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: