On Nov. 28 I spent the day at 301 C St. NW, obtaining a D.C. driver's license and title, tags and registration for my vehicle from the D.C. Bureau of Motor Vehicle Services. I also wanted to find out about a residential parking sticker/permit.
While I was at the title and tags window, I asked the clerk about a residential parking sticker. The clerk's response was that the 700 block of G Street SE, my block, was "unzoned" and I couldn't get a permit.
What could I do then, I asked, to avoid a ticket if I couldn't find parking on my unzoned block and had to park in a zoned area? The clerk said that if I received signatures from 80 percent of the residents on my block, I could get it zoned.
One week later, my parking concern became a reality. I came home one evening after using my car for only 20 minutes to find no parking space on my unzoned block. I had to park across the intersection in front of 649 G St. SE in Zone 6. The next morning I found a ticket on my windshield for not having a residential parking permit.
This parking permit policy for residents of unzoned blocks is ridiculous, unfair and ineffective. I presume that certain blocks are unzoned to cater to the demands of commercial businesses, which need free parking for employees. How considerate of the D.C. government to provide unzoned spaces for them.
The irony, however, is that this parking policy creates a vicious circle. District residents, who help support the Bureau of Motor Vehicle Services and who happen to live on or near unzoned blocks, become reluctant to use their lawfully registered vehicles if they have had the luck to find an unzoned parking space; they move their cars as seldom as possible. And the employees of local businesses end up parking in zoned areas and getting tickets for not having parking permits -- scarcely free parking.
I plan to petition residents of my block so that we can have zoned parking. In the interim, though, I will rarely use my car, because I do not wish to receive repeated tickets for parking across the intersection in Zone 6.
If Mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon wants to "clean house," this parking permit policy has some smudges on it and could use a little soap.
-- Robin Langdon