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.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Councilmember Wells takes on the third rail of local politics: residential parking permit fees

Photo: 3rd Street NW, across from the back side of Coolidge High School. Yesterday there was a track meet there, and some residents clearly were concerned about people parking in front of their houses.

Most of DC's "new" "performance" parking policies focus on charging people more money for parking cars--unles they are a resident and have a residential parking permit. If you have a residential parking permit, the cost is $15/year, for access to spaces worth thousands of dollars.

The city has proposed a modest increase in charges, from $15 to $35 for the first car in a household, $50 for the second car and $100 for each additional vehicle. See the op-ed by Councilmember Wells "A win-win approach to parking " from today's Post. From the article:

Washington confronts a serious residential parking problem. Fortunately for us, charging higher fees for residential parking permit stickers, as I have proposed, can go far toward resolving it — and help us build a more livable and walkable city.

In many neighborhoods, there is not enough parking for every household to use even one space on the street. Yet data show that some households park five, six, seven and even more cars on residential streets. ...

However, sticker rates at $50 or $100 a year would still be far lower than the cost for comparable uses of public space. Consider how much it would cost to get a permit to use a residential parking area for a year for a dumpster ($1,675), a moving container ($3,650), or a moving truck ($18,250). And you can go to Craigslist today and find alley parking spaces advertised for $250 a month — $3,000 a year!

We'll see if it passes. People have a hard time being objective about their entitlement. (Also see "Fraudulent use of disabled parking placards explodes in last decade" from the Los Angeles Times, about how free parking permits are abused by fully-abled people using other people's parking permits to save money. There is a crackdown and misused permits are being seized.)

Meanwhile the transit system charges $200/year for a bike locker.

If DC had a master transportation plan, it would be easier to deal with this and other issues.



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