- The Washington Times - Monday, March 13, 2006

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has declared zero tolerance for double-parking on Sundays, even though the practice has been accepted in the city for more than 60 years.

“This is an issue and it needs to be addressed,” said Douglas Noble, chief traffic engineer for DDOT. “Throughout history, people have tolerated it. But then it crossed a certain, undefined line, and it’s just too much.”

DDOT officials have developed a plan to add 77 permanent spaces to the Logan Circle area to increase Sunday parking. They say they will work with community activists and churches to develop similar parking schemes throughout the city.

“Transportation planners are working with the [advisory neighborhood commissions] in the wards to see what they need,” acting DDOT Director Michelle Pourciau said.

“I’m going to speak with the mayor’s interfaith council [about this issue] next week,” she said. “What we did in Logan Circle is the model. We learned that, if we get together and talk together, we can find solutions.”

The Washington Times first reported that DDOT will begin creating 77 permanent parking spaces and 78 Sundays-only spaces in Logan Circle next month by reconfiguring some spaces and allowing parking adjacent to medians.

Spaces that run parallel to the curb will be redrawn to create spaces diagonal to the curb on several streets in the Logan Circle area. Drivers will be required to back into the spaces to park.

Double-parking by churchgoers on Sundays has caused tension between residents and churches across the city for years.

DDOT officials say they are contacting churches and community leaders citywide to assess parking concerns and problems.

“We are looking at [diagonal parking] where we can,” Miss Pourciau said.

A small team from the Department of Public Works (DPW) will enforce parking laws throughout the city on Sundays, DDOT officials said.

DPW has been enforcing parking rules Monday through Friday, and the Metropolitan Police Department is responsible for enforcement on weekends.

But 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.”

Illegally parked cars make it difficult for emergency vehicles to pass, limit access to fire hydrants and cause pedestrian safety hazards, he said.

When churches and community members in Logan Circle came together to find a solution to their parking problem and sent a petition demanding enforcement to the city, officials no longer could ignore the issue, said Terry Lynch, a community activist who moderated the talks between Logan Circle residents and churches.

“We put a lot of effort in here,” Mr. Lynch said. “In other situations, I don’t think there was quite the collaborative effort. Here we had ANC, civic association members, residents, church folk and others pointing out common-sense solutions to DDOT … and then they followed through with a sense of urgency.”

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