if you will -- of the new project, if there is no on-site parking.

by Alf on Sep 11, 2013 1:41 pm • linkreport

Except we don't mandate new apartment buildings provide gyms/pools by law.

Huh?,

Please point all the other cities in te US with 80+ heavy rail stations. I'm sure with all of metros problems many cities would love a system half as extensive.

by drumz on Sep 11, 2013 1:46 pm • linkreport

"As Tom C. wrote, when new buildings don't have on-site parking and RPP is available to their residents, the developer is effectively shifting his costs/burdens on to the public. In a neighborhood where there is already strong demand for RPP, the neighborhood residents are burdened with the parking externalities -- subsidizing the costs if you will -- of the new project, if there is no on-site parking."

Why are the neighborhood residents entitled to easy parking for $35 a year, in one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the metro area?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 11, 2013 1:51 pm • linkreport

"Especially in DC, a city with one of the better transit systems in the nation and is forward thinking towards bike infrastructure. "

You didn't say extensive, you said "better".

Two completely different things. Simply because it is big, doesn't make it any better and I am not telling anyone here something they don't know when I say that DC metro is a joke...a useless outside of rush hour, platnium priced lame duck that makes the Disney monorail look like a mass transit solution...joke.

by Huh? on Sep 11, 2013 1:52 pm • linkreport

A fancy health club on site or party spaces are effectively subsidized by those who don't use it or don't care about it. Residents who don't care about a glitzy lobby or a concierge desk effectively subsidize those who do.

Gyms, health clubs, and lobbies aren't usually major requirements in the zoning code, however.

by Alex B. on Sep 11, 2013 1:53 pm • linkreport

@Awalkerinthecity,

Why are residents in some of the highest earning zipcodes in the nation entitled to cheap metro fares, whose farebox recovery covers about ~20% of its operational and capital costs?

I am sure car owning District residents will agree to pay your self identified $100 a month in "true" RPP costs, as soon as Metro riders start paying their $10 one way base fare for metro. Deal?

by Metro on Sep 11, 2013 1:57 pm • linkreport

Huh,

Ok then.

by drumz on Sep 11, 2013 1:57 pm • linkreport

@Alex,

And potental residents can simply decide to live elsewhere if they don't like a building with all those costs factored in...just like they can if they don't like a building with the costs of parking built in.

by Metro on Sep 11, 2013 1:59 pm • linkreport

@Econ101: Creating a functional market for RPP's does not have to harm existing residents. Existing permits could, for example, be grandfathered at the current price and be indexed for inflation. Eventually everyone would be paying market price, but almost immediately the correct incentives would be guiding the decisions of newcomers.

Compared to the windfall for higher real estate values, this windfall for existing owners would be small.

by JimT on Sep 11, 2013 2:00 pm • linkreport

metro

they are not so entitled, but raising fares (further than they have been raised already) would put more cars on the road which would be, to put it mildly, a problem for all, but especially for those who currently drive. That may be why there is no policy proposal I am aware of to cut metro subsidies.

As for car owning district residents, the vast majority will never pay $100 a month for RPPs (assuming that turns out to be the market clearing price in places like Shaw). Many car owning district residents live in houses that have offstreet parking sufficien to their needs. Many live in areas where on street parking is not scarce. They will benefit far more from the revenue stream to the district (which could be rebated to all district residents in the form of say, lower sales or income taxes) than they will lose from the loss of the opportunity to buy a cheap RPP.

Deal? No. Ive got an alternative deal. No increase in RPP. Buildings like this one get built. You can circle around looking for parking. Enjoy.

BTW, is it really the case that car owners in the district don't take metro? My impression was that many people use their RPP stickers precisely to drive to metro stations, park nearby, and take metro to work.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 11, 2013 2:05 pm • linkreport

"And potental residents can simply decide to live elsewhere if they don't like a building with all those costs factored in...just like they can if they don't like a building with the costs of parking built in."

No they can't because all new buildings are subject to parking minimums. Outside of North Arlington, I guess.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 11, 2013 2:07 pm • linkreport

Gotta love DC where public transportation is the bourgeois activity while the driving proletariat are crushed into dust to be used as ballast for the metro tracks.

by drumz on Sep 11, 2013 2:11 pm • linkreport

@Drumz,

The median income of a rail passenger rider on the D.C. system is $102,000/yr (2009 dollars).

Pretty bourgeois by most standards and the height of absurdity that they couldn't possibly pay more for their nearly free ride to work.

by Metro on Sep 11, 2013 2:15 pm • linkreport

"Existing permits could, for example, be grandfathered at the current price "

that helps existing RESIDENTS. Not existing homes. One thing that may be overlooked is that in the case of rental property, the current system benefits not so much the residents, but the owners of the properties they rent. And for owner occupiers, it impacts the sales prices when they decide to cash out.

Grandfathering is a nice idea, but it does not compensate everyone with an interest in easy parking for $35 a year.

The other way to completely compensate all such interests, while also allowing market incentives to work, would be a white market scheme - give RPPs as they are now, exclude all new buildings, charge for RPPs as is done now, but make RPPs freely saleable.

The disadvantage of that is that it would reveal the extent of the windfall.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 11, 2013 2:17 pm • linkreport

"The median income of a rail passenger rider on the D.C. system is $102,000/yr (2009 dollars)."

IE too poor to afford a house in Shaw.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 11, 2013 2:20 pm • linkreport

Metro,

Ok. Is there a similar number for those who drive to work. It's a meaningless statistic without context.

by drumz on Sep 11, 2013 2:20 pm • linkreport

@ drums, I don't know. Google is your friend.

by Metro on Sep 11, 2013 3:02 pm • linkreport

Ok, I'll feel free to ignore any criticism that starts off with the premise that public transportation is fr the rich while people need to drive are being unfairly punished when they have to look for a parking space.

by drumz on Sep 11, 2013 3:08 pm • linkreport

Drumz,

As you stated above "ok then".

by Metro on Sep 11, 2013 3:24 pm • linkreport

When it comes to "fixing" RPP, all of the solutions seemed to have been concocted in a university economics class without any consideration of real-world politics. DC car owners aren't going to vote themselves a tax hike for the use of a privilege that they consider a right.

by Potowmack on Sep 11, 2013 3:35 pm • linkreport

We have politicians to figure out the political problems. But you've got to have some potential solutions first. And here that means the duty to remind or convince people that more of the current fixes for parking (bannin new residents from RPP, higher minimums) won't work.

by drumz on Sep 11, 2013 3:41 pm • linkreport

"DC car owners aren't going to vote themselves a tax hike for the use of a privilege that they consider a right."

Assuming RPP continuse to be by ward (probably not the best way, but lets assume that) What will the market clearing price for an RPP be in ward 7? Ward 8? Ward 5? Its not hard (is it) to envision a scenario where a reduction in sales or income taxes (to stay revenue neutral) more than offsets the increase in RPP costs for RPP holders in the wards where parking is less scarce. Add to those the folks who park offstreet anyway, and add to them the carfree voting block.

Its not at all impossible that eventually a winning coalition could be assembled.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 11, 2013 3:41 pm • linkreport

When it comes to "fixing" RPP, all of the solutions seemed to have been concocted in a university economics class without any consideration of real-world politics. DC car owners aren't going to vote themselves a tax hike for the use of a privilege that they consider a right.

I mean I have another solution, which is keep the $35 price and users can shut up about how hard it is to park.

Because the other option, which is "no growth" is a nonstarter.

by MLD on Sep 11, 2013 3:42 pm • linkreport

Exactly, people recoil in horror at the thought of paying money for a parkig spot with no consideration that they're paying with their time. That doesn't have to change if they'd rather do that.

by drumz on Sep 11, 2013 3:51 pm • linkreport

@yeah -- fwiw, I wasn't talking about developers at all in that statement. I was referring to making optimal or rational choices for residential location decisions, rather than making irrational or suboptimal choices, and then blaming exogeneous conditions for the failure of the decision, rather than the faulty decision criteria.

Granted there can be other factors. Still, this is no different than people moving to night life districts and then complaining that there is noise at night and then advocating for closing down the night life places.

Or people who move to commercial districts or immediately adjacent to commercial districts and then complain about commercial activity in the commercial districts. (This was a big issue in Brookland, when an adult day care center with minimal use was converted into Yes! Grocery. My response was "why did you move to a commercial district?" There response was "we expected it to always have minimal use, to remain unchanging.")

If you "have to have a car" then to me at least, it doesn't make sense to move to a place where using a car is problematic both in terms of parking as well as the time cost to get around in that area, as well as the time cost to get to your primary destination for which car use is required.

E.g., in the early 2000s, I observed a bunch of people that moved into the city because it was seen as a hot trend, but they still worked in the suburbs, so they still "had" to drive to get to work. Many of these people subsequently moved back to the suburbs to be closer to work. Because they didn't find the time cost to get to and from work to be worth it.

Or there used to be a joke at U of Michigan that a student who transferred from UM to MSU increased the grade point average at both institutions.

It's a matter of being congruent with your mobility requirements and your location being able to satisfy those conditions.

So yes, I'd rather trade adriana for someone who makes just as much money, spends just as much money, but doesn't necessarily have a car, or prefers to get around by sustainable means, because it works better for the city, or at least the urban core.

You only need a 15% or so reduction in car use to have significant positive benefits. And generally we see this on the road network--not at chokepoints and main entrypoints into the city, but generally--but not so much in terms of curb space demand.

But you would, if RPP pricing were higher, if each add'l car per household cost more, if RPP prices were higher if you have access to off street parking, if RPP prices were higher for larger vehicles, etc.

by Richard Layman on Sep 11, 2013 3:54 pm • linkreport

JimT -- I don't understand why existing residents should be grandfathered in. The artificially low price of the RPP is what is creating the problem. The existing residents are part of the problem. And in fact, everything that DC is doing with RPP further exacerbates existing resident privilege and increases demand.

And I say that as a 26 year resident of the city (you made me realize this week is my anniversary of moving here).

However, it's almost as if they are trying to deliberately make the system fail, to be able to start over.

(This was a joke I made about the ICC. Maybe Maryland "needed" the ICC because it would take up almost all of the revenue from the Highway Gas Tax Fund and therefore they had no choice but to increase the gas tax if they wanted to do other projects elsewhere in the state going forward.)

by Richard Layman on Sep 11, 2013 4:00 pm • linkreport

I mean I have another solution, which is keep the $35 price and users can shut up about how hard it is to park.

Because the other option, which is "no growth" is a nonstarter.

I'm with you on this one. Street parking isn't a problem in large swathes of the District.

If you want to live in a place like Adams Morgan, one of the trade-offs is that street parking is going to be tough. Why the rest of the city should change to accomodate those folks is beyond me.

by Potowmack on Sep 11, 2013 4:07 pm • linkreport

Why the rest of the city should change to accomodate those folks is beyond me.

Well, that would be the reason for pricing by neighborhood and making smaller zones, or doing an auction (complex, yes). In places where it is difficult to park, the price would be higher. In places where there's no problem parking, the price would be low.

But I think the reason that these things always just devolve into the pricing argument isn't because "non-car users" just bring them up out of thin air. It's because people who park on the street complain that there will be no place to park, or parking is terrible, etc. And their only solution is "so don't build anything" which is untenable, or "build way more parking than required/necessary," which will actually make things worse for them.

by MLD on Sep 11, 2013 4:18 pm • linkreport

I am not sure why it is such an outrageous prospect for a homeowner to hope to reliably park his/her vehicle close to the front of his/her own house. That doesn't seem like an obscene extravagance to me. Is there some reason why a tourist or resident of a new condo building 5 blocks away should have a greater claim to this parking space?

by Chris S. on Sep 11, 2013 7:33 pm • linkreport

Unfortunately Chris, you have now opened yourself to the left wing version of the Tea Party. All cars are bad and anyone who owns one is bourgeois.

by John on Sep 11, 2013 7:42 pm • linkreport

So, objecting to wasteful government subsidies that distort the market and actually injure stated public policy is a left wing position?

Who knew?

by Crickey7 on Sep 11, 2013 7:53 pm • linkreport

Lol, anyway.

Chris, it is an outrageous prospect in DC though. Simply because a lot of homes were built before cars were pervasive. The spot they park on aren't theirs, they're the city's. RPP was introduced as a way to prevent people from parking in their neighborhood and using metro. The system works great in that respect. It can't solve parkig woes associated with a neighborhood being popular.

Besides, we aren't shocked that people want to park close To home. It's that they think its reasonable to either halt development or create onerous requirements for any development to meet.

by drumz on Sep 11, 2013 8:00 pm • linkreport

There does seem to be an unusual marriage of progressive and conservative views here.

by Chris S. on Sep 11, 2013 8:04 pm • linkreport

Well again, what I care about is results. I want to see more affordable housing and I don't want to see the city subsidizing driving so much. Seems the best way to acheive that goal is by letting developers determining the amount of Parking needed at different sites. In DC with walkable neighborhoods and extensive transit it seems reasonable that some buildings can be built that don't require parking. If people feel that parking in city streets will get worse then there have been several proposals to fix that issue if it comes up that doesn't mean requiring parking.

by drumz on Sep 11, 2013 8:13 pm • linkreport

Proving my point
Cars are bad
Car owners must suffer so that they live the way rigid orthodoxy dictates

by John on Sep 11, 2013 8:25 pm • linkreport

Cars ARE bad. Theyre dangerous, often polluting, and incredibly expensive. Sure they can get you around places and that's great, I rode in a car today. But that doesn't mean they're benevolent.

And apparently building an apartment building that doesn't have X amount of parking means that there is a plot to make all car owners (even people who don't park cars on DC streets, solidarity y'all) "suffer".

by drumz on Sep 11, 2013 8:31 pm • linkreport

I love my cars, I just don't ask other people to subsidize them.

by Crickey7 on Sep 11, 2013 8:32 pm • linkreport

Clarification: cars aren't "bad" actually. But you shouldn't ignore their negative aspects. Nor is it advisable to subsidize them as much as we do.

by drumz on Sep 11, 2013 8:32 pm • linkreport

Anyway, the easy fix seems to be that if this building will be built, its residents should not be issued RPPs. That provides greater population density, without greater automobile density. It's a win-win.

by Chris S. on Sep 11, 2013 8:36 pm • linkreport

Personally, I don't really see how that helps. At best you preserve the status quo. Hardly ideal in neighborhoods where parking is already tight. Plus if someone in a row house is car free and then moves and someone with a car moves in then the problem gets worse with no impact from the building anyway.

