- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 12, 2006

The District’s Department of Transportation (DDOT) says it will begin creating next month 77 new, permanent parking spaces and 78 Sundays-only spaces in the Logan Circle area.

DDOT officials plan to reconfigure parking spaces and strictly enforce parking rules on Sundays to curb double-parking by churchgoers in the Northwest neighborhood.

“We took a real, hard, rigorous look in terms of what and how can we provide parking for the community,” said Douglas Noble, chief traffic engineer for DDOT. “We looked at it in the context of how can we use the space that’s on the street to help cars park. This is what we came up with.”

DDOT officials plan to make part of Vermont Avenue Northwest one-way and create back-in-only diagonal parking along part of Vermont Avenue and 11th Street. They also plan to allow parking adjacent to the median along Vermont Avenue near 12th Street.

The DDOT plan includes allowing parking adjacent to the median along Rhode Island Avenue from Ninth Street to Logan Circle between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sundays.

Officials say about 150 new parking spaces — 77 of which will be available all week — will be created.

Double-parking by churchgoers on Sundays has caused friction between residents and churches in the area. A team of DDOT officials examined the neighborhood in early January to begin trying to resolve the dispute.

“This process that we’ve gone through is an example of how the community, the city government and the churches can work together to find solutions for a problem that has been going on for decades,” said Chris Dyer, a commissioner in Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2F. “This is a case study on how to do something like this. It’s a no-brainer.”

Several churches near Logan Circle — including Metropolitan Baptist Church, Lincoln Congregational Temple United Church of Christ and Tenth Street Baptist Church — attract large numbers of congregants Sunday mornings and some weeknights, residents say. The congregants, many of whom are not city residents, have tended to double-park their cars, which reduces road space, blocks residents’ cars and sometimes stops traffic.

A committee of church officials and community activists organized this year to brainstorm solutions to the parking problem. When diagonal parking was suggested, Mr. Dyer said, the group contacted DDOT.

Mr. Noble said DDOT will begin reconfiguring spaces and installing signs for the new parking scheme between April 10 and April 21.

DDOT says a small team of parking enforcers with the Department of Public Works (DPW) will enforce parking laws throughout the city on Sundays.

DPW currently enforces parking rules Monday through Friday. The Metropolitan Police Department is responsible for enforcement on weekends.

DPW “has agreed to rearrange their shift schedule so that there is an enforcement shift on Sundays,” Mr. Noble said. “The idea is that the enforcement needs to be citywide. We can’t target pieces of our community, so we’ll be going around to different areas randomly around the city.”

The new enforcement team likely will begin work near the end of May. Officials say starting the effort then will give them time to inform congregations and residents of the change.

“This will benefit everybody,” said Todd Lovinger, a community activist who led an effort to urge police to enforce parking rules on Sundays. “It is a great example of community action. It’s an example of the residents standing up and saying, ‘You’re not providing the services and protecting our rights, and we are taxpaying citizens, and we are not going to stand for it anymore.’”

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide