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D.C. will begin to ramp up parking enforcement this month

The city will resume parking enforcement around schools next week, ending a months-long break because of the pandemic

Multiple parking tickets are displayed on a vehicle on H Street in Washington in this 2015 photo. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)
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The District is set to resume parking enforcement around schools this month, ending a months-long break from ticketing in those zones. Drivers should expect enforcement in other areas to pick up in the coming months, city officials said Thursday.

The city eased some parking restrictions at the onset of the pandemic about a year ago, suspending the issuing of fines in residential, school and commercial zones.

Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said Thursday that city employees will phase in parking enforcement efforts, starting with school zones, where the city has seen parking conflicts since schools reopened last month.

“You should expect, as we have more activity in the city, full parking enforcement will resume at some point,” Bowser said.

Starting Monday, enforcement officers will begin to issue warnings for parking violations near schools, the D.C. Department of Public Works said. Fines of $25 will be issued starting March 22 for those in violation of “no parking” signs, the agency said.

Schools opened to teachers and students last month for the first time in nearly a year.

Christine Davis, DPW’s interim director, said the enforcement will “help provide easier parking access in District school communities.”

Parking enforcement remains suspended in other areas of the city as part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Although parking meters are operational, the city is not ticketing vehicles on expired meters. Ticketing is also suspended for expired D.C. license plates and inspection stickers, as well as for expired residential parking permits. The city has not booted or towed vehicles for those violations since the spring.

Bowser said enforcement of expired parking meters and residential parking permits would return soon.

Street sweeping in residential zones is canceled, as is enforcement of related parking restrictions. DPW said residents can report areas that need cleaning to the D.C. 311 call center.

“Although sweeping is suspended we are still out to keep the city clean and safe for our residents!” the agency said in a tweet.

Drivers still can be fined for blocking private property or for safety violations. The blocking of fire hydrants, bus stops, bike lanes or handicap parking spaces is prohibited.

Bowser said the city suspended enforcement as part of a decision to continue only activities that were necessary as a precaution for D.C. government workers during the pandemic, as well as to protect parking enforcement officers who would share vans to be dispatched through the District. She said there also was less need for enforcement during stay-at-home periods and less traffic into the city.

“We decided it was not an essential activity for them,” Bowser said. “And we know that it has been a way to keep more of our DPW workers healthy and able to do their work.”

In recent months, however, parking problems have increased across the city. As a result, normal parking enforcement will resume in phases.

“Consider this a phase where we are getting more of our [parking enforcement] employees back” on the job, the mayor said. “We have more to enforce because there’s more activity in the city and we will continue that ramp-up.”