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DC making DC USA garage free

Tipster Thomas forwarded an email the Mayor's office sent around about the snow:

Photo by zontikgames.
DC USA parking garage will remain free for the next 48 hours: With street parking more scarce during this historic winter weather season, we will continue providing free parking in the over 2,000 space parking complex at the shopping center in Columbia Heights. The DC USA parking center is conveniently located a block from the Columbia Heights metro stop and can provide sheltered parking while ensuring that your vehicle is off of the streets so that we can quickly clear your street and return to normalcy as soon as possible.
The email also reminded residents that you have to clear your sidewalk and asks those who drive to please be careful not to park in ways that block snowplows from accessing streets.
David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. 


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I parked down there today after I got my car uncovered and out... free, and there are tons of spots!

by Bets on Feb 8, 2010 10:07 pm • linkreport

I managed to get to G'town today. I saw a lot of tickets on cars for parking on a "snow emergency route" even tho it is not clearly marked as such (K street under the expressway). I also saw a lot of unplowed sidewalks on the way. I wonder if they are going to ticket for that too, instead of just sending out emails.

by SJE on Feb 8, 2010 10:34 pm • linkreport

I would be really surprised if DC has ever issued a ticket for failure to shovel a sidewalk. Far too many entitled folks and/or a ton of excuses; elderly, out of town, stores out of shovels, no money to pay someone to shovel. Who would enforce it? This is like the bike/bus lanes on 7th St - without enforcement this law basically doesn't exist.

by ontarioroader on Feb 9, 2010 12:48 am • linkreport

Where's the outrage about these externalities not being properly paid for by those who are benefiting?

by Fritz on Feb 9, 2010 2:58 pm • linkreport

the free parking has been extended to Saturday noon.

by RAF on Feb 9, 2010 3:08 pm • linkreport

Context, Fritz.

Given the cost of snow removal on the streets, having people park at DC USA instead of on the street is a positive externality (given that the garage already exists).

by Alex B. on Feb 9, 2010 3:26 pm • linkreport

Could the city feasibly extend this program, and when it sees a big snowstorm on the horizon, offer to rent private/school lots into free public use for a period of 1 week? That could be attractive to many business sectors which are unlikely to even open during snowstorms.

Cleared spaces are an expensive commodity for individual citizens, but not so much for shopping centers.

by Squalish on Feb 9, 2010 5:52 pm • linkreport

Squalish, that's a damn fine plan for the next time we get 40+ inches of snow in a season (every 20 years or so). Will you remember to remind us about this in 2030?

by Thomas Riehle on Feb 9, 2010 8:16 pm • linkreport

@Thomas Riehle,

40+ inches of snow in a season is much more common than that - more like once every 7 years:

And those are records from DCA, which usually has snowfall totals that are much lower than the rest of the city, thanks to its exposed location at sea level, near a large open body of water.

by Alex B. on Feb 9, 2010 8:42 pm • linkreport

I don't normally drive to work in Dupont Circle, but I will have to go to the office for an important meeting on Friday, and I have been wondering what I'm going to do if Metrorail is still underground-only.

Would someone please post the address of this DC USA garage, or perhaps a link to its location on Google Maps? That would help some of us who don't normally drive around the Columbia Heights neighborhood to find the garage. I'm thinking that if I can get from Greenbelt to Columbia Heights by car on Friday, I can get the rest of the way to my meeting on the underground Metro.

Thanks in advance.

by Greenbelt Gal on Feb 10, 2010 9:30 am • linkreport

Greenbelt Gal: It's at the Target (Google Maps link: The parking garage entrances are on Park Road just west of 14th and on Hiatt Place (the street behind the Target).

by David Alpert on Feb 10, 2010 9:40 am • linkreport

Oops, that shortened URL just goes to Google Maps. Here's the real shortened URL for DC USA:

by David Alpert on Feb 10, 2010 11:25 am • linkreport

@ Alex B.
Yikes. Turns out 40+" is a lot of snow.

by Thomas Riehle on Feb 10, 2010 8:35 pm • linkreport

Thanks for the link! Of course, if Metrorail is operating tomorrow with 30-minute headways, I don't know how useful this will be, but we'll just have to see. At some point WMATA is going to have to start bringing those headways closer to normal.

by Greenbelt Gal on Feb 11, 2010 10:34 am • linkreport

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