Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Front yards as parking lots: Brookland edition

These houses are on the 700 block of Lawrence Street NE, a couple short blocks from Catholic University. The first house pictured has seven cars in the yard (2 from NJ, and one each from NY, PA, RI, CT, and NC).  The second house pictured has four cars in the yard (3 from NJ, one from NY).
Lots of cars parked in the front yard of a house on Lawrence Street NW, Brookland, near Catholic University

Lots of cars parked in the front yard of a house on Lawrence Street NW, Brookland, near Catholic University

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At 8:47 AM, Anonymous charlie said...

as I mentioned once on GGW, what we are seeing in DC is:

1. Slow reduction in number of automobiles registered
2. Mostly in the number of multiple car households -- as in 6 or 7 cars disappearing.
3. While a minority of "new" residents moving in are going car free, a large number do own one car.

The "new residents" are also being slightly distorted by the number keeping out of state registration - go into the garage of any high end building and there are out of state plates around. For instance, I finally moved last weekend and have no plans to register in DC for several months.

But I do enjoy the subtle insinuation that multiple cars in front of house represent something shady going on.

At 9:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

in Gessford Court we are always having problems with the renters who often come from suburban parts of the USA and have cars- and yet it is not legal to park in t here due to emergency vehicles no tbeing able to get in there- despite this- people who go to the "21" music gatherings often park and block access to houses w/o the police stepping in to ticket- it has become a huge problem for those of us in the alley. We would very much like the cops to step up enforcement but they are extremely lax and often cannot even find our alley on their maps. Still- to this day- in 2013- the DC police cannot find residential alleys on their maps.

At 10:00 AM, Anonymous rg said...

Catholic University students. I am certain they all firmly believe that they NEED a car while attending college. Even though they they are attending college in a dense, walkable city with good transit. And even though they live a stone's throw from campus and a Metro station. Shame on the District for creating the curb cuts in front of those houses that allow this practice and further shame on the District for not ticketing these cars and fining the property owners.

At 10:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

people develop their habits when they are going to high school and off to college- and that is when they are led to beleieve that they NEED to have a car when they really can do without easily- and it saves a huge amount of money for students- yet the administrators still do not inculcate thrifty habits and alternatives in the students
- again we see this same thing in the young renters in our residential alley- we are 5 blocks from metro- we have a corner store with everything and a safeway and eastern market 4 blocks away and yet they still feel they need to have a car...

At 11:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This seems like pretty typical college behavior.

I used to live in a neighborhood about a mile from a university, next door to a single family house that had 5 students living there and, you guessed, it, 5 cars in the driveway. Even though the house was built with a family and 1, maybe 2 cars, in mind, college students don't like to share, hence they each have their own car.

From my experience, DPW doesn't like to touch cars that are illegally parked if there's any argument to be made that the cars are on "private property". This has become an issue in some neighborhoods where people have realized they can park in front of their house, in the "driveway" and block the sidewalk. They know parking enforcement won't touch them, even though this is completely illegal (and obnoxious) because DPW would have to step onto the driveway to place the ticket on the windshield.

At 12:35 PM, Blogger Douglas Andrew Willinger said...

For a more people friendly WDC we need more municipal parking garages.

The David Alpert dogma to reduce parking has no place in planning.

At 1:25 PM, Anonymous Richard Layman said...

This is interesting not because it is per se illegal, but because of how it communicates the point/Charlie makes it too, that there are likely more cars in DC than is reflected in registration data.

2. + the college student issue more generally.

3. What I find most interesting is that cars are being wantonly parked "on front yards" which I thought was illegal.

4. rg's point about the curb cut is important. I thought that a curb cut was more about enabling a driveway and parking on a driveway, not as a means of access to parking over an entire yard.

At 4:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@charlie, Actually, there has not been a slow reduction in the number of vehicles registered. On December 5, 2012, DDOT provided the Zoning Commission (ZC Case 10-23) with the following information from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) on the active vehicle registration numbers at the end of each fiscal year:

2012: 284,905 registered vehicles
2011: 279,787 registered vehicles
2010: 275,043 registered vehicles
2009: 268,974 registered vehicles

Clearly the active vehicle registration numbers show an increasing trend.

At 5:14 PM, Anonymous H Street LL said...

@ Charlie - not changing your registration is illegal. And will certainly invalidate your insurance if you get in to an accident and its found you knowingly deceived the insurance company. Hope you don't mind forkin out a couple hundred k...

At 4:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least parts of Ward 2 (and near AU's campus in Ward 3) require students wanting to bring cars to DC to register said vehicles in DC.
To qualify for a reciprocity permit you must meet the following criteria, have the documents listed below and pay applicable permit fees. If you live on a street zoned for residential parking, as indicated by a two-hour residential restriction sign on your block, you may obtain a residential parking permit (RPP) for an additional fee. Applicants must present the following documents at a DMV Service Center:

Full-time student attending a college or university in District of Columbia
This type of permit is valid for one year and is renewable.

•Statement from registrar's office on the college's or university's letterhead stating that you are a full time student
•Valid out-of-state driver license
•Valid out-of-state vehicle registration with student's name on the registration
•Proof of Insurance with student's name on the insurance as required by the issuing registration jurisdiction.
•Proof of DC residency
Note: DC law prevents students in Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) areas 2A and 2E; 3D01, 3D02, 3D07, 3D08, and 3D10 (area near American University), and ANC 3D06 and 3D09 (Georgetown area) from receiving reciprocity parking permits. Students in these areas must get a DC driver license and register their vehicles in the District in order to be able to park in those areas.

At 5:51 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

but what if you have "off street" parking, which is what these households have, granted not from the rear of the lot which is what we think of as preferred and more typical. When you have off street parking, you don't need a residential parking permit...

At 4:27 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

... of course, if University regulations (and AU might require this) require students to register cars, whether or not they live on campus, then it's a different story.

At 3:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to your comments--I think the universities require registration of vehicles. At the least, GWU does this as part of its campus plan.

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