With resident parking rules being enforced in several Washington neighborhoods, city officials are beginning to worry that the "ripple effect" may turn the whole city into one huge restricted zone.
The ripple occurs when commuters, barred from one neighborhood, begin parking in adjacent neighborhoods, creating the problem all over again in a new area, said Councilman Jerry A. Moore (R-at large), who is chairman of the council transportation committee.
In an effort to combat the problem on a stopgap basis, the D.C. City Council has voted to add 65 blocks in five neighborhoods to the areas where commuter parking is banned.
Before taking the action, several council members voiced concern over some problems created by the bans and the extent and nature of future restrictions. They agreed to consider the matter early next year.
"Where will it end - with the whole city being residential parking?" Council chairman Sterling Tucker asked rhetorically.
Tucker added, however, that he saw no alternatives to the stopgap expansion of the restricted zones as proposed by the city's transportation department.
"I think the whole Program is going to run into some very severe problems," Tucker said. "There concept is good, but its implementation may kill it."
Under the parking program, similar to one in Arlington that recently was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, residents of a neighborhood can petition the D.C. Department of Transportation to impose restrictions on nonresident cars.
If a neighborhood meets established criteria - cheifly that there will be heavy impact from all-day commuter parking - signs are posted limitimg daytime parking for outsiders to two hours. Residents buy a windshield sticker for $2 allowing them to unrestricted parking.
Under existing rules, residents on a block who do not petition for a restricted zone cannot exclude all day parkers from the block.
Council member David A. Clarke (D-One) has introduced a bill to change that policy. Under his proposal, the Transportation Department would establish the outer boundaries of a parking zone when an entire neighborhood petitions for the restrictions; residents of any block could petition to be exempted.
Council member John A. Wilson (D-Two) said the present system spawns more than one "weird little problem."
For example, a resident on an exempted block who cannot find a parking space on that block is prohibited from buying a parking sticker allowing him to park on another block in his own neighborhood.
Similarly teachers and others employed in restricted neighborhoods cannot park near their jobs, even if transit commuting is unavailable or unsuitable.
"We need a total evaluation of this program," Wilson said, to see "whether the total population isn't being abused."
Wilson's ward includes the downtown area, where no commuter parking restrictions have been imposed, but where there are time limits for most curbside parking that apply to all cars and are strictly enforced by the police.
Following is a list of blocks the council voted to add to restricted zones, which will be enforced as soon as signs are posted:
FRIENDSHIP HEIGHTS NW - 41st Street, 4900; Garrison Street, 3800; Gramercy Street, 3800; Morrison Street, 3800.STWALTER REED NW - 8th Street, 7400; 9th Street, 7100; Dahlia Street, 900; Hemlock Street, 1400, 1500; Roxanna Road, 1300, 1500; Georgia Avenue, 6800, 7000, 7100.
FOXHALL VILLAGE NW - Indian Rock Terrace, 4500; Charleston Terrace, 4600.
GLOVER PARK NW - 36th Street, 2500, 2600, 2700; 36th Place, 2600; U Street, 3600, 3700; Davis Street, 3600; Edmunds Street, 3500, 3600; Fulton Street, 3500.
SHERIDAN-KALORAMA NW - 19th Street, 1900, 2100; 20th Street, 2400; T Street, 1500, 1800; Cliffbourne Place, 2500; Columbia Road, 1800, 1900, 2000; Ontario Place, 1800.
CAPITOL HILL NE - E Street, 700; 4th Street, 300; 10th Street, 200; 19th Street, 300; Maryland Avenue, 1800; Constitution Avenue, 1900.
CAPITOL HILL SE - A Street, 900; C Stree, 800; E Street, 200, 700, 1400; G Street, 1000, 1200; 3d Street, 0, 4th Street, 700; 5th Street, 700; 8th Street, 0; 9th Street, 100; 10th Street, 300; 15th Street, 500; 16th Street, 700; 18th Street, 300; Independence Avemue, 900, 1200; North Carolina Avenue, 0; South Carolina Avenue, 1100; Kentucky Avenue, 500.