- The Washington Times - Monday, May 1, 2006

The majority of D.C. Council members said yesterday that they support Mayor Anthony A. Williams’ decision to postpone Sunday enforcement of double-parking laws until at least late August.

“I think we should find a solution, and I don’t think it would be hard to find a solution that is both tolerant of churchgoers and prevents homeowners from being locked in,” said Phil Mendelson, at-large Democrat. “This is a cooling-off period. I think it’s very unfortunate how heated it has gotten.”

Parking enforcement — which was scheduled to begin in Logan Circle on May 21 and citywide July 1 — was lifted after protests from churches across the city prompted Mr. Williams to create his own task force to take a four-month look at the rampant Sunday parking infractions.

Officials late last year began examining enforcement of double-parking laws after a group of residents in Logan Circle petitioned the District. The group’s actions prompted neighborhood officials to form their own task force to study the problem and develop solutions.

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) responded to the Logan Circle group’s recommendations by adding 77 new permanent and 78 Sunday-only parking spaces in the area. The DDOT also promised double-parking enforcement there by late this month.

But the mayor intervened.

Council members who say they support the delay include Mr. Mendelson; Adrian M. Fenty, Ward 4 Democrat who is running for mayor; Carol Schwartz, at-large Republican; Marion Barry, Ward 8 Democrat; Vincent B. Orange Sr., Ward 5 Democrat who is running for mayor; and Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp, at-large Democrat who is running for mayor, said last week that she also supports the mayor’s decision.

“Enforcement should be postponed until the [mayor’s] task force … recommendations, and we’ll go from there,” Mr. Orange said.

The council voted in July 2002 to exempt itself from city parking regulations when on official business.

Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat whose district includes Logan Circle, said he wants enforcement to begin this month and in July, as previously planned.

“The point is they need to enforce the law,” he said. “I think they need to enforce it citywide, and they need to enforce it according to the original plan.”

Earlier last week Mr. Evans said he supported the mayor’s plan to delay enforcement. His position changed Thursday after constituents accused him of not fairly representing them.

Mr. Evans said yesterday that he did not flip-flop his position but rather “clarified his previous statement.”

Several council members said they likely would support council action to resolve the church parking issue.

“In the next few months, we need to come up with something,” Mr. Barry said. “This issue is like a raisin in the sun. The longer it festers, the bigger a problem it becomes. We don’t want this animosity to get any worse.”

Mr. Graham and Mrs. Schwartz said they also likely would support council action, but would like to hold off until after the mayor’s task force examines the issue.

Double-parking is illegal in the District and carries a $50 fine.

Council members Kwame R. Brown, at-large Democrat; David A. Catania, at-large independent; Vincent C. Gray, Ward 7 Democrat; Kathy Patterson, Ward 3 Democrat; and Sharon Ambrose, Ward 6 Democrat, did not return calls for comment.

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