I’m Just Wondering

IMG_4358, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

Right now, street parking doesn’t seem to be a big problem. But I’ve often wondered if it would be worth it to put in a parking spot in my back yard. Lots of the rowhouses have spots that are accessible via the alleys. Do you think it is criminal to rip up some of your yard to pave it? Are we doomed to lose our plentiful on street parking as the Old Soldiers Home is developed and the many condos being built are completed?

34 Comment

  • I don’t know about what your alleys are like, but here in SW they are awfully narrow to be manuevering a vehicle into a yard. I once watched a neighbor at the end of the block trying to park in their backyard– I think they eventually gave up.

  • What are you reading my mind PoP? That does it I am closing the windows between our houses!!! 🙂

  • Where would you play horseshoes?
    Besides, your car doesn’t deserve a parking spot.

  • If you use pavers you don’t have the environmental impact issues you have with just paving it all over with concrete. And they can look really nice.

    I also have to say I’m maybe the only person in Petworth who isn’t worried about parking.

  • We did the opposite and had our concrete parking structure removed so we could have a greener, more useful backyard. Parking may become an issue someday, but for now occasionally having to park a block away isn’t the worst thing in the world.

  • Hello all

    I am sending out this message to ask you to support the idea of bringing zone
    parking to all of Brightwood and upper Petworth streets.

    When I stroll down my street I see that the vast majority of the cars
    are from out of state, primarily Maryland. While I accept that fact
    that people might have relatives or friends who visit them from the
    surrounding area, it seems that a lot of these cars sit in the same
    spot for days until they have to be moved due to street cleaning.
    This means fewer parking spaces for the DC residents who live on the

    This situation has to change.

    I see the benefits of bringing a Zone Parking structure to Brightwood and upper Petworth
    as follows:

    1) More parking spaces for property tax paying Brightwood/Upper Petworth residents.
    In an area that is about to see the opening of many multifamily condo
    buildings in the next year or so, more parking is essential to
    accommodate this growth.

    2) Fewer abandoned cars, or cars that sit taking up parking for days
    at a time.

    3) Less crime. When you can only park in a space for 2 hours at a
    time, the idea of coming into Brightwood/Petworth from the suburbs and entering
    one of the many drug houses on the block and disappearing for days at
    a time becomes impossible.

    4) Better control of who parks in our neighborhood.

    5) Basic fairness. There is no reason why the property tax dollars of the homeowners in the area should go to maintaining a parking lot for Maryland, Virginia and non-area residents.


    I propose a simple 7am to 8:30pm, maximum 2 hours parking for
    non-residents, zone parking plan be imposed in all of Brightwood/Petworth by
    the end of 2007. This is exactly like the parking zones in other
    parts of the city.

    Who supports this?

    Diego Mendez
    900 Block of Longfellow Street NW

  • There already is zoned parking in upper Petworth (i.e. Webster St). It’s street by street. If you want your street to be zoned, go for it, I’d rather not have my street zoned. There is no point.

  • Like it or not with all the condo developments coming up in the area, there will not be enough parking for everyone. zone parking is the way to go.

    500 Block of Longfellow

  • It’s already happening. I’ve lived on the 700 Block of Otis Pl for 5 1/2 years, and when we first moved in, parking was plentiful–even on street cleaning days. But nowadays, it’s rare that I can find a spot–especially in the evenings. Luckily, I have an ugly piece of concrete slab for a backyard that allows me to park back there when I’m in a pinch.

  • Anonymous: First of all, you are essentially spamming this blog with your rant. This is not the right forum.

    Second of all, whose cars do you think those are? Of course they belong to your neighbors, they just haven’t bothered to register them in DC. If you don’t live on a zoned street, there’s no benefit to doing so – it costs money and you don’t get a zone sticker. Only a fool would waste their time and money at DMV when you live on an unzoned street.

    All zoning will do is force them to register their cars in DC, whoop de doo. But it will also make life very difficult for your visitors who will not be able to park.

  • Although I agree that this might not the right forum for this post, I agree with Anonymous’ basic premise that parking is about to get really, really bad in the area. zone parking seems like a reasonable way of dealing with our new neighbors. Ignoring it will not make it go away.

  • There are several instances in which the posts go off topic and people seem to go with it…what’s the big deal?

  • Maybe the PoP should do a post exclusively about parking and what should be done… PoP?

  • I think we can run with it here. I’m sure it’s a subject I’ll revisit in the future as well.

  • If you want zoning on your street so you can start a fracas with your neighbors then, by all means, call in the DMV! 😉

    It’s a street by street issue. Like I said, Webster is zoned, but all the cross streets east of Grant Circle aren’t.

    SO, don’t try to zone my street or Jamie’s street if you know what’s good for you!! 😉

  • odentex – That’s ok… we’ll just have all the streets around you zoned so non-residents will have to park on your street…. You can then ask one of your neighbors on Webster for a temporary parking pass since you will be competing with non-residents for parking on your street.

    It takes a whole community to deal with this issue. The street by street plan will create inequities.

    Near Grant Circle

  • It isn’t “an issue” for me. It may be for you if you are living near a new development, and you may need to get your street zoned if that’s what you prefer, but don’t speak for people who aren’t interested in giving the DMV some unnecessary time and $$ just so we (and our visitors) can be hasseled. No thanks.

  • Is it NIMBY or NOMB (Not on my block!)??

    New condos, more renovated rowhomes, more rowhome to small condo conversions, more businesses, fewer abandoned buildings all equal better neighborhoods but also more residents and less parking. It’s the big trade off that comes with a revitalized area.

    You might not feel the crush today, but in 18 to 24 months the area will need to face the parking issue.

    Anonymous #1

  • Having parking enforcement officers constantly patrol a street for parking violators adds more police protection to an area.

    That is worth any DMV hassle I can think of.

  • whether an owner keeps a yard or a garage with driveway, the important thing is whether it is kept up, not left to rot.

  • “The street by street plan will create inequities. “

    But that’s the way the law reads – zoning regulation is implemented on a block when the block petitions for it. That’s just how it works.

    “Having parking enforcement officers constantly patrol a street for parking violators adds more police protection to an area. “

    Parking enforcement is generally done by DPW personnel, not MPD officers.

  • I’m sorry, but having anybody on the streets during the day looking around is better than the current policing situation (ie barely none).

    Any sort of official presence is a deterrent to car thieves and burglars DPW workers will call the police if they see a crime happening.

  • Some posters seem unnecessarily hostile. Let’s all chill a bit. Sarcasm is not neighborly.

  • Parking enforcement officers might not be the lowest of the low, but they are close. Keep them off our streets! And I agree with the person who made the point that many of those out of state vehicles belong to our neighbors who don’t feel the need to spend what it costs to get dc plates.

  • i live in NE DC. there is a huge problem with MD and VA folks taking up parking.

    i actually dated a girl from VA that talked about how she should park in some parts of DC withoug having to deal with zoning.


    needless to say, we didn’t last that long.

    i get really heated w/these folks from the burbs that destroy our roads and take up our parking.

    i got ticketed in VA when i first came here (1994). the state from whence i came didn’t require a ‘front license plate’. but VA chose to ticket me for not having one.

    i went to court and lost.


    i’m all for charging foreigners for parking in DC.

    you wanna live here, pay the price.

    you wanna live in the burbs, go for it, but blow me. don’t screw us DC residents…

  • Speaking for myself, I have Maryland tags, but live in Petworth. Last time I checked, in order for me to switch my tags to DC (I’d love to!), there is some sort of tax assessed by DC that is 6% of the Kelly Blue Book value of my car. NO MF thank you. So I keep my car registered to my parents’ address in Rockville. That’s free.

    If someone knows how I can get DC tags for free, please post here. Despite my never-ending loyalty to the Free State (Go Terps — try not to crap the bed too bad against Rutgers), I’d be excited to get DC tags on my car. I just don’t think DC should be able to tax my ass to such an aggressive degree. F that.

  • I live on an unzoned block. Many posters seem to think that the parking officials won’t patrol these areas. But I have experienced something different. My old roommate had MD tags and she would park on our block. She started getting those huge tickets for having a foreign registered car. So she moved.

  • I am a former VA resident (south not north) and I live on a zone parking street. After shelling out about $300 in tickets, I at went to DC DMV and shelled out another $275 to get a 6 month non-renewable parking pass for my VA registered vehicle.

    Do I feel badly that I live here and deteriorate the roads/parking without paying DC taxes? Yes and no. Yes because I can understand that it must be very frustrating to live in an area that you pay for that is essentially used 3x as much by non-tax paying residents.

    And no, because it took me 3 hours just to get my lousy temp parking pass, you have to go to some type of DMV 3x and pay some weird excise tax to register your car here. I spoke with a longtime DC resident in the DMV line who told me that because I drive an old car, I would be better off paying for this “service” to take my car through inspection. She said she tried to get hers through 2x and they wouldn’t pass her car, and then she paid these guys close to 1K and it sailed right through.

    So as a new DC resident, I am looking at about 2K & 3 days off work just to get plates for my car. And they wonder why people live in VA and MD?

    Off box now. Apologies.

  • markus,

    you have to pay tax a lot of times when you switch jurisdictions. is this your first time moving out of your parents?

  • Kelly – I think you’re missinformed. I paid no tax when I registered my car here which was previously registered to my parents in another state. I paid something like $80 for the registration and that was it. There was no big tax — though like you I had heard there was one.

  • No, I’ve been out of my parents place for quite some time…doesn’t change my opinion that the plