Most Of The recent parking policies around town have been amied at discouraging people from driving cars to work -- and that is good. But this welcome effort to reduce commuter driving and allday parking should not stand in the way of -- or be confused with -- efforts to assist certain commercial neighborhoods in the city where small shops have been hurt by severe shortages of metered parking spaces. The Adams-Morgan area is a prime example: through renovation of housing as well as new commercial activity has brought a certain amount of prosperity to this neighborhood, merchants point out that the shortage of parking is hurting their chances of survival.

The answer is not to pepper these areas with any more huge parking lots. There are better approaches, as members of the Eighteenth and Columbia Road Business Association are demonstrating. In collaboration with the city government, these merchants are working on three moves to improve short-term commercial parking in Adams-Morgan.

Angle parking, while new to this city, has worked in many other cities for years. On 18th Street, it will add 28 new spaces. At 1747 Columbia Road, Safeway has worked with city officials and neighborhood groups to provide 30 more parking spaces at its expanded store. And in the District Building, council member John Ray, along with cosponsors David Clarke and Nadine Winter, are supporting a bill to authorize municipal off-street metered parking facilities.

Back in the colonial days when the late John McMillan of South Carolina ran the District Committee joined with private parking interests to outlaw the operation by the city of any off-street parking other than fringe lots and a few other restricted facilities. This meddlesome measure was a bad idea then and still is; now that the city has the authority to get rid of the restriction, it should. It is not a question of paving over the city government lots or competing with the private interests. The city government should have the authority and ability to control commuter parking while taking modest steps to help traffic and business in the neighborhoods.