May be an important step politically to get a deal done but ineffective over the long run.

by drumz on Sep 11, 2013 8:41 pm • linkreport

It's a booboo band aid on a broken system.

by Crickey7 on Sep 11, 2013 8:47 pm • linkreport

I honestly believe that if the people in that building want cars, they should have that right
I would rather they not have cars so that my neighborhood has fewer cars
But I would not pose my prejudices on them

by John on Sep 11, 2013 8:54 pm • linkreport

Me too

by drumz on Sep 11, 2013 9:06 pm • linkreport

And this is where the politics gets confusing sgain. Wouldn't you prefer to avoid a couple hundred new cars moving onto the streets of the area? (counting the residents of all the new buildings mentioned in the article) Seems like not issuing RPPs is a good way to do reduce the number of incoming cars.

And yes, cars are not bad, they're great! (trains and bicycles are pretty cool too) It's traffic that sucks. :)

by Chris S. on Sep 11, 2013 9:10 pm • linkreport

Chris
I am torn
I do not want to limit the rights of the folks in that building from owning a car
It will suck for me, but I do not want to limit their rights just because I do not like it
I also think that it will not work. People are conniving. They will figure out a way to have a car. I also do not think the DC government can keep track of who gets a permit and who doesn't
And I do not think anything is permanent. At some point folks in that building will figure out a way to remove the restrictions

by John on Sep 11, 2013 9:21 pm • linkreport

@Richard Layman
One reason you might want to grandfather existing permit holders is that you want the permits to be market priced, and that is the only way to get a consensus to move forward.
Whenever the government starts charging for something that people previously assumed to be free, there is a significant wealth transfer which can overshadow the benefits of letting the market work. So people try to devise ways so that in the short run, there are no big losers (roughly a Pareto improvement), E.g. air pollution permits.
As AWitC points out, there is the question of whether the homeowner or permit holder should get the grandfathered permit in the case of rental property. And making the permits marketable provides more efficiencies as some residents might prefer $1000 to driving.
Eventually, all permits should be sold for a market price whose proceeds help to maintain the road on which the cars sit. But a very gradual transition from free to market price might gain support from a broader cross section of people than the sudden jolt of everyone having to buy a market-priced permits, or the gradual unavailability of parking.

by Jim Titus on Sep 11, 2013 11:00 pm • linkreport

I think @Chris made a valid point several comments above. Transit service in DC, outside of 14th, 16th, 7th, H, U streets, and, Penn Ave, etc, leaves a lot to be desired. Heck, even 16th St buses were stranding passengers due to crowing. The train headways off-peak and city bus routes with 30 minute frequency mean I drive vs. waiting for a train or bus. In the summer I walk or use Cabi, but in the winter I'll drive.

DC has got to get Metro to add service or add their own Circulator service so getting around does not require timing a trip to a bus or train. In a growing city, buses and trains should operate frequently enough to accommodate spontaneous trips. Until this happens I am concerned about the loss of or exclusion of parking and some people giving up on going "car free."

by Transport. on Sep 12, 2013 12:06 am • linkreport

And all of those corridors (including the building in question) are where you are going to see buildings built with little to no parking.

by drumz on Sep 12, 2013 12:26 am • linkreport

Two things to remember:

1. This building already meets the existing parking requirements under the existing zoning laws. Our democratically run system has determined what the requirements are. If you don't like it, petition for a change in the formula, otherwise don't go changing the rules on people in the middle of the process. Furthermore, on-street parking will get difficult if there are 40 spaces, 400 spaces or 4000 spaces. Though a space underground is guaranteed (unlike a street space) many residents will choose a RPP sticker because the cost between $35/yr ($3/month!!!) and $150/mo (a good estimate) just wont be worth it.

2. The long-term solution is to raise the price of RPP stickers to a point where it really incentivizes people to consider finding private spaces. Instead of bashing the developer for following the existing law, tell your council member to raise the price of RPP stickers in your neighborhood until more spaces free up as more residents now have an incentive to rent private parking.

by RBton on Sep 12, 2013 12:37 am • linkreport

Are the pro-parking residents really pushing to change the rules in the middle of the process? Or are they trying to resist application of a new rule change that was made in the middle of the process?

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and posit that the ANC and folks in the neighborhood are going to limit themselves to options that they think might be on the table: More parking spaces consistent with what they think the rule might have been until recently (so that the rules are not changed on them) or a limit to the number of $3/mo RPP's that go to residents of the building.

Either option is a tough sell, but the latter approach at least would be following the general policy direction that seems to be emerging. And if you want a site-specific ad hoc application of either of two policies, it is usually better to pick the policy that has long been a mess in need of fixing, rather than the policy that was just updated with great fanfare.

by JimT on Sep 12, 2013 7:23 am • linkreport

to Richard

I'm not surprised that people like you don't want people like me around. Just to give you an idea of the kind of people that are pushed out of here - I'll tell you about myself. I'm 34 years old, electrical engineer who makes about $130K. My fiance is 35, also an engineer and makes about the same amount of money.

I moved into DC right out of college and I lived in Georgetown. I had the good sense to buy a property soon thereafter (but not in Gtown due to money). I chose a sleepy, but safe, non-trendy neighboornood in NW full of rowhouses. I've been here for 8 years. I see the transformation that DC is undertaking and I support most of it. However, I have seen how these big ass developments go into small density neighborhoods and make life a pain in the ass for everybody.

