- The Washington Times - Friday, December 21, 2001

The District isn't suddenly "cracking down" on parking violations, according to a top Department of Public Works official it's just doing the job right for a change.
"This is a problem we have been running into over the last few years when the District government just started working again," said Dan Tangherlini, the DPW's acting transportation director.
Mr. Tangherlini's comments came in response to an article in Wednesday's edition of The Washington Times detailing the complaints of area residents who say the city has unleashed overzealous parking-enforcement officers on unsuspecting car owners.
The city, he said, is hiring new meter monitors, raising the force from a low of 79 to a projected high of 257 by October 2002. The additional manpower will increase the number of tickets distributed, Mr. Tangherlini said.
"The enforcement folks are now enforcing the laws, and they are going to keep on coming," he said.
Car owners caught up in the crackdown have complained that officers are issuing tickets for cars parked in spots that have traditionally been considered fair game, and some owners say they've been ticketed while parked in spots where posted signs clearly indicate the spot is legal.
If the spot is illegal, where are the signs, motorists have asked.
"More signs are not the solution," Mr. Tangherlini said. Instead, he said the agency may begin working to better educate the public where they can and cannot park, but said specifics were not available at this time.
He added his agency is currently working to update missing and faded signs.
Gwen Mitchell, administrator for parking services with the DPW, told The Washington Times there is nothing wrong with the District's ticketing process.
"D.C. [motorists] are not being ticketed unfairly," she said. On average, the District gives out 1.4 million parking tickets a year, according to DPW statistics.
Under D.C. guidelines, the DPW is responsible for enforcement for parking violations, while the Department of Transportation does curbside management, including sign posting. The two agencies are currently undergoing a transformation to make themselves independent of one another.
Residents who contacted The Times yesterday reiterated the complaints of the car owners detailed in the earlier article.
Matthew Vadum, a resident of Adams Morgan, told The Times he had a temporary permit allowing him to park on Biltmore Street NW. When he came out and found a ticket for illegal parking without a permit, he contested it by mail, and included a copy of the permit, as required.
Mr. Vadum said he never heard back, despite follow-up letters.
When the time came to apply for the permanent permit, he was told he was found guilty of the earlier violation. He would now have to pay that, plus a late fee if he wanted to get D.C. plates.
"It just became too much of a hassle, so I just decided to pay it and let it slide," he said.
Virginia resident Tom Derenge had a similar problem.
Mr. Derenge had legally parked his car on 23rd Street NW in Dupont Circle. When he went to move his car at 3:30 p.m., a half-hour before parking on the street would be illegal because of rush hour, he found it removed from the curb and awaiting a tow from a flat-bed truck. There was no ticket on the car.
"It was very odd," he said. "I came back and saw my car five feet from the curb and the front end of the car had been picked up and moved into the road."
Mrs. Mitchell said she had "no idea" why that would happen.
"If there is no ticket, that requires some investigation and I am very surprised," she said.

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