Residential Parking Protection Pilot Act

Yesterday David Alpert of the Greater Greater Washington blog reviewed the proposed Residential Parking Protection Pilot Act. This Ward 6 pilot act, which has a hearing at 11am today, will require that one side of all residential streets within a RPP zone be reserved for Zone parking permit holders. Alpert stated without balance the parking bill will hurt business then followed up with his five suggestions to improve the RPP program.

I do not agree with the blanket nature of the program. In my eyes all residential streets are not equal in nature but these modifications to the RPP program appear to treat them as such. The armchair urban planner in me believes that in mixed use high-rise districts, such as Penn Quarter and Mount Vernon Triangle, the on-street parking on commercial corridors should be metered to encourage high turnover. Long term parking should be primarily in parking garages which all these new construction buildings have. Modest amounts of RPP can be setup on street segments that lack retail space. Having a resident’s car, which has an RPP permit that costs $15/yr, squatting in a spot in front of Busboys for six days straight without moving will harm our retailers and in turn impact vibrancy of the neighborhood.

My proposed RPP alternative: RED=meters, GREEN=RPP

The above map mock up represents my rough draft vision of how parking permit zones and meters could be outlayed in the Mount Vernon Triangle (and surrounding area) considering the future plans for development in the Mount Vernon Triangle Action Agenda. My map preserves metered parking on both sides of streets that have significant commercial uses (such as 7th, H & K Streets). It also allows other streets that are purely residential and church uses to have both sides of the streets available for RPP.

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  1. 1

    Charles says


    There may be some misunderstanding about the “blanket” approach. The intention of the legislation is to add these tools to the DDOT toolbox to help them address parking pressures in different neighborhoods, not require that each must be put in place on every residential street. We’ve heard from several folks with this confusion, so it’s clearly something that we need to clarify in the bill. We’re also receiving some great feedback from the ANCs, GGW, and other residents. As you and your neighbors talk about tweaks and improvements to the proposal, please send us your suggestions so they can be put on table as Councilmember Wells and the Council take a look at changes needed from the introduced version.

    Thanks for helping get the conversation going in your neighborhood.

    Charles Allen
    Chief of Staff
    Councilmember Tommy Wells

  2. 2

    fourthandeye says

    Thanks Charles. I seem to have relied too heavily on GGW’s interpretation of the bill.

    I have run into some City Vista residents at various community functions who believe that K Street should have RPP. I do disagree strongly with that. Any commercial corridor that has been as painstakingly planned as K Street should not be undermined by residents want for a $15/yr parking privilege footsteps from their door.

  3. 3

    Charles says

    GGW did a great job and offered some very good suggestions. We’ve heard from more than GGW who interpreted the language as a requirement, so its clearly something we need to fix.

    Regarding K Street moving to RPP, that is very unlikely. Commercial corridors are not candidates for RPP, especially when underground parking capacity is being built for new residential units. If you take a look at commercial streets like 8th Street/Barracks Row, H Street, NE, or Pennsylvania Ave, SE, the street has to be metered to help the turnover of parked vehicles that in turn supports the local retail and businesses. Allowing a car to park there without limits locks up the space for customers and visitors.

    That said, there are some side streets that might be better candidates to support RPP.

  4. 4

    Rand says

    FourthandEye wrote:

    “Any commercial corridor that has been as painstakingly planned as K Street should not be undermined by residents want for a $15/yr parking privilege footsteps from their door.”

    I don’t live anywhere near K, but I work in a building on K. To call it a commercial corridor is laughable; it’s nothing but office buildings full of law firms and the like. L Street has some actual shops, but K? There’s a Mervis and a few banks. If there were more actual shops (and no Metro), I’d agree with reserving some metered spots for those businesses.

    Nor do I think there are many people who actually live on K or even near it. I don’t recall any residential buildings. But if they do, why not let them have some nearby parking? There are no shops to speak of on K, and you have two Metro stops and umpteen WMATA bus lines, plus the Circulator. My heart goes out to anyone who actually lives on this street.

  5. 5

    fourthandeye says

    @Rand – we’re clearly talking about the segment of K Street NW in the Mount Vernon Triangle. This is the Mount Vernon Triangle blog and the inset map within the post also shows the specific area be debated. The section of K Street where Mervis resides is 12+ blocks away and is unrelated to this discussion.