Ripples from the government pay parking program: Some suburban Maryland residents have had to rent spaces in order to park in front of their own homes. And there could be trouble, perhaps a drive-in or park-in, during June Week ceremonies at the U.S. Naval Academy.
The background: Thousands of federal workers began paying to park at the office last fall. That is when President Carter ordered an end to freebie parking -- for some -- partly to encourage people to car pool. Under the program employes are being charged half the commerical rate to park. Beginning in the fall of 1981 they will pay full fees, based on the going rate for commerical parking in their areas. Fees now being charged range from $12 per month to around $30. That is a lot for people who have never paid, but peanuts for some downtown workers.
From the day the first parking sticker was sold there have been protests from employes, cafeteria boycotts and even picketing at the White House. Some are angry because they have to pay anything. Others complain that agencies with political clout have won exemptions for their employes while others have to pay.
Residents of Washington area neighborhoods near U.S. installations have been sniping at government parkers using their streets -- writing nasty notes, puncturing tires and soaping windows of the interlopers. the parkers, in return, have taken to defending their cars from attacks by angry suburban residents.
Recently residents in the White Oak area of Montgomery County had streets reserved for people who live there. To keep phantom parkers from a nearby Navy installation off their streets, home owners have bought special $5 per year stickers entitling them to park in front of their houses.
At the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis workers are hot under the collar because they are going to have to start paying about $15 per month next month to park. Some don't like the idea of paying. Period. Others say it is unfair since other federal installations nearby are not charging employes to park. They claim state workers get to park free and have free bus service to their offices.
There has been talk of some kind of park-in in June when parents, relatives and dates of graduating Academy seniors descend on Annapolis -- and its 3,000 parking spaces -- for a week-long visit. Big meeting scheduled this week in Glen Burnie by Academy workers. They are demanding equal treatment with other feds in their area . . . or else.