Archive for the ‘parking’ category

Should There Be a Special RPP Zone Around the Georgia Avenue Metro Station?

December 10, 2015
Typical residential parking sign with regular hours of 7 am to 8:30 pm

Typical residential parking sign with regular hours of 7 am to 8:30 pm

On-street parking has long been an issue in the neighborhood, and over the years it has only become harder for residents to park near their residences. Over the past several years, blocks like the 400 blocks of Newton, Otis, and Princeton have all changed from open parking to Residential Permit Parking blocks, leaving few remaining non-RPP blocks in the neighborhood. In 2012 residents in Ward 1 also began to participate in Enhanced Residential Permit Parking which reserved one side of the street for Ward 1 residents only, leaving the opposite side available to non-residents for 2 hours of parking or longer with a visitor’s pass.

However, neither the RPP or Enhanced RPP programs take into account the location of the Georgia Avenue Metro station or the impact it has on area parking. The station is located on the north side of the Ward 1/Ward 4 border, and RPP borders are duel zoned when it comes to RPP. For example, Rock Creek Church Road is the current boundary between Wards 1 and 4. So, when it comes to the RPP Zone designation, that means that border streets as well as the blocks directly north and south of the border all get duel zone designation. The intent was to make parking fair for residents living near Ward borders, but it also potentially opens these streets up to residents from the entirety of two Wards parking there. At the Metro station east of Georgia Avenue, that means that Rock Creek Church Road, Quincy Street, and Quebec Place are all zoned 1/4 and any resident with a Zone 1 or 4 sticker can park on these streets.

Normally, this would not be a problem. However, as stated above, there is a Metro station in this mix … and over the years residents from further north have begun to use these dual zoned streets as commuter parking. I noticed this in 2012 during the Enhanced RPP implementation and things haven’t gotten better since. Most recently, residents frustrated with streets parked up by commuters opposed a Board of Zoning parking variance request for 3701 New Hampshire Avenue due to their concerns that the parking situation would get worse. I appreciate those concerns, yet the opposition to the parking variance request didn’t address the original issue of the area being used as commuter parking.

So the question becomes, has the impact of commuter parking reached a point where DDOT should consider implementing a special RPP Zone around the Georgia Avenue Metro station. Its certainly something I’m going to explore beginning with a request for DDOT to perform a parking study to determine the extent of the problem. The results of that study should provide a clearer understanding of the scale of the issue and suggest appropriate next steps.

Update on 3701 New Hampshire Development

December 3, 2015
Proposed 21-unit building at 3701 New Hampshire Ave, NW.

Proposed 21-unit building at 3701 New Hampshire Ave, NW.

Yesterday, the post-hearing statement for the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) case related to the redevelopment of the former Sweet Mango property was filed (read in full here). The BZA will make a decision on the requested lot coverage and exemption from parking variances on December 8th for the redevelopment of 3701 New Hampshire Avenue NW.

While there were several concerns expressed by those testifying in opposition the the new 21-unit building, the chief concern boiled down to parking and its impact on the surrounding residential blocks. In response to this, the developer is agreeing to restrict residents in the building from participating in the RPP program. The language from the filing is as follows:

The Applicant considered the Board’s request and further studied public comments related to providing an RPP Restriction in the Project. Based upon this, the Applicant is agreeing to restrict application for Residential Parking Permits, although tis transportation consultant found that the Project’s Transporation Demand Management Plan (“TDMP”) is sufficiently robust to address the parking and traffic mitigation concerns on its own and DDOT confirmed the robustness of the TDMP and the Hearing … (although the Applicant believes there will be a chilling effect on the marketability of the Project as a result).

With regards to the requests to relocate the mural, provide additional affordable housing, and local hiring and local retail tenant placement. The statement continues that “such items are typically found in public benefit and amenities packages in Planned Unit Development (“PUD”) applications … and are not applicable to a BZA variance case.” This being the case, the developer restates their commitment to recreating the mural, that they are providing more affordable units than required by law, and is committed to not leasing the retail space to a convenience store.

The case will be decided on December 8th.


Development Plans for 3701 New Hampshire Encounter Opposition in Petworth

October 19, 2015
Proposed development for 3701 New Hampshire Avenue.

Rendering of proposed development for 3701 New Hampshire Avenue.

Last week, the plans to redevelop 3701 New Hampshire Avenue, formerly home to Sweet Mango, encountered opposition from ANC 4C and members of the community. The blow-by-blow of the meeting — described as dysfunctional — is well covered by the Petworth News blog and can be read here. One of the key areas of opposition in that meeting had to do with how the 21-unit building would impact residential street parking.

Last month, ANC 1A also weighed in on the variances required for this project to move forward. Based on the Comprehensive Plan, the goals of the Georgia Avenue Overlay for the corridor, and need for more density and housing in the community, and how the developer is proposing to find solutions to accommodate potential car owners, ANC 1A passed a resolution in support of this development (read here). It is important to note that neither ANC 1A’s support nor ANC 4C’s opposition was unanimous.

It is fair to say that parking is an important issue — and an important quality of life issue. It must also be recognized that no two developments are exactly the same. In the case of 3701 New Hampshire, due to the oddly shaped lot, it just isn’t physically possible to build underground parking on the property, especially to the extent that zoning would require. The property also doesn’t have abutting properties to the north or south within the Georgia Avenue Overlay that would be able to be added to the development making parking possible. Keeping this in mind, along with the property’s close proximity to a Metro station, several bus lines, and a Capital Bikeshare station, there is no reason why this building should not be built. Furthermore, ANC 1A’s request to remove the loading zone and associated curb cut on Rock Creek Church Road as part of their approval should add two on-street parking spaces to the block.

To manage parking, Rooney Properties (the developer) is planning to provide new residents with SmarTrip cards, a bike share membership and car share membership for the first three years. They are also including space for bicycle maintenance and storage within the new building, and the lobby of the building will offer a transit screen that shows the number of bikes available and a real-time Metro train schedule. Rooney Properties is also actively seeking off-street parking options and has noted that several of the recent buildings in the area that have off-street parking are not parked up. They would be willing to provide free parking in these garages to new residents for three years as well.

According to the Petworth News report from the ANC 4C meeting, the following gives an idea of how much off-street parking is available in the immediate area. The Swift apartments (above Safeway) have 70 spots leased of their available 158 spots. The Park Place development has 138 spots leased of their 181 spots, and the 3 Trees Flats has 115 spots leased of their 130 spots. There is a lot of untapped parking potential in these buildings.

But another part of the story that wasn’t part of the ANC 4C discussion — and one important to developing some understanding of the potential hardships the immediate neighbors may face — is how much off-street parking exists in the community. Residents from the 700 block of Rock Creek Church Road were among those expressing concern about the potential impact this development could have on that block, so I took the time to walk the alleys to the north and south of that block to see if any off-street parking existed for these properties currently. What I learned was that 63% of the residential properties on the 700 block of Rock Creek Church Road currently have some form of off-street parking that they are currently using, or have the potential to use. If I include the west side of Warder street, this goes down to 61%. The map below shows the location of the proposed development and all the residential properties that have off-street parking.

3701 New Hampshire parking analysis 2(Map key: Orange=two-car garage; Yellow=one-car garage; Red=four car garage; Dark Blue=two car parking pad; Light Blue=one car parking pad)

(Note: in taking this survey of parking, I did not include a garage if its entrance was bricked in, but did include a garage if the doors were merely boarded up. In one case, I included a single-car garage that was too small for a modern car, but which had a driveway currently used for off street parking).

Here is how the parking on the residential properties represented on the map above breaks down.

  • There are 54 residential properties on Rock Creek Church Road and the west side of Warder Street. 33 of these properties (61%) have off-street parking.
  • 10 residences (18%) have garages.
    • There is 1 four car garage
    • There are 6 two car garages
    • There are 3 one car garages
  • 23 residences (42.5%) have parking pads
    • 6 properties have two car parking pads
    • 17 properties have one car parking pads
Garages and parking pads abound on the north side of the 700 block of Rock Creek Church Road.

Garages and parking pads abound on the north side of the 700 block of Rock Creek Church Road.

Overall, in adding all this up, there are currently 48 spaces on this block for off-street parking. In looking at the south side of the 700 block of Quincy, each residential property there similarly has at least one off-street parking space.

With the amount of off-street parking currently in this area, one starts to question why parking is so tight currently … and based on my observations I believe some (but definitely not all) of this stress is caused by factors other than housing. For instance, the 700 block of Quebec Place and nearby blocks are often stressed due to church parking from the Fisherman of Men Church. I have also witnessed on several occasions residents from further north in Ward 4 using Quebec, Rock Creek Church, and other nearby streets as commuter parking so that they can easily drive, park, and ride Metro. Whether there are solutions to these stresses or not, they certainly aren’t related to development or housing in the immediate community.

Factoring all of this together, I believe that the benefits of the proposed development far outweigh the cons, and that the impact the building may have on parking and the surrounding community will not live up to people’s  worse case scenarios.

DDOT Planning to Increase Parking Meter Time on 3100 and 3200 Blocks of Georgia

June 8, 2015
Soon, the parking meters on the 3100 & 3200 Georgia will be 2 hour meters, like these on Otis Place, NW.

Soon, the parking meters on the 3100 & 3200 Georgia will be 2 hour meters, like these on Otis Place, NW.

Recently, local business owners on the 3100 and 3200 blocks of Georgia advocated to have the time increased on the parking meters, which are currently set at 1 hour of parking. Businesses argued that this was too little time for their patrons, which adversely impacted their businesses.

In response, DDOT evaluated the area around these blocks and found that on the west side of the 3200 b/o Georgia Avenue there are 5 one hour meters installed and 6 meters missing (free Parking) because of new building development. On the east side of the 3200 b/o Georgia Avenue there are 4 one hour meters and 2 missing meters. Additionally in the 3100 block LA Nails, The Tax Services, and MARC also wanted meter time increased.

Due to the initial request and the evaluation findings, DDOT plans to install all missing meters in the 3100 and 3200 blocks of Georgia Avenue. DDOT will convert parking meters from 1 hour to 2 hour parking 7 am-6:30 pm Monday-Saturday because it will help the customers and businesses in the area.

Currently, DDOT is preparing shop orders to install new signage and parking meters and to have parking meters programmed to reflect the new time changes. Moving forward, DDOT will evaluate all of the 1 hour parking along Georgia Avenue, as recommended Georgia Avenue Business Association.

600 B/O Princeton Will Be Part of Residential Parking Permit Program Effective April 16.

March 23, 2015

600 Princeton RPP
(New permit parking sign on the 600 b/o Princeton Place, NW)

If you live on or near the 600 block of Princeton Place, NW, you will have noticed that the signs for residential permit parking have begun to be installed. These north side of the street will be reserved for Zone 1 residents only (or those with visitor passes). During the initial installation, Zone 1 signs were also installed on the southern side of the block, but after alerting the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), I have confirmed that the southern side of the block will have the green and  white 2 hour parking signs allowing visitors to park on that side of the street without a visitors parking pass.

DDOT’s sign crew began the process of fabricating the green and white signs on Friday, March 20, and will install them on Princeton soon. Enforcement will begin on Monday April, 16, 2015. (DDOT notice here).

“Glitch” Sends Out Expired Visitor Parking Passes

December 11, 2014

visitor parking passes(Expired DDOT Visitor Parking Pass receive on December 11, 1014)

District residents have begun to receive their new Visitor Parking Passes only to discover, upon inspection, that the pass mailed out is the 2014 pass, already expired. Even the accompanying letter states that the period covered by the pass is from October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014.

Upon contacting DDOT, it was learned that DDOT is “working with the contractor right now to see where the glitch was, and to correct it as soon as possible.” DDOT currently has no estimate for how long it will be before new passes will be mailed out, or if last year’s passes were mailed to all residents or only a portion of them. DDOT also stated that they “will figure it out and do whatever it takes to fix the situation.”

UPDATE: It appears that residents who registered for a new VPP before the system was set up for 2015 passes received another 2014 pass. Again, according to DDOT: “There were two batches of 2014 passes [though the number is yet unknown] that were recently mailed.  Those individuals / applications will be converted to 2015 passes, and those will be mailed (per the contractor) next week.  If your pass is in this batch, you will receive a 2105 pass.”

