On December 7, 2012, Councilmember Cheh convened an Enironment, Public Works, and Transportation Committee Oversight Roundtable on Residential Parking Testimony. ANC 3B provided testimony for this hearing. The testimony can be seen below.
Councilmember Cheh and members of the Council: on behalf of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3B, representing Glover Park and Cathedral Heights, we wish to thank you for holding this roundtable and to offer the views of our ANC on parking in our neighborhood.
No issue has been more controversial for a longer period of time in Glover Park and Cathedral Heights than parking. We have heard complaints about lack of parking for years, and these concerns show no signs of abating.
In response to these concerns, and in an effort to develop consensus to work with DDOT towards a more comprehensive solution to our neighborhood parking needs, last year we conducted a survey of our entire community.
We learned that:
- There is a broad demand for change. Parking shortages are acute, and have an adverse impact on quality of life. Over 70% of survey respondents in Glover Park and Cathedral Heights expressed a desire for change…but views varied on the exact changes necessary.
- Parking by non-District or non-Ward 3 residents during periods when parking is scarcest – in the evenings after 8 PM – is viewed as being a significant problem that takes away parking spaces from residents who need them. On some nights, as many as 30% of overnight parkers in our community have out-of-state or non-Ward 3 parking stickers.
- Residents view parking for visitors (including contractors, nannies, home health care providers, etc.) as an important need – but also raised significant concerns about abuse of visitor parking passes. For example, one permanent visitor-parking pass is sent to each home in our community. In numerous cases, these passes have been sold online, or appear to have simply been given to individuals who live in the community but use them for months at a time because they do not register their cars in the District
To address these concerns, we offer the following recommendations.
- Parking restrictions should be modified to address the differing concerns of each neighborhood. For example, the RPP program in Glover Park and Cathedral Heights restricts parking during weekday, daytime hours. But these restrictions fail to address the biggest problems with parking in our neighborhood, which occur at night on weekdays and weekends. A solution unique to our community should address these problems.
- Enforce parking rules aggressively, and enforce them twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Parking problems in our neighborhood do not disappear during off-hours. Neither should enforcement. For example, one potential solution that could reconcile the concerns about out-of-District parkers with the need to allow visitors (dinner guests, partygoers, etc.) to park would be late-night RPP restrictions, from, say 12 PM to 7 AM. But we have been told by DDOT that this cannot be done because DDOT parking enforcement officials do not work nighttime hours. This makes little sense. Parking rules and constant enforcement of RPP and ROSA restrictions – at night – are needed to address concerns about non-residents parking in scarce Glover Park and Cathedral Heights spots.
- Address concerns with visitor parking passes. Make it easy to get passes for specific needs, but take steps to curb abuse. Consider an approach that allows residents to easily get visitor passes online or over the phone, but track the use of visitor passes so that they cannot be abused. Reconsider the approach of giving each home a visitor-parking pass that can be easily sold or given away for semi-permanent use.
- Create new parking spaces where possible. While working with DDOT, we looked for fresh opportunities to create new parking spots. For example, we identified approximately 30 new spots on Calvert St. that were previously “No Parking” zones. After working with DDOT, we determined that those spots would be suitable for parking during non-rush hours, and they are now available to residents. We await similar actions on Tunlaw and Fulton Sts., and hope that DDOT will address these areas soon. While this approach cannot solve all of our city’s parking problems, it is likely that there are usable, but non-marked parking spots in other parts of Ward 3 and DC.
- Remember the importance of public transit and effective long-term planning as an approach to help manage parking problems. Regardless of what steps are taken by DDOT or the Council, a shortage of parking spaces in our community will be a constant problem. It is critical that District officials recognize this fact and support options that allow community members to live without owning automobiles. Without sufficient public transportation options, which are seriously lacking in Glover Park and Cathedral Heights, this is an impossibility – neighborhood residents will be unable to manage without a car. Our community has a problem with access to public transit that is unique to Ward 3 – it is a densely populated townhouse and apartment neighborhood, enclosed by Glover Archbold Park, with finite parking spots, no Metro access and only one bus line (D1/D2) serving the interior of the community. We urge you to support buses, car sharing programs, Bikeshare, and long-term plans to bring more public transit to Glover Park and Cathedral Heights because each person that chooses to live without a car creates one more parking space for those that choose to drive. In this case – and many others – the interests of car owners and non-car owners are perfectly aligned.
We also wish to address one additional significant concern. Some of our Ward 3 neighbors are advocating an approach of reducing the size of RPP zones; these plans would restrict RPP parking around Ward 3 metro stations in Cleveland Park, Van Ness, Tenleytown, and Friendship Heights to only those residents that live very close to those stations. This would be a significant change from current policy where all Ward 3 residents can park in any RPP area within Ward 3. This change would restrict access to metro stations for the residents of our community, reduce property values, and cause significant problems for Glover Park and Cathedral Heights residents who commute by Metro.
Glover Park and Cathedral Heights residents pay the same taxes and have the same transit needs as other Ward 3 residents, yet we lack the same access to Metro. The bus line that used to transport residents of Glover Park and Cathedral Heights who live farthest from Wisconsin Avenue to the Tenley Metro was recently eliminated, leaving an entire area with no option but to walk a half-mile or more uphill to Wisconsin Avenue or use a car. Glover Park and Cathedral Heights residents should not be denied access to parking that other Ward 3 residents enjoy.
We stand by all of our Ward 3 neighbors in efforts to ensure that parking in our city is prioritized for residents of our city; but we will aggressively oppose any plan that reduces access to Metro and needlessly divides Ward 3 and our “One City” into smaller and smaller subzones.
Thank you for your efforts to address par king concerns in our community and citywide.
Ben Theilen, ANC 3B Commissioner (N. Glover Park)
Jackie Blumenthal, ANC 3B Commissioner (E. Glover Park)
Charles Fulwood, ANC 3B Commissioner (W. Glover Park)
Brian Cohen, ANC 3B Commissioner (S. Glover Park)
Mary Young, ANC 3B Commissioner-Elect (Cathedral Heights)
Joe Fiorillo, ANC 3B Commissioner-Elect (N. Glover Park)