D.C.’s parking squeeze
Sue Hemberger and Lon Anderson hit home with their Feb. 10 Local Opinions commentary, “D.C.’s plan to make it even harder for you to find a place to park.” In the past few years, parking has become a greater problem in my area of Capitol Hill. When I arrive home after 9 or 10 p.m., I often have to park blocks away and walk through empty streets. So why would the city not require new developments to provide underground parking?
Perhaps we should all pay more for the privilege of street parking — $100 a year, say, instead of $35 — with new revenue dedicated to transit, bike lanes and sidewalk repair. Maybe households with more than one car should pay higher registration fees for the others. And when new development affects residents, developers should be required by law to do their part.
Dale Ostrander, Washington
The District’s Office of Planning proposes to eliminate required parking spaces in “transit zones.” These commercial corridors usually are only a block deep and often are adjacent to residential neighborhoods. More people on the city’s avenues with no additional parking will produce intense competition for spaces on these residential streets.
No one expects to have a reserved space in front of his or her home, but residents should be able to park near their homes when they have groceries, packages, dogs or children, or when there’s bad weather. People are multi-modal. We need to plan so that people find the District an accommodating place to live, whether they are using Metro, driving, biking or walking. An update to the city’s zoning rules is welcome, but it must be done so we meet the goal of “one city” — livable for people of all ages.
Judy Chesser, Washington
The Feb. 7 Local Living article “Squeezed” highlighted the difficulty D.C. residents can have finding parking. As someone who has lived for 20 years without a car in Southwest, I can assure you that the problem is greater than the story indicated.
Service vehicles need parking, too. For example, a neighbor on my block needed space for workers to unload a water heater. There was none to be found, and the serviceman had to return later. I do not know how much my neighbor had to pay for the second trip, but one serviceman informed me that he had to charge me $50 more than he would have if I lived outside the District because his company added the cost of an expected parking ticket to its price.
The future looks even worse for my area. The Zoning Commission approved the removal of eight parking spaces to permit a developer to build a church and a condominium across a narrow street from me. The new condominium will have only 59 parking spaces for 109 units.
Additional “rejuvenation” of Southwest will add only more congestion.
Susie Humphreys, Washington