D.C. Limits Parking to Promote Bicycling and Transit

As part of a broader effort to encourage less vehicular traffic city-wide, D.C. is expanding permit parking and reducing on-street parking in some of the city's most crowded neighborhoods. Not all are happy with the changes, reports Tim Craig.

2 minute read

November 27, 2012, 6:00 AM PST

By Jessica Hsu

In rapidly developing neighborhoods such as Columbia Heights, Adams Morgan, and the U Street Corridor, the D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT) is eliminating half of visitor parking spaces on weekdays to make sure there is enough parking for residents. "There are only so many parking spaces on streets, and eventually there is going to be a time when the numbers don't add up anymore or demand way overexceeds supply and we have a problem," said Angela Rao, manager of the District's parking and streetlight program. DDOT is also considering community requests to extend this restriction over the weekend in congested Ward 1 neighborhoods.

Other transit changes to come include creating bicycle lanes and setting aside hundreds of metered parking spaces for the disabled. "The restrictions are a slice of a city strategy to promote bicycling and mass transit while increasing the odds that residents can find parking," explains Craig.

Concerns have been voiced by council member Marion Barry who said, "We need bike lanes, but we also need parking," and Craig points out that "the new regulations could add more confusion to the array of parking restrictions that at times baffle even DDOT officials." However, Mayor Vincent C. Gray has set a goal of having 75 percent of all trips in the city take place on foot, bicycle or public transportation by 2032. His communications director Pedro Ribeiro said, "It's not just about creating as much parking as possible. The city is growing, and if every single one of these new residents had a car, there wouldn't be enough parking for everyone, so the idea is to build neighborhoods where you don't need a car."

From the opposing view, resident Anita Taliferro Swanson and her husband Gregory Swanson doubt that the changes will improve parking problems and create walkable communities. She said, "We remember when everyone promised the construction of Metro would cause parking to get better. But how are you going to tell people in America to give up their car?"

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