The Washington Post

Cherry blossoms, tourists and parking tickets

WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 25, 2014: A cherry blossom tree is covered with snow along New Hampshire Avenue in the downtown area during an all-day snow fall day. (Photo by Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post )

Who knew?

Apparently, tourists aren’t the only thing plentiful during Cherry Blossom season in Washington. According to AAA Mid-Atlantic during the 2013 National Cherry Blossom Festival, the city issued 155,636 parking tickets for the 26-day celebration. Those numbers are based on data the auto club received as part of a Freedom of Information Act request.

Translated that’s roughly 6,000 parking tickets a day. If those numbers hold true, it could mean an estimated 144,000-plus parking citations for folks in 2014, when the festival will run for 24 days.

“We are issuing an urgent motorist alert: If you drive a vehicle to this city, know that an army of ticket writers is lying in wait for you, and make sure you pay strict attention to the parking rules, time on the meters, and rush hour restrictions,” said Lon Anderson, spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “A moment of vigilance could help you keep a lot more of your hard-earned cash in your wallets and pocketbooks and away from the city’s greedy coffers.”

AAA Mid-Atlantic’s advice for staying out of ticket trouble? Check the signs before you park or consider taking public transportation.

Some other ways to see the cherry blossoms via AAA Mid-Atlantic:

Bike it. Capital Bikeshare has multiple stations near the Tidal Basin and Cherry Blossom Festival events.

Take Metro. Trains and stations will be crowded so try to travel during non-rush hour times and try to avoid the afternoon rush, generally 4 to 6 p.m.

Hop on the bus. There are 52 bus stop routes within a half-mile of the Tidal Basin.

There is handicapped parking along West Basin Drive at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and additional handicapped parking is available along southbound Ohio Drive on the Washington Boundary Channel side of Hains Point, north of the intersection with Buckeye Drive.

DC blooms: Where to find cherry blossoms in your neighborhood.

Lori Aratani writes about how people live, work and play in the D.C. region for The Post’s Transportation and Development team.



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