- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 17, 2002

The D.C. Council committee that oversees parking unanimously passed legislation that could ultimately free up more than 1,000 parking spots for nighttime drivers around the city.
Under current D.C. law, cars may not park within 40 feet of an intersection and are barred from parking in loading zones or entrance areas. The new legislation, if approved by the full council, would decrease this amount to 25 feet from 10 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. The changes would also allow for parking in loading zones except when they are in a hotel area, and entrance areas, unless they are in front of hospitals, during the same hours.
"We've never done an estimate, but if you look at every corner of every street, that frees up two spaces," said council member Carol Schwartz, at-large Republican. Mrs. Schwartz, chairman of the Committee on Public Works and author of the legislation, said "It's easily thousands of spaces," she said.
Last week, the council approved a similar measure on a temporary emergency basis.
Council member Jim Graham, Ward 2 Democrat, applauded Mrs. Schwartz's efforts, but wondered if more could be done to alleviate the shortage.
"I know Councilwoman Schwartz has racked her brain on this issue, but I would like to look again to make sure there is not someplace else that we can add more spaces," Mr. Graham said after the meeting. He didn't offer any specific suggestions, other than to say he does not want people parking in front of fire hydrants.
His district includes Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant, all densely populated areas within the city where parking is particularly tough.
During the meeting, Mrs. Schwartz indicated she would welcome any minor amendments to the bill, which she has worked on for the better part of a year, and has held hearings on, but cautioned Mr. Graham against sponsoring anything that would delay implementation of her bill.
"If it is going to be a more major, more substantial piece of legislation, I would like to get the thoughts of the executive branch" before bringing it to the table as a friendly amendment to the legislation, Mrs. Schwartz said.
She said she originally wanted to extend the overnight parking hours, but she was told 7:30 a.m. was as late as she could get.
Some residents said it will take a lot more than Mrs. Schwartz's plan to ease the District's residential-parking crunch.
"I don't think this will make a whole lot of difference for me," said Nancy Donnelly of Glover Park. "It will be nice to be able to find a spot at night, but then I would have to get up early in the morning to move it."
In related matters, Mrs. Schwartz and Mr. Graham continued their ongoing debate about which agency should be responsible for parking enforcement in the city.
The Department of Transportation is currently being restructured, and as it is now, parking enforcement is handled by the Department of Public Works. Discussions are under way, however, to move parking responsibilities to the Department of Transportation, something Mrs. Schwartz adamantly opposes.
"Our neighborhoods are better served when DPW is making the decisions about parking," Mrs. Schwartz said. "Dan Tangherlini, as director of transportation, is concerned with moving people in and out of the city as quickly as possible . If I were in charge of moving people in and out of the city, I would not care about parking."
But Mr. Graham countered that parking logically falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation. He added that sanitation, another function of the Department of Public Works, and parking should not be mixed.
"Logic would dictate to me that parking and transportation have little in relation to trash," Mr. Graham said. He added that he planned to investigate how other cities manage the parking issue before the next full council meeting.

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