- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Residents near RFK Stadium have just two days to get a special parking permit to prevent their cars from being ticketed and towed during the Washington Nationals’ home opener tomorrow.

In addition, parking enforcers will troll an expansive area around the stadium throughout the baseball season to find other reasons to issue tickets — including expired inspection and registration stickers.

“Everything is about money, money, money,” said Ulysses Hoston, 50, who lives near 17th and G streets SE. “It’s just another way to get more money from residents. Why should you need two parking stickers? We can’t even park in our own city.”

D.C. parking officials first revealed details of their “aggressive” enforcement plan late Monday.

The enforcement area is bordered by Pennsylvania Avenue on the south, Lincoln Park at 13th Street on the west and Benning Road on the north. The area’s eastern border extends across the Anacostia River to the Anacostia Freeway.

“We will be vigorously enforcing the plan with tickets and towing around the stadium,” said Bill Rice, spokesman for the District Department of Transportation.

Residents — who already pay for neighborhood parking permits — will be exempted from the tow-away restriction if they get a special stadium parking permit at RFK. Permits can be picked up weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Officials have extended the hours until 8:30 p.m. today only.

Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Antonette E. Russell, whom residents can call with questions, criticized the timing of the notification.

“If you were told two days before, would you be happy you had to take off from work and get a parking permit?” she asked. “I oppose the timeline of telling people the week of [the event], which is very ridiculous.”

Miss Russell said she has been telling residents that if they are ticketed or towed this weekend only, they will be able to dispute the charges.

Mr. Rice said most violators will be issued a $50 ticket and their cars will be towed. The parking plan was set up at the request of residents and is “absolutely” meant to protect them, he said.

“People have been using this system for years, first for Redskins games and for soccer games,” he said. “The main point of this program is to encourage people to come to the games by transit or on foot.”

Some residents who picked up permits yesterday from RFK agreed.

“I’m not real happy about coming down here today,” said Roger Hooper, 58, who lives near 16th and A streets SE. “But we have been down this road before when the Redskins played here. You just didn’t come out of your house during games. I can see why they’re doing this.”

Cynthia Chapman-Davis, 42, who lives on Bay Street SE, said the parking plan is a “convenience” for her neighbors because it was impossible to find parking on Sundays when the Redskins played.

The Redskins played at RFK from 1961 to 1996, and residents were given months of notice to get the special permit.

“They’re giving you two days to get it, so you know people aren’t going to in time and will get tickets or be towed,” said Brenada Hoston, 45.

The parking plan will be in effect April through October, during Nationals games and D.C. United soccer games.

Meanwhile, Metro is expected to announce tomorrow who will pay for late-night subway service if games run past midnight Sunday through Thursday.

Metro’s chief executive met Monday with the baseball team’s president and the chairman of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission to reach a deal.

The meeting was “extremely positive,” said Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein, adding that “getting on the Metro shouldn’t be a concern for anyone at this point.”

Earlier this month, the Nationals said they would not pay the $18,000-an-hour deposit that Metro requires for additional rail service if there are extra innings or a rain delay. Metro has billed the Washington Redskins, charities and other groups for such service.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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