Tuesday, April 18, 2006

D.C. officials have pushed back until July the citywide enforcement of a Sunday ban on double-parking because weather has delayed a revised Logan Circle parking plan.

“We are using Logan Circle as a pilot program for the rest of the city” said Karyn LeBlanc, a spokeswoman for the District Department of Transportation (DDOT). “We want to see how implementing full enforcement in that area is going to work before implementing it citywide.”

Officials said unacceptable weather conditions delayed lane marking in Logan Circle, where the new arrangement had been scheduled to take effect this month.

Signs have been installed and the painting began yesterday. Multiple days of clear conditions are required for the paint to adhere properly, officials said.

Transportation officials in Virginia and Maryland said periods of bad weather can delay projects, but they could not identify any specific instances last month.

Double-parking is illegal under D.C. regulations, but churchgoers have been ignoring that law on Sundays and the Metropolitan Police Department, which is responsible for parking patrols on the weekends, has not been issuing tickets to violators.

Officials said the Logan Circle design will add 77 permanent and 78 Sunday-only parking spaces by reconfiguring some lines and allowing parking next to medians.

Enforcement will begin in two phases: Logan Circle on May 21, and citywide July 1.

Notices about the Logan Circle enforcement will be distributed to parishioners and residents starting Sunday, Miss LeBlanc said, and citywide warnings will be issued in mid-June.

Douglas Nobel, chief traffic engineer for DDOT, said new parking plans are being developed for several neighborhoods throughout the city, but he declined to identify them.

He said the July 1 deadline gives DDOT time to announce and implement those changes before enforcing the law.

D.C. officials moved to overhaul parking in response to complaints from Logan Circle residents that double-parked cars were blocking in their vehicles and creating safety hazards.

Todd Lovinger, one of those residents, was hopeful that the District will finish the Logan Circle layout this week and that police will begin enforcement.

“I’m not going to say that I’m not worried that they aren’t going to try to avoid it,” he said. “But I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt. Now if they don’t finish the line painting this week, I’m going to be making some calls.”

Members of the D.C. clergy have circulated a petition asking Mayor Anthony A. Williams to delay the plan at least a year, the Common Denominator reported Monday. They have scheduled a rally for 2 p.m. Sunday at Logan Circle to voice their concerns.

Christopher Dyer, a commissioner with Logan Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2F, said the July 1 deadline gives more than enough warning for churches.

“To me, it’s not surprising that they want a delay in enforcement in the law because there is a parking crunch,” he said. “But just because the law hasn’t been enforced for 50 years does not mean we have to not enforce it now.”

Church officials did not return calls for comment.

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