When Rachel Greenberg got a $20 ticket for parking in front of her house on Tunlaw Road NW, she realized she had never renewed her parking sticker. She also was sure it was a simple mistake she could rectify easily.

She paid the fine, but enclosed with the payment a letter to the D.C. Department of Traffic Adjudication explaining that she hadn't received her residential parking renewal form in the mail this year.

She figured that because it was the city's mistake, she might even get her payment back, along with the form.


She didn't get either.

In the interim, she knew she could apply for a visitor's parking permit through the D.C. police, who normally issue the two-week permits to visitors to the city.

Six weeks and three more trips back for another temporary permit later, she said, she was ready to form a support group when she finally received her official parking sticker.

"It's totally disorganized," Greenberg said of the city's permit system.

"They are raising {parking ticket} revenue while they are getting the system's forms."

Days before her sticker arrived, the police had warned that she could get no more temporary permits, so she went to the D.C. Bureau of Motor Vehicle Services at 616 H Street NE to try to get assistance.

There, in a long line, she said, she met dozens of other frustrated car owners from all of the District's eight wards complaining of the same problem.

Not one this year had received their residential parking permit renewal or the renewal application that usually is sent about the same time every year.

The problem is not part of any sinister plan to annoy D.C. residents, Public Works Department spokeswoman Tara Hamilton said.

Hamilton said the city is working to merge parking sticker and vehicle registration applications into one process.

The project should be completed by early next year, she said.

"We aren't perfect," said Bureau of Motor Vehicle Services chief Larry Greenberg. He said that most residents are receiving renewal notices and applications on time and blamed any glitches on an ongoing changover from a manual mailing system to an electronic one.

"You're talking about 25,000 pieces of mail," Greenberg said.

Hamilton also said city workers this year have not noticed more complaints than usual from residents about renewal applications.

And although Jenette Rivera, of Foxhall Village, said busy people "end up relying on {the city} to let you know" when renewals are due, Hamilton said the city considers sending the applications to be a courtesy, and that the burden is on the car owner to remember to renew.

"In all honesty, we know sometimes a piece of mail does not go to an individual," Hamilton said.

For people with questions or complaints, Hamilton said, the District has a 24-hour hot line they can call for information. The number is 202-727-6680.

During business hours, callers can be put in touch with an operator at the Bureau of Motor Vehicle Services for assistance.