- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 27, 2002

D.C. residents have three more days to renew their street-parking permits or traffic tickets will stick and fines will be imposed for illegal parking.

Mayor Anthony A. Williams, a Democrat, yesterday urged residents to get their new parking permits, which really are stickers combining vehicle registration and residential-parking permits.

Saturday is the deadline and the Department of Motor Vehicles at 301 C St. NW will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The branches at 1233 Brentwood Road NE and 3222 M St. NW will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The free stickers, which are attached to the windshield, allow residents to park on residential streets in D.C. communities where they live. Residents in these neighborhoods got approval from the DMV to restrict parking to drivers with parking permits.

But drivers who live in zoned neighborhoods, where parking is at a premium because of their proximity to Metro subway stops, must have registration stickers to park on their streets. Previously, for decades, the stickers were placed on rear license plates.

One reason for combining the registration and parking permit on the inside of the windshield is to prevent theft, said DMV spokeswoman Regina Williams.

But changing location of the stickers has resulted in traffic tickets being issued by mistake to some motorists who had their new stickers and had placed them on the interior, left side of the windshield.

Some traffic officers issued tickets when they saw invalid stickers still on license plates. The tickets were issued because the officers did not know or did not remember that new stickers were placed inside windshields.

"It's hard to change long-standing habits," said Lt. Patrick Burke, traffic coordinator of the Metropolitan Police Department.

Officers had become accustomed to looking for outdated stickers as they followed cars. Now, they have to observe the stickers from the front, which is more difficult when going in the opposite direction.

"There's an adjustment for officers to make. It's been resolved as far as possible," Lt. Burke said.

Officers have been told repeatedly about the changes, he said, and they have been informed with newsletters and circulars.

Tickets that were mistakenly issued will be invalidated and should not be paid. Miss Williams said owners should turn in the ticket with an explanation, or mail it in with "Deny" written on the back.

New stickers, which were issued beginning April 22, list the zones where the residents live. Motorists should be prepared to present their registration and driver's license.

Residents should peel off old stickers and turn them in to get new ones. That is because population growth has caused the city to be rezoned and some residents live in different zones, although they may not have moved.

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