The bundled bodies trudging to the federal and District offices surrounding the vast, L-shaped parking lot at the Federal Triangle these days are not pleased.
Soon their cars will be barred from the 11-acre sea of space beside the District Building, where construction of the $656 million International Cultural and Trade Center is set to begin.
"It seems like every time you turn around, there's a new building and no place to park," huffed Claudia Ferris, a secretary at the Internal Revenue Service for two years. "It's ridiculous."
"I asked them to transfer me to another job," said Mike Ghods, a computer analyst at the U.S. Commerce Department. "Why do we have to make a building here? We have enough buildings."
Notified a year ago, people working for private firms in the area nevertheless said they dreaded the first day of 1991, when a partial closing gobbled up 500 of the 1,600 spaces in the government-owned lot, affecting all but 1,100 federal or D.C. parking permit holders.
The lot will close completely on Feb. 1, and no one is sure quite where so many cars will park after that.
Thomas Brooks, an IRS contract specialist, said he was unsure what he would do.
He said his agency has been searching for parking spaces for its employees within a two- or three-block radius but has yet to sign a contract.
A spokesman for the Interstate Commerce Commission, which subsidizes 60 spaces beside the District Building, said his agency surveyed its 500 employees and found little interest in its providing an alternative lot, so it circulated a list of nearby lots and prices.
But early one morning during the holidays, the neon sign on the 390-space National Place Parking lot on 13th Street was marked full by 9 a.m., and a worker there said the lot has a 22-person waiting list for monthly spaces, at $150 each.
Carr Park, which owns three nearby lots, said two are rented solid, but a few spaces still may be available at its Metropolitan Square lot at 655 15th St. NW.
Miguel Cumba, manager at Quik Park, with 200 spaces at 1301 Pennsylvania Ave., shook his head.
"A lot of people need a monthly space, but we are full," Cumba said.
Some suburban commuters said they will start riding the subway, although General Services Administration officials said parking is scarce there too, now that an $18 million plan to add 1,500 spaces at suburban Metro lots has been scrapped.
Monthly rates at the Federal Triangle lot have been $175, but parking for federal government employees is subsidized, allowing many agency and law enforcement officials to park for $18 a month.
The GSA was unable to say how many employees are subsidized, but attendants say the lot is usually filled by midday.
The International Cultural and Trade Center, a federal office building and trade pavilion, has long been planned.
Authorization was given in 1987 for what will be the second-largest federal building, after the Pentagon. It is considered the finale to a revitalization effort begun in the 1960s on the strip of Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the Capitol.
The estimated cost, including exhibition halls, theaters, shops, foreign missions and government offices, rose from the initial $362 million to $738 million, until in July the GSA, procurer of government buildings, threatened not to lease the facility.
A new plan shaved $82 million off the building's cost, and the GSA signed a contract allowing development to proceed.
The government will lease the building from a New York developer for 35 years, after which it will own the building.
Officials say the revised plan for the cultural center alters the amount of parking to be provided there from 2,220 spaces to 2,500 smaller spaces.
But none of those spaces will be available until the International Cultural and Trade Center opens in 1995.
And the center itself is expected to draw an additional 8,000 employees to the area.
A group of workers was formed 22 months ago by the GSA to alert affected agencies of the project and its impact on commuter parking.
But an attendant in the lot about to be closed said he has heard grumbling from people accustomed to the low cost and convenience of their sprawling space.
"Many of them were mad, and they were taking it out on us, when we had nothing to do with it," he said.
In fact, he said, he and the 24 other lot employees don't know where they will go after the lot closes, either.