>Free Parking Even at Meters


I took a tour last week in the performance parking district (PDF). I was looking for blocks where the street signs posted do not match the proposed pilot area map (PDF). I’ll be putting up observations on a map as I go on. Green is free or unenforced parking, blue is paid parking.

View Larger Map

The thing that really struck me was that there is basically no enforcement at meters in this parking district. All along K Street SE from South Capitol Street to First Street SE, as well as on Half Street from K to I Street, and on first from I to L Streets SE, there are performance parking meters, which are supposed to be charging a price based on occupancy. The only problem is, not a single one of the cars observed there was showing a pay-and-display receipt to prove that the fee had been paid. The few cars I did see with a receipt were displaying a receipt that had expired by days. To ensure that this was not because the meter was broken, I purchased a quarter’s worth of parking from meter 011001SE and got a receipt. This was the only area I specifically was looking to see if P&D receipts were being shown. If I looked elsewhere it’s likely that I’d see the same thing.

I could have written tickets all day long, at least 30 or 40 in the short time I was there. I think that if DC wanted to start writing tickets right now, it would be more humane to give warnings for a week, but on the other hand, people know what parking meters are and that you generally have to pay for parking at a meter. I’m guessing that since no one had a receipt at all, the word had gotten out over a period of at least a few weeks with no enforcement.

Based on 100% occupancy at meters on K St SE, you would think that the price is too low and should be raised in order to reach the 80-90% target occupancy goal. However, with absolutely no enforcement, it’s hard to make that conclusion.

DDOT has told me that a contractor will be helping with an occupancy study to set meter rates appropriately. If DC wants accurate data for the performance parking district, then meter and parking restriction enforcement have to be made more consistent. Otherwise the data collected is not going to be worth much.


About perkinsms

I'm an engineer and father interested in transit, parking and economics.
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3 Responses to >Free Parking Even at Meters

  1. Shaun says:

    >I know that on K Street between NJ and 2nd you don’t have to pay the meter because it’s not working. They haven’t even turned it on or wired it up yet. There are a bunch of these meters around the area like that. Many residents have gotten tickets and have gotten out of them for this reason. As for Canal street. That free parking is most likely for the DC trash workers. since they have no parking lots. Many people park there just don’t park on the grass or you will get a ticket. I really don’t think there is a major parking problem in the capitol riverfront area. The only time I had a problem was opening night of Nationals park when they didn’t have a losing record (0-0). I think they should just turn on the meters and let it be.

  2. Michael says:

    >I’ve seen the non-working meter on K street and mentioned it to DDOT staff. If DC wanted to provide free parking for DC sanitation workers, they probably should have included that in the performance parking plan as a special permit. DDOT presented a map to the DC Council and their staff as a proposal, now they’re not following the proposal. I agree that on non-game days there really isn’t a parking problem. The meters should not be charging $1.00 for the first hour and $1.50 for additional hours, and there should not be a three hour time limit.I think the meters on K, half and first should probably be closer to $0.50 per hour, unlimited time, and actually enforced so we could see what the real price should be.As long as it’s not enforced, we’re never going to get real information on pricing, and DC won’t realize any revenue to provide transportation improvements.

  3. Michael says:

    >Shaun:After looking again at the area around the trash transfer station, I don’t buy that Canal Street is being reserved for or used by trash workers, or that such a use is desirable or consistent with DC’s stated policy.First, the performance parking plan map has the street controlled with RPP. This is inappropriate for the area, but it is what was proposed.Second, if you look at the satellite view of the area around the trash transfer building, there is employee parking available on-site, as well as on the frontage road off of NJ ave. Additionally, there are at least three Metrobus lines coming through that area (V, P and N22 lines) as well as the Blue/Orange line at Capitol South and the Green Line at Navy Yard.There are commuter lots available for paid parking off-street at Canal Street, 3rd and K Street and others.There’s no need for Canal Street to be reserved for trash workers.

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