- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 10, 2006

It is against the law to double-park, except, apparently, if you are attending a church service on Sunday morning, when you are permitted to park anywhere you please.

This longtime exemption continues to baffle D.C. lawmakers and frustrate the residents of Logan Circle, many of whom find themselves living in a freeze zone on Sunday mornings. Residents are obligated to plan their Sunday mornings around the illegally parked vehicles of the churchgoers that form a barricade. God help the residents of Logan Circle if something unplanned comes up — such as a medical emergency.

So you’re having chest pains? Take two aspirin and wait out the pastor’s sermon. If that does not work, have a nice afterlife.

Residents of Logan Circle and members of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2F formed a task force to study this issue, and what they developed, besides a plan to add more parking spaces, was a call to the D.C. Department of Public Works to enforce the double-parking laws.

This novel concept undoubtedly came to someone only after an exhausting amount of deliberation. The concept, however bold and exciting, received the thumbs-down sign from Mayor Anthony A. Williams because of the complexities and nuances of double-parking churchgoers.

And it is a complex issue. Churchgoers descend on their places of worship in order to lead better lives and to do right by others, which, in some cases, means parking their vehicle in a location that blocks the vehicle of a fellow man. It is doubtful there is a psalm that celebrates this inconsiderate act.

Anyway, the good mayor has decided to form another task force to come up with a solution that will satisfy everyone. This task force is stuffed with community leaders, clergy, city officials, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree.

Before Task Force II is this: double-parking churchgoers versus the trapped residents of Logan Circle not receiving a fair return on their tax dollar. They have stepped up to the queue at the Wilson Building and ordered the basic public service of being able to use their vehicles on Sunday morning.

To which the city says: We’ll get back to you on this in a few months. We need more time to study the faith-based, double-parking initiative. If Task Force II fails to devise a solution, there is always the prospect of Task Force III.

Until then, the obvious seems to be eluding the brain power of too many, which is: No one likes to have a vehicle that is hemmed in by another. The mayor would not like it. Members of the D.C. Council would not like it. The ANC commissioners would not like it. Then again, they are allowed to park wherever they like, so long as they are — wink, wink — on official business.

The churchgoers probably would not like it either. They have things to do after church each Sunday and no doubt would be incredibly annoyed if their vehicles were barricaded behind another line of vehicles.

See, that is another problem with double-parking. Two can play the double-parking game, which actually would make it triple-parking.

The failure of city officials to resolve the parking lot of Logan Circle is comically absurd unless you are one of the poor souls whose quality of life is compromised on Sunday mornings.

The city, as always, remains in the business of saving lives, judging by its ever-expanding deployment of speed cameras. Common sense would dictate that Logan Circle doubling as a parking lot is probably not the safest condition.

But let the deep thinkers of Task Force No. II come to that in the months ahead.

Perhaps the residents of Logan Circle could bring a sense of clarity to the situation by double-parking their vehicles at the meeting place of the deep thinkers of Task Force II.

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