- The Washington Times - Friday, January 20, 2006

Capitol Hill residents already facing some of worst parking problems in the city joined in the outcry yesterday against proposed legislation to increase residential parking fees and limit permits.

“How much more money do they want?” asked Reeves Seaborn, 77, who moved to the neighborhood 50 years ago. “I cannot get with that plan at all. I’ll go back to Georgia first. The average person just doesn’t have that kind of money to spend.”

The legislation, proposed by Mayor Anthony A. Williams, a Democrat, would limit the number of residential parking permits per household to three. It also would increase permit fees and charge households $25 for one car, $50 for a second and $100 for a third.

The annual permits, which are available in unlimited amounts, now cost $15 each. The fees have been increased $5 since 1991.

“And it’s outrageous, because the mayor and the city council do not have to pay for parking,” Mr. Seaborn added.

In July 2002, the D.C. Council voted to exempt itself from the city’s parking regulations when on official business, generously defined.

“We pay enough already,” said Chris Drew, 60, who moved to the District 31/2 years ago from San Diego. Miss Drew said she had had an unpleasant experience with the city when she attempted to obtain a handicap parking permit.

“I hate the D.C. parking system to begin with,” she said. “It’s $122, that’s what my next bill’s gonna be for the license plates and parking for my car. And that’s without the extra $10.”

Some residents questioned the purpose of the extra fees while still not being guaranteed a parking spot in their own neighborhood.

Jana Novak, 33, who lives near Lincoln Park, said she would welcome the higher fees if authorities weeded out illegally parked vehicles.

“For free parking all the time, $25 seems pretty good for a whole year,” Miss Novak said. “I don’t mind paying for increased parking fees, as long as they start enforcing illegal parking to make sure the rest of us have spaces.”

Miss Novak said parking in her neighborhood has gotten worse as drivers from outside the District take curbside spots.

“Now it seems every day I’m passing cars that are from out of the city and don’t have the parking permit, and they don’t seem to be getting ticketed,” she said.

At a public round table held Thursday in the Wilson Building, resident also criticized the legislation, calling it unfair to city residents and soft on commuters and residents with out-of-town tags.

Hill resident Thabiti Anyabwile, 35, said yesterday that the city indeed needs the money “but it chafes me a little bit that we’re going to foot the bill for other people’s leisure or transient use of the city … especially in a neighborhood like this where there’s such a premium on parking.”

Eric Zakim, 45, who owns two cars, directed his ire at the federal government for not helping the city and at people from Virginia and Maryland who don’t pay fees or taxes in the city.

“D.C.’s got to survive,” he said. “And as residents, we have to pay our fair share. It’s an expensive city, but the [parking] situation is not the D.C. government’s fault, it’s the U.S. government’s fault.”

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