Parking is not the only thing that is impacted. In my neighborhood, the local elementary has a long ass waiting list for IN BOUNDARY kids. Everyone is talking about parking as a big issiue, but that is not the only one. Shaw is a similar neighborhood to mine, full or rowhouses. Big buildings are going up - but what about schools?

You guys can talk all you want about viable cities, but developments like these attract no-one but transients.

Yes, I see what you want. And contrary to how I may sound -I'm not mad. I've known for quite some time that DC is not friendly towards middle class people like me. If you are a lobbyist, politician, or a lawyer then you are golden. Likewise if you are at the bottom of the rung - say a good for nothing person who doesn't want to work a day in your life- DC has a million handout programs for you. But if you are anything in between - this is simply not the place for you.

And I thank you for making me understand that.

by adriana on Sep 12, 2013 9:06 am • linkreport

adriana

Lots of the people moving in are making 260k - but probably most of them are making less (but far too high to qualify for any handouts) - young folks working for NGOs making in th 40s, young folks in more remunerative jobs making in 80s, civil servants, couples, more established professionals making in the 100k to 200k range.

The only way they differ from you is that their jobs are in central DC, hence ease of auto use is less of a concern to them, and convenience via transit, walking, and biking to the center of the city is more important.

BTW, if you have lived in the district about 13 years, and are about to move out, a very large part of the district population considers YOU a transient. OTOH many of the folks moving into the new developments may well end up staying as long as you have, if not longer.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 12, 2013 9:17 am • linkreport

Hey Adrianna
The good news is that most folks in DC want good middle class folks like you
It is the left-wing tea baggers who want to mold DC life to their rigid orthodoxy
Rich and middle class- bad
Cars - bad
Any lifestyle other than their utopian but unrealistic in the real world - bad
It is the left wing equivalent of the Christian Right who want to impose their rigid worldview on everyone else

by John on Sep 12, 2013 9:19 am • linkreport

"There does seem to be an unusual marriage of progressive and conservative views here. "

progressive ends, market means.

I think I've heard that before

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Way

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Policy_Institute

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Clinton

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affordable_Care_Act

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 12, 2013 9:23 am • linkreport

@John
The good news is that most folks in DC want good middle class folks like you
It is the left-wing tea baggers who want to mold DC life to their rigid orthodoxy
Rich and middle class- bad
Cars - bad
Any lifestyle other than their utopian but unrealistic in the real world - bad
It is the left wing equivalent of the Christian Right who want to impose their rigid worldview on everyone else

Wrong.
I want more people living in DC.
I also want less traffic in DC so the people who have to drive can do so.
Your "plans" would only increase the number of cars, driving, and traffic in DC.
There is literally not enough space in this city for everyone to drive everywhere all the time. A huge portion of trips in DC are non-auto currently and you currently complain about the traffic/parking situation. How will more cars help?

Yes, I want people to have choices. But you can't confine yourself to one tiny area and then complain about a lack of choices while blatantly ignoring the fact that you have taken away your own ability to choose. If you want to be able to drive everywhere for everything you do, there are a zillion places in this metro area where you can do that. There are some places in DC where that is a pain in the ass, one of them being exactly where this building is proposed.

People act as if travel decisions have no bearing on where you should decide to live, why is that? You should be able to just plop yourself down wherever and expect quick and easy travel by whatever mode you decide to prefer? That's not possible; there are a lot of people who live here and we have to balance the needs of everyone.

by MLD on Sep 12, 2013 9:43 am • linkreport

adriana -- I will modify my remarks.

What I don't think makes sense is where you chose to live, based on your preferences or "need" for driving. There are other places in DC to live that better accommodate automobile-centric living. I'd rather you chose to live in one of those places, rather than move out of the city.

But to move to a place like Shaw or Capitol Hill or H St. (It didn't used to be like that but times change) -- I am not saying this is you, this is a general statement -- and then complain about the lack of parking is somewhat ludicrous.

As drumz pointed out to Chris S., but without detail, in rowhouse neighborhoods, houses are about 15 feet wide. And 15 feet is about how much space you need to park a car, more or less (a VW bug is 12 feet long and a Mini isn't short either). There isn't enough space on the street to provide a space to each house, let alone accommodate more than one car per household, deal with visitors, etc.

That's why the city needs to attract more people who are less car dependent, or at least, people who don't own cars, in order to get supply and demand to somewhat of an equilibrium.

And to better price on street parking so that it makes economic sense to provide off street parking, to increase supply. And actually, I'm ok with this, because I understand that it is impossible to expect everyone not to drive, and also because I'd rather shift some parking to off street, even if municipally provided, in order to use on street curb space for other stuff like bike lanes, dedicated transitways, bike parking, etc.

Or to steer people like yourself to locations that better meet their mobility needs.

E.g., you could live on my block, and be able to park 2-3 cars in front of your house, plus have off-street parking on your lot if you wanted it. And you can get to the Beltway reasonably easy. (Not that I like driving on it.)

BUT, and there is a big but, you aren't going to be close to Downtown, U Street, H Street, etc., and if access to those kind of amenities is important to you, obviously you're going to make the choice you did.

I don't know where you live, what you decided to do, if you live in a rowhouse vs. in a multiunit building, etc.

But all of those factors work in tandem and you have to make a set of choices based on various constraints.

When I lived in the H St. neighborhood, houses on my block didn't have off street parking. But other blocks in the area do have off street parking as well as on street parking. In my case, I was 6 blocks from Union Station, had access to the X and D buslines stops within one block and the 90s bus (not a fun bus to take) a couple blocks away and eventually began biking. Mostly I bike, unless I travel with others. But then, I don't work in NoVA.

BUT I've always tried to get jobs that were transit adjacent or bike accessible.

by Richard Layman on Sep 12, 2013 10:38 am • linkreport

Jim T. -- the problem with grandfathering is that it would take 20-50 years for the grandfathered households to work out of the system and move to a more realistic paradigm.

Rather than grandfathering, I can see phasing in higher prices over a period of years. I do agree that jumping from $35 to $200 would make people apoplectic.

WRT pricing, I don't see how true market pricing is possible--e.g., $1000/year. For street parking, the highest price in North America is about $600/year in Toronto, for houses that already have off-street parking.

I am not a lawyer, but having policies that preference legacy residents over new residents does have a whiff of a 14th amendment violation to me, but I presume it would be legal, regardless.

by Richard Layman on Sep 12, 2013 10:41 am • linkreport

I've been here for 8 years. I see the transformation that DC is undertaking and I support most of it. However, I have seen how these big ass developments go into small density neighborhoods and make life a pain in the ass for everybody.

Translation: I totally support the transformation takign place in DC, unless you encase MY neighborhood in amber. It's special, you see.

by dcd on Sep 12, 2013 11:43 am • linkreport

Wow!
James Layman - your response to Adrianna has to be one of the most condescending I have seen here
I haveived in DC for 25 years - and in Shaw for most of that time. I am not a Johnny Come Lately like so many newcomers who are trying to limit the flexibility and lifestyles of others
I walk to work and Metro home. But most folks on my street need cars for work. I would never arrogantly tell them to move away or get a better job just because I did not agree with their lifestyle
It sounds just like the Chriatian-right telling gay people to act a certain way because being gay is not the right way to be.

by John on Sep 12, 2013 11:46 am • linkreport

I have lived in Shaw for more than 20 years.
I excited about ore aparent and condo buildings (although owning a house might be considered too bourgeois).
I want more people and I want more bike lanes, more car sharing, more bike sharing, more stores and other amenities so that people need their car less
But I also am a realist. I realize that people need their cars. And I will not be so arrogant as to tell them to move out of the city if they do. Heck! Let's tell all the people with kids to move out so we don't have to subsidize schools.
We need to take a multi-pronged approach- which means ensuring that there are Asante spaces as possible for those who need them

by John on Sep 12, 2013 11:52 am • linkreport

@RichardLayman; "15' wide"

Not sure your point there. IN most rowhouse that is about wide enough to park two cars in the back.

Of course, one problem is people prefer to expand out and use that parking space in the back for other purposes, and put their cars in the street.

Or pop up and turn a rowhouse in a multi unit.

(As I've said before, where we need parking mimimums is rowhouse conversions).

by charlie on Sep 12, 2013 11:52 am • linkreport

Guys, it's now offensive to ask people to take into account their mobility needs and transportation options when deciding where to live or if its prudent to move.

If I lived in Richmond and worked in DC and complained about traffic and demanded would it be offensive to suggest that I move closer to DC? Where is the dividing line?

by drumz on Sep 12, 2013 11:53 am • linkreport

@John
I walk to work and Metro home. But most folks on my street need cars for work. I would never arrogantly tell them to move away or get a better job just because I did not agree with their lifestyle

1. Over the entire district, fewer than half of DC residents drive to work. So your perception of "most folks" may be wrong depending on where you live.
2. If you live in a neighborhood where it is difficult to park, it is likely that even fewer people drive to work. I'm happy to look up the data for your neighborhood in factfinder for you.

by MLD on Sep 12, 2013 11:59 am • linkreport

I lived in the H St. neighborhood roughly from 1987 to 2005. The same parking conditions existed there. I don't see what is condescending about suggesting that it is rational to make residential and employment location decisions based upon transportation requirements and the ability of the transportation network (infrastructure) to meet those demands in specific locations, to allow the achievement of relatively efficient travel between origin and destination(s).

And I don't see why legacy residents should have "more privileges" than newer residents.

And again, you miss the point. Not every place best accommodates perceived needs by residents. If I need a car to get to work and it becomes increasingly difficult to park it on the street, I'd do a bunch of things, including advocating for the attraction of more residents who don't "need" a car to get places, and to encourage more sustainable options, including the accommodation of car users through car sharing, to reduce the number of owned cars that require on street parking storage.

Charging higher for street permits would end up discouraging on street storage of minimally used vehicles. It would end up encouraging the creation of more off street parking (e.g., we could fix our garage, but we don't have cars, so it doesn't matter), thereby increasing supply by shifting some parking to off street locations. Charging more for bigger cars would preference smaller cars, adding a bit more space. Charging more for additional cars per household would help reduce demand as well.

Regardless of OtherMike's recounting of statistics that show an increased number of registered vehicles in the city, the real point is the average number of cars per household, which in DC is still significantly less than the norm.

What is important is to do as much as possible to reduce the number of cars in the city, because the inventory of street parking is limited, but so is the roadway network.

by Richard Layman on Sep 12, 2013 12:01 pm • linkreport

charlie, I was talking about curb space out front. In any case, yes, in the back depending on the configuration, one or two parking spots can be accommodated, if there is rear access.

If people want a rear yard though...

by Richard Layman on Sep 12, 2013 12:03 pm • linkreport

Hi Richard,
We probably need to uncouple the duration of the transition period from the question of grandfathering, as I suspect the reason you like a phase-in more than grandfathering might be that you are assuming a shorter transition period.
For the sake of argument, let's assume that the tansition period is 20 years. If you then phase-in the price increase over a 20-year period (e.g. $7/mo per year) then you manage to annoy existing residents who see the RPP triple in price the first year, and yet it will be another 5-10 years before we are sending any sort of market signal, and 20 years before the market gets the correct price.
For grandfathering, by contrast, the market gets the signal next year with a correct market price; but the existing residents are not especially annoyed until 2033, by which time there will only be a fairly small percentage of people still living in the same house. Those people will be annoyed then, but they will have had 20 years to prepare. Possibly they could then be weaned off their subsidy but it would be a fairly small number of people.
I guess you probably would have to elaborate on what the problem even is with letting the grandfathered RPP's persist until the driver's die. Sure, they keep getting a sweet deal--but the deal is no different from what they get now. If we can survive giving everybody that deal as we do today, is it not better to give the declining fraction of the population that deal?
Aside from pollution credits, the basic idea of letting people keep the subsidy they have while newcomers get a more market-based price is very common. Consider all the proposals to reform pensions, where existing and near-term pensioners will not have their pensioned cut but people who are 20 will not get the same deal. Or water rights where someone with a well can keep operating the well even if no new wells are allowed. Or flood insurance, where pre-1972 homes got a subsidized rate that post-1978 homes did not get, as the price of getting communities to join the program.
Sure, newcomers resent the better deal that oldtimers get. And oldtimers resent changes that newcomers bring. But if everybody benefits from the new policy, they will eventually support it, rather than stick with something that leaves them worse off just because they wish the other guy got a worse deal.

by JimT on Sep 12, 2013 12:06 pm • linkreport

and charlie, you're right that in rowhouse neighborhoods + Metro station catchment areas + residential streets adjacent to office areas (like in Capitol Riverfront now) is where market based pricing is most needed.

Although I would argue the supply is limited regardless of whether or not houses are being converted into flats. That isn't what's happening in Capitol Hill or H St. because for the most part the rowhouse buildings are two stories without basements.

In rowhouse neighborhoods it's to provide the right "signals" so that people make better choices and to have demand better reflect supply conditions. In Metro station catchment areas it's to reduce out of city commuting and parking, and in residential areas adjacent to office districts it's to discourage intra-city commuting and abuse of the resource.

by Richard Layman on Sep 12, 2013 12:08 pm • linkreport

@RichardLayman; right, out front, sorry. Yes once rowhouse is equal to one car.

The trick is we are trying to re-invest in the rowhouse city, and one of the easiest ways to do that is bring people in and do condo conversions. That is why we are having problems in Col Hts, Shaw, etc.

And while I agree with you about signalling, really it is inelastic enough that until you get to the $50/month billing rate it isn't going to be signficiant.

by charlie on Sep 12, 2013 12:23 pm • linkreport

@Richard Layman "Regardless of OtherMike's recounting of statistics that show an increased number of registered vehicles in the city, the real point is the average number of cars per household, which in DC is still significantly less than the norm."

Vehicle ownership in DC is increasing, and even if the average number of vehicles per household in DC is less than other cities, it is still much higher than the current minimum parking requirements.

by OtherMike on Sep 12, 2013 12:38 pm • linkreport

Well, $250 might be enough. But you could be right. I think that $600/year is a reasonable amount. I don't think $100/mo. is reasonable--it's the market rate, sure, but there is no way it will happen. Although MoCo charges that in Bethesda and Silver Spring for their parking structures.

It definitely would drive some interest to the outer wards. E.g., my block isn't even zoned for RPP. Many blocks are not (except for those by schools).

by Richard Layman on Sep 12, 2013 12:40 pm • linkreport

again, without better data, we know that the number of vehicles is increasing, which isn't out of line with the population increase. What we don't know is why and how. Without better data, it's all just speculation.

Part might be that households with children tend to have cars/more cares than households without children. As DC adds households with children, car registrations increase.

In fact, while I do think that is an element, based on observation, we don't have good enough data to be able to know anything about "why" definitively.

by Richard Layman on Sep 12, 2013 12:43 pm • linkreport

Here's the simple, common sense reason for this problem that liberal media refuses to recognize.

Obama is giving them cars! THAT is the reason that the number of cars in DC is going up! They give these away in exchange for those people's votes, like a lot of other things (phones, housing, food, ect.) Go look at the car registration numbers, especially in Ward 7 and 8. Just go and see. Did Marion Barry get a couple of brand new Mercedes automobiles recently?

by erwin on Sep 13, 2013 11:07 am • linkreport

@erwin

LOL thanks, I needed a laugh this morning.

by MLD on Sep 13, 2013 11:22 am • linkreport

"it is still much higher than the current minimum parking requirements."

that the number of cars per household is higher than the minimum (but which min? it varies by zone)is neither here nor there. Many of the households with high numbers of cars are in places with more than the required number of off street spots, as well as non-scarce on street spots. Whats relevant is the number of vehicles in the dense places where this is an issue.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 13, 2013 11:36 am • linkreport

@AWITC, Average vehicle ownership rates in DC are 0.9 vehicles per household. Vehicle ownership has been steady at this level for a long time.

The current minimum parking requirement for apartments is 0.25 to 0.5 spaces per unit, with lower requirements in denser zones. The proposal in the ZRR is to eliminate minimum parking requirements in a large downtown area, and for the minimum parking requirements slightly less than 0.166 to 0.33 spaces per unit outside that area.

Do you have an area in mind where you think that the vehicle ownership rates are significantly lower than the proposed minimum requirements, or even current minimum requirements? Zoning maps, zoning regulations and Census data on vehicle ownership rates are easily available. I haven’t identified any such neighborhoods, and for all the areas I have pulled the data in all 8 wards including dense places where parking is an issue, the vehicle ownership rates far higher than the current minimum parking requirements. Perhaps you can suggest some specific neighborhoods where the current or proposed requirements might exceed the vehicle ownership rates.

by OtherMike on Sep 13, 2013 12:05 pm • linkreport

I don't see why we'd want to tie our minimums to the number of cars the average household has. Everyone who has a car has a place to park it anyway.

The goal is to have more places to live. One way to do that is not have strict parking minimums. The place where lower or non existent parking minimums will have the lowest impact are the densest neighborhoods. Because even if the households own a car they are using it less than everyday based on commuting data.

by drumz on Sep 13, 2013 12:26 pm • linkreport

In cities, multiunit buildings typically have significantly lower rates of automobile ownership than single family housing, especially in core locations and by transit.

What this likely means is that Single Family Housing has more car ownership on average and multiunits less. Therefore requiring greater levels of parking for multiunit housing doesn't address the reality that SFH is "the problem" in terms of demand and inventory.

That is in fact recognized by the opposition to changes, who are aware of their absorption rate of "public" parking on the streets and they don't want more competition for it.

Again, without more detailed data, such as by household type, ward, level of density, etc. use of averaged data can be very misleading.

by Richard Layman on Sep 13, 2013 12:27 pm • linkreport

Much depends on income and ownership. Upscale condos (vs. rental apartments) can have higher car-ownership rates than some SFH. And the parking minimums for SFH (1:1) are much higher than for multifamily buildings (1:2-4), so it's not as if existing regs don't reflect the dichotomy you're proposing.

Block group census data on car-ownership per HH (differentiated by rental vs. owner-occupied) is available. It gets ignored because it doesn't serve the interests of developers or further OP's agenda.

What's misleading are claims that the number of cars in DC is decreasing and that the % of carless households is increasing as well as the suggestion that DC's current parking minimums systematically overproduce parking.

by BTDT on Sep 17, 2013 7:55 am • linkreport

#Parcel42 was again discussed today at the AIA's #DesignDC conference: http://youtu.be/HtxK7_KFWF4. Apparently ANC6E has not yet withdrawn their parking demands.

by Martin on Sep 26, 2013 7:58 pm • linkreport

Parcel 42 will be discussed again at a public meeting this coming week:

6:30pm, Tuesday, 25 March, 2014
Kennedy Recreation Center (Meeting Room), 1401 7th Street NW

"The District will conduct a public meeting to receive comments on the proposed surplus of Parcel 42. The surplus meeting is held in order to receive feedback from the community on the District’s finding that the property is not required for public purposes. Comments collected at the public meeting will be submitted to the D.C. Council for their review. The surplus meeting is conducted pursuant to D.C. Official Code §10-801. The original meeting was to be held on 3 March 2014, however due to unforeseen weather conditions, the meeting was rescheduled."

Contact:
Ivan Matthews | Real Estate Development Project Manager
Government of the District of Columbia
Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development
1350 Pennsylvania Ave, NW Suite 317 | Washington, DC 20004
(202) 286-8814, Ivan.Matthews@dc.gov

by Martin on Mar 22, 2014 11:03 am • linkreport

youtu.be/TsJ55yxqd2Q

Saturday 26 April 2014

Coalition for Smarter Growth/@BetterDCregion guide's update on 105unit (20% affordable) #Parcel42, breaks ground in 2015
#TenSq #CSGShawTour

by Martin on Apr 26, 2014 3:33 pm • linkreport

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