Wednesday, August 14, 2013

City launches new visitor parking pass system for Columbia Heights, other parts of Ward 1

If you've ever had a visitor in town with a car, you may have noticed that parking for them can be tough: odds are they'll get ticketed. Formerly you could get short-term parking passes for visitors, but you had to to go the police station to do it, and even then it was tricky.

The city is trying to remedy that with a new system, which applies to any area with residential parking permits, plus ANCs 1A, 1B, and 1C, which cover our area -- Columbia Heights, Park View, Pleasant Plains, and Adams Morgan, among other areas (basically that's all of Ward 1 except Mt. Pleasant. Full map here.)

The idea is that local residents can apply for a pass which is good for a year, and a visitor can use it for as long as they want anywhere in the immediate area.

This sounds great if you have guests in town often, but DCist reports that a lot of people are opposed. Lots of folks see possibilities for abuse, namely selling these passes to people who aren't visitors. Critics like Greater Greater Washington fear that could worsen parking in these areas, and if the system fails, they worry the blowback will make it overly restrictive to any kind of visitor, with a parking pass or not.

I don't have a car, so maybe I'm naive to think that this doesn't seem like a big deal. A full year and no limit on how long a visitor can park somewhere does seem too long (who visits for more than a couple of weeks?) but it does seem like it'll result in much less hassle for those folks with visitors.

What do you think? Nice benefit, or too much possibility for abuse?

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