Thousands of federal workers and other suburban auto commuters will get a jolt Aug. 1. That is the day the neighborhood parking ban goes into effect in Georgetown, Foxhall Village and Burleigh. All three Northwest Washington neighborhoods are favorite free daytime parking areas for individual drivers and car-pools. After finding a spot, people either walk to work or catch buses to agencies or offices downtown.
When the Aug. 1 ban goes into effect, only residents of those areas who have the proper sticker (it costs $5) will be able to park as usual. Anybody without a neighborhood resident sticker - and this includes District residents - will be subject to ticketing if they park in one spot for more than two hours.
The constitutionality of all neighborhood parking bans has been challenged. The case now is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. Earlier this year the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to put public parking spots in neighborhoods off limits to anyone.
That action came when suburban Virginia authorities tried to ban non-residential parking in the Crystal City-National Center area. That was a blessing to local residents (and to local parking-lot owners, too) until the Virginia Supreme Court killed it.
Now people are parking on public streets again, pending a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that is at least a couple of months away. Meanwhile, D.C. plans the parking crackdown beginning Aug. 1.
The fight to block the communter parking ban has been run largely by a group of local federal employees. They raised money for the legal figth, arguing that public transportation is poor, and free or modestly priced parking spaces are not available.
Henry Itkin, a Navy worker who heads the group called Commuter Supreme Court Defense Fund, handles the fund-raising and publicity for the organization. The group has printed flyers that they've put on cars in the Georgetown-Burleigh area. They warn people," This Parking Space Has Been Eliminated," and explained the situation.Some Georgetowners have struck back, putting leaflets on commuter cars urging - sometimes in very strong terms - that they find other places to park.
It's an emotional issue. If a man's home is his castle, then some people feel the parking space in front of it is part of the castle grounds. Itkin has had many, many rude to obscene calls about the parking fight at home and work, as well as inquiries from commuters who want to know where to send money for the legal defense fund. His home number is 468-0487 he says, with mixed emotions. But he'd rather hear from people in care of the Defense Fund, 13122 WhippoorwillLa., Rockville, 20852.