Archive for the ‘parking’ category

Small Business Parking Bill Scheduled for June Hearing

June 5, 2017

UPDATE (6/5/2017) 2:21 pm: The bill has been withdrawn from consideration for the Committee’s hearing on June 21.

Enhanced parking sign limiting parking to area residents only.

The Small Business Parking Permit Act of 2017 has been scheduled for a hearing before the DC Council’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment. The hearing will take place at the Wilson Building on June 21, 2017, in Room 500 beginning at 1 p.m.

The bill was introduced on February 21, 2017, by at-large Councilmember Robert White, Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, and Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd.

ANCs 1A, 1B, 1C, and 2F as well as the Kalorama Citizens Association, voted to oppose this legislation which proposes to extend RPP parking privileges to businesses with 10 employees or fewer that are located where they abut a block designated for residential permit parking. Qualifying businesses would be allowed to receive a parking pass for each employee to park on residential streets.

Anyone wishing to testify before the committee should contact Ms. Aukima Benjamin, Staff Assistant to the Committee on Transportation and the Environment, at (202) 724-8062 or via e-mail at abenjamin(at)dccouncil(dot)us.

DDOT Changing Dumpster Requirements

May 8, 2017

On Thursday, May 4th, DDOT announced that they were making some changes to the requirements for use of dumpsters. The full news release with details is below. I’m happy to see that DDOT is incentivizing the use of smaller dumpsters and limiting the number of parking spaces that can be used per dumpster.  I still think that the District undercharges permit holders for the use of public space in high demand areas, a position I took as part of a resolution I introduced at ANC1A back in July 2015.

DDOT Announces New Requirements for Roll-off-Debris Containers

(Washington D.C.) The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Public Space Regulation Administration is revising requirements for the use of roll-off-debris containers. These requirements will appear in the Transportation Online Permitting System (TOPS) effective May 19th, 2017.

The new TOPS module will include permit application requirements and the Public Inconvenience Fee (PIF) for larger roll off debris containers on roadways that are designated for Residential Parking Permits.

The new requirements offer an incentive to use smaller containers, which reduce the number of parking spaces affected by use of the containers. Under the new requirements one container will be approved for individual use.

Key enhancements in the new Roll-of-Debris Container module include:

  • Display Height, Length, and Width of containers on issued permits
  • Limit the number of parking spaces occupied by a roll-off-debris container to one (1) parking space for smaller containers and two (2) parking spaces for larger containers
  • Charging the PIF for larger containers that are in place longer than 30 calendar days
  • Additional application review if roll-off debris containers adversely impact parking in residential neighborhoods, or violate public space regulations

No new roll-off-debris container permit applications or renewals will be accepted after May 11, 2017 pending the roll-out of the new module. All roll-off-debris container applications or renewals submitted on or after May 19, 2017 will comply with the new permitting requirements and PIF charges.

DDOT’s new TOPS enhancement is designed to ensure that the impact of roll-off-debris containers in residential areas is reduced, while still allowing this necessary element of the construction process.

The new requirements address concerns raised by residents and reflect input from stakeholder engagement with the development and contracting communities.

For more information about DDOT’s Public Space Regulation Administration please contact (202) 442-4670 or click TOPS (www.tops.ddot.dc.gov) to access the online permitting system.

ANC1A Votes to Oppose DC Council’s Small Business Parking Bill

March 13, 2017

Enhanced parking sign limiting parking to area residents only.

On March 8, 2017, the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) that represents Park View and northern Columbia Heights voted unanimously to oppose Council Bill 22-0125 that would expand access to the residential parking permit program (RPP) for small businesses having 10 employees or fewer that abut residential RPP blocks. Small business would pay the same annual $35 per pass rate that residents currently pay. The bill was introduced by Councilmembers Robert White (at-large), Brianne Nadeau (Ward 1), and Brandon Todd (Ward 4) on February 21, 2017. The bill had no co-sponsors and has been referred to the Committee on Transportation and the Environment.

The resolution passed by ANC1A identified the following areas that the legislation does not address:

  • the high demand for parking on public residential streets that currently exists in Ward 1;
  • how small business parking permits would be managed within the context of Ward 1’s enhanced RPP program; and,
  • if small businesses would be permitted to participate in the RPP program if they are located in new buildings where residents have been denied participating in the RPP program through restrictive covenants.

More broadly, the bill raises questions of equity and fairness. Currently, large developments that are unable to provide off-street parking are restricting their future residents from participating in the RPP program, suggesting that local streets are already at capacity with no space remaining for new residents. If participation in the RPP program is extended to out-of-District employees of business, does this set a precedent to other out-of-District employees such as teachers, police officers, firemen, etc.. Lastly, there is not indication that there any consideration was given for limited use of metered parking space on commercial corridors for employees. In any case, there certainly was no outreach from the Council to ANC1A prior to the introduction of the bill.

ANC1A will continue to be engaged on this issue as it is reviewed by the Council. On Wednesday, the ANC voted to oppose the Small Business Parking Permit Act of 2017 as it found the bill as introduced to be lacking an equitable balance for both businesses and residents. The approved ANC resolution identified a number of areas of concern, some being that it:

  • promotes a greater overall reliance on automobiles;
  • offers no rational for extending parking benefits to non-District residents;
  • does not audit the current availability of on-street parking or require DDOT to perform a transportation impact study on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis throughout the District of Columbia; and,
  • does not take into account the deeply subsidized fee currently extended to District residents when setting the fee for small business parking.

The full resolution is below:

Could Bioretention Bulbouts Increase Safety and Parking at Park Place and Quebec?

February 8, 2017

Recently I began thinking about how to improve safe access to the small triangle park at Rock Creek Church Rd. and Park Place after a neighbor asked if it would be possible to close the street or add speed bumps to the small section of Park Place that directly abuts the neighborhood on the west of the park. After giving it much though, I think the best solution would be to add a few bioretention bulbouts to the area. However, it would require buy-in from the neighbors and a lot of sustained advocacy from the community. Below is a quick and dirty illustration that conveys the idea.

park-place-bump-outs(Areas outlined in green could be reconfigured as bioretention bulbouts, adding additional green infrastructure and calming traffic.)

The main problem with Park Place minor as it is configured today is that cars using this street take little heed for pedestrians and others as they travel from Rock Creek Church Road to Park Place major. The street is necessarily wide, and the crosswalk and stop sign at the southern end are set back, so as that anyone stopping at the stop sign is too far back from the road to see traffic on  Park Place major. Driver that do stop have to creep to the end of the street to see oncoming traffic — both cars and cyclists in the bike lanes — and this is if they stop at all. Frequently, drivers on this small stretch fail to stop at the stop sign and do a rolling stop as they turn to head south.

Closing the street doesn’t seem to be a good solution either, as the residents who live on the street would lose three parking spaces and it would make it necessarily difficult for delivery vehicles, moving vans, fire trucks, and ambulances to serve the these houses.

Strategic placement of bioretention bulbouts could narrow the entrance and exit of the street to a single lane. The benefit of this is that is would calm traffic and make the crosswalks shorter (and safer) to cross. A bulbout on the southern end of the triangle park would remove one parking space, increasing viability and safety for drivers and cyclists … and the bulbout on the southern end could be configured to add street parking by one to three spaces depending upon configuration.

The only significant down side I see is cost, so there would need to be both consensus among the neighbors most impacted and a sustained advocacy.

Perhaps the way to “sell” this to DDOT, DOEE,& the Council would be to bundle a number of these smaller projecting into a pilot program.

Banning New Developments From Participating in Residential Parking Program Is Destined to Fail

August 8, 2016

700 block of QuebecA few readers have reached out to me regarding Urban Turf’s coverage of whether or not bans on residential parking permits (RPP) at select new residential developments is enforceable. On July 28th, Urban Turf received the following from DDOT confirming that there is no enforcement from DDOT or DMV when it comes to such properties.

“When residents apply for an RPP, DDOT and the Department of Motor Vehicles may not be aware of a contractual agreement between a landlord and tenant. There is no self-exemption process under current regulations, thus eligible residents applying for RPPs may receive them. The current exemption clauses being proffered during the zoning process are to be enforced between the developer, landlord, and any future tenants.”

While some found this surprising, I did not. I have long be of the opinion that buildings banning participation in the RPP program in exchange for providing the number of parking spaces required by zoning was a house of cards. During my time on ANC1A, we have reviewed several developments seeking relief from the amount of parking required by zoning. The Commission has supported some requests and opposed others. However, there has only been one instance where the developer proposed denying residents of the future building from participating in RPP parking. The project in question was considered by the ANC on October 8, 2014, and is destined for 3619 Georgia Avenue (southeast corner with Princeton).

The ANC opposed the requested parking relief even after the attorneys told us that the owner would voluntarily deny residents from RPP participation. While this seemed like a reasonable trade off to some, it did not sway my position precisely because I believed that 1) such an arrangement would be unenforceable, and 2) that denying residents access to the RPP parking would be illegal.

In addition to the latest news that neither DDOT nor DMV has a mechanism to enforce such exclusion from the parking program, I also believe that even if these agencies were able to track and enforce parking restrictions that such enforcement could be illegal — especially in Ward 1 where denying residents from participating in the RPP program is contrary to D.C. Law 18-240, which states that “Any resident owning a vehicle registered at an address on a Ward 1 residential block may be granted a Zone 1 residential parking sticker.”

In short, buildings that may agree to not participate in the RPP program in exchange for relieve from parking requirements are only kicking the can down the road. They may be able to prevent residents from obtaining parking permits in the short term, but eventually the house of cards will come tumbling down. There are good reasons to support parking relief, and there are good reasons to oppose parking relief, but in either case we should not fool ourselves that exempting a building from participating in the RPP program is a long-term solution that is sustainable.

 

DC Snow Emergency Begins at 9:30 am, Friday — Parking Available at DC USA

January 21, 2016

Mayor Bowser has declared a snow emergency starting at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow, Friday, January 22. This means starting at 9:30 a.m. parking will be prohibited on emergency snow routes in the city (see map below), which include Georgia Avenue, 16th Street, U Street, and parts of Park Road, Kenyon, Irving, Columbia, Harvard, Florida and 9th in Ward 1.

Once the Official Snow Emergency goes into effect on Friday, then DC USA will allow nearby residents to use the parking facility for the price of $1 per day. According to DPW, upon arrival residents will receive a ticket and have their name and license plate information recorded by a U Street attendant. On their departure, the resident will present the same ticket received in order to get the discounted parking rate. Once the emergency has been lifted, any residents still using parking in the garage will be charged the difference, at the standard rate, for the time they were in the garage.

Snow emergency route map

Visitor Parking Passes Begin Arriving, Register to Get Yours

December 29, 2015

The 2016 visitor parking passes began arriving by mail over the weekend. Unlike previous years, residents must request them from DDOT to receive them. Registration for the VPP began on December 1, 2015 and will be open until December 1, 2016. Registeration for the 2016 VPP began on December 1, 2015 and will be open until December 1, 2016. More information on the VPP program can be found at the DDOT VPP page.

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