- The Washington Times - Friday, May 13, 2005

District officials yesterday proposed eliminating a special parking zone around RFK Stadium during Washington Nationals games to end numerous resident complaints about tickets and the permit-distribution system.

Under the proposed plan, the District would eliminate the zone and extend the Resident Permit Parking system several blocks. The system is in place elsewhere throughout the city and prohibits those living outside a specific neighborhood from parking there for more than two hours.

The proposal follows a meeting Wednesday with stadium-area residents and must now face scrutiny from other residents.

“Then we’ll change it if we get more comments that tell us we should make changes,” said Bill Rice, a spokesman for the D.C. Department of Transportation.

A final description of the plan is expected to be released Friday.

The restricted zone is bordered by Pennsylvania Avenue on the south, Lincoln Park at 13th Street on the west, Benning Road on the north and the Anacostia Freeway on the east. Vehicles parked within the zone and without the city-issued decal are issued a $30 ticket on game days.

Other major complaints about the existing plan are that residents had only days before the Nationals’ home opener April 14 to get their permits and that the permits could be picked up at the stadium only on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., when many residents were at work.

The proposed plan also includes mailing one visitor parking permit to each household in the stadium area by May 23 and stepping up parking enforcement from game time through the first two hours of the game.

Cars with the visitor parking permit or with the Resident Permit Parking stickers would be exempt from ticketing.

“We think it simplifies it for the residents, for the enforcement people and for general administration,” Mr. Rice said. “This is something that answered the comments we’ve heard.”

The plan also is intended to address complaints from businesses and churches that say customers and parishioners have received undeserved tickets.

The groups must file requests with city transportation officials to obtain a group-parking permit.

“That will be addressed by the flexibility of the current plan,” Mr. Rice said. “People are able to go to their police station to get additional visitor passes if they need it [and] because games start later than most church services, we think we’ve begun to accommodate them.”

Those with comments should call 202/727-1000, 202/671-2556 or 202/671-1598 by 5 p.m. The deadline is Wednesday.

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