You Can Start Requesting Your 2015 Visitor Park Pass

October 3, 2014

Visitor Parking Pass flierAt the end of September, residents with visitor parking passes will have noticed that their 2014 passes expired at the end of the month, yet they hadn’t received their new passes. Like last year, DDOT has extended their use until December 31, 2014.

But unlike last year, if you want a new visitor parking pass for 2015, you have to go to the DDOT Web site and request a 2015 pass. According to the DDOT Web site ( eligible residents can now start pre-registering for their 2015 passes.

The August 22, 2014, DDOT press release explaining some of these changes is below:

DDOT Releases Proposed Rules to Revamp the Visitor Parking Pass Program

(Washington, DC)
 – The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) today announced the publication of proposed rules that will modify the annual Visitor Parking Pass (VPP) program, and clarify the process for eligible households to receive, and use a 2015 visitor parking pass. The rules are open for a 30-day comment period, and DDOT welcomes comments on the proposed regulations.

The VPP program allows guests of District residents to park for more than two hours on residential blocks. The current 2014 passes, which would have expired on September 30, 2014, have been extended, and are valid until the end of the year. Starting January 1, 2015, DDOT proposes that the annual VPP be effective for a calendar year.

These proposed rules will require eligible households (within Wards 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F) to register either online at, or by phone at (202) 671-2700 to receive an annual VPP. The revision to the program will help DDOT better manage the demands, and evaluate program needs going forward. Depending on the outcome of the comment period, DDOT anticipates opening up registration in late October 2014.

Additionally, the proposed rules clarify the privileges and restrictions of a VPP, that it provides temporary residential permit parking privileges to a vehicle, as long as that vehicle displays a valid pass on the driver’s side of the vehicle’s dashboard, and is used only within the ANC boundaries indicated on the pass.

“We appreciate that this has been a popular program in areas that use the passes,” said DDOT Acting Director Matthew Brown. “These regulations will enable us to streamline the program, expand the eligible recipients and improve the management of the program. We encourage the public to weigh in on the rules.”

To view or to comment on the proposed rules, please visit the following website:

Written comments may be sent to  Samuel D. Zimbabwe, Associate Director, District Department of Transportation, 55 M Street, S.E., 5th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20003. However, comments sent to DDOT’s Public Space Policy Office, are encouraged.

Ward 1 Church and Community Summit Tonight at 7 p.m.

June 10, 2014

There is a community summit tonight for those interested in parking in Ward 1 among other things. In attending a pre-summit discussion, many local pastors will be in attendance and I know that church parking, in particular, tends to be a topic of much discussion. I don’t have much information beyond the flyer below … but it sounds like it could be an interesting event.

Ward 1 Church and Community Summit Flyer

New Zipcar Station on Otis & Georgia

April 11, 2014

I noticed the other day that the two metered spaces on the south side of Otis Place, just east of Georgia Avenue, have been converted to zipcar spaces. I didn’t see any Zipcars there yet, but hope to see them soon. Readers may recall that Zipcar was looking for a place to add two new stations to the area back in February 2013. This was the result.

Zipcar Station Otis

DC USA Church Parking Pilot Program to Begin This Month

April 4, 2014
DC USA parking entrance on Park Road.

DC USA parking entrance on Park Road.

At long last, church goers in the Columbia Heights area may finally get to park in the garage at DC USA for a reduced rate. A pilot program to do just this was presented before ANC 1A back in January 2013. Since then, there had been no updates. But, after doggedly requesting updates on this pilot I was finally informed that the parking pilot would begin in April 2014, and perhaps be in place by April 6th.

The pilot program, with the approval of the District’s parking committee, is being coordinated with four local churches where reduced rate parking will be provided to their parishioners on Sundays. On Sundays between 7:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. participants in the Sunday Parking program will be able to park for up to four hours at a rate of $3.00.

Initially, the District was approached with a request for reduced rate parking by St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church (1525 Newton St, NW), Shrine of the Sacred Heart (3211 Sacred Heart Way, NW), All Souls Church (1500 Harvard St.), and Kelsey Temple Church of God (1435 Park Rd.). Sacred Heart will facilitate the program on behalf of all the Faith-based institutions.

Opening up the DC USA garage for church parking on Sunday will greatly assist in balancing the parking needs between residents and the Columbia Heights Faith-based community.

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