Can you help me make sure I understand this correctly? I went to the DMV today to get my license converted to a DC license and was really confused by what I was told.
My address is in Zone 6, a large area that encompasses Navy Yard, Capitol Hill, Eastern Market, etc. Residents of Zone 6 may request a residential parking permit that enables them to park their vehicles on streets displaying placards such as “TWO HOUR PARKING ONLY, ZONE 6 RESIDENTS EXCEPTED.” Typically spots on these streets are not metered, but parking enforcement will nonetheless come around to ensure that the two hour time limit is being respected for vehicles not displaying a Zone 6 parking sticker. Metered spots, as far as I can tell, rarely allow for residential free parking, as that would sort of defeat the purpose of the meter. So if you live in a given zone, you get a permit for that zone, and you may park in the spaces not explicitly allocated for revenue generation with a meter.
Good so far?
If you happen to live on certain blocks which appear to be chosen at random, you are effectively barred from leaving your car on any street in the city in which you live if said street is not metered. Mine, for example — which is surrounded by streets that have nothing but meters. Which makes a whole lot of sense — I live at 1100 1st St SE in a large apartment building and am a block away from the baseball stadium. The city is going to want to gather revenue from people parking for baseball games. Sure, this is entirely logical and sensible. So instead of parking right on my block, I should park, say, a few blocks away, or even out beyond Eastern Market around the Potomac Ave Metro station. I’m okay with this. It’s a consequence of living in a large city with a lot of people and a lot of cars.
Except I can’t. Ever. No matter where I put my car, I will be ticketed for leaving it beyond the time limit SOMEWHERE, because it exists in a parking no-man’s-land. Because of the vagaries of the RPP system, it is ineligible for a zone sticker ANYWHERE, and since there exist no streets anywhere in the city that are neither explicitly metered nor marked with a zone sign, I can’t put my car in my neighborhood, or even outside my neighborhood, or even on the opposite side of town.
There is no functional reason for this that I can discern. It’s not like I live in the middle of the very busy northwest, where cars have to be strictly corralled and controlled. I’m in a neighborhood that actually has a fair amount of available space all around, with a lot of quiet streets with very little activity and often quite a few open parking spaces at night. Sure, baseball games change this — but only at select times, and certainly not in locations as far away from the stadium as Potomac Ave.
What I am trying to understand is this: Who made the decision that people who live two blocks away from me can park their vehicle anywhere in Zone 6 — north, south, east, west of their houses by a mile or more — and yet people who live on certain blocks cannot safely put their cars anywhere in the city?
Moreover, why is the city leaving such a massive sum of cash on the table? The cheapest private lots I can find are in the neighborhood of $120/mo. The city charges $35/year(!!!!) for a residential parking pass. Do you understand that I would be willing to drop $500 or more a year on the DC government to have the peace of mind to know that I can safely park my car SOMEWHERE near my apartment building without worrying about Enforcement ticketing me?
This seems utterly nonsensical to me, which makes me think that I HAVE to have understood what the DMV agent told me incorrectly. Could someone please write back and explain this to me so that it makes some kind of sense?
Thanks in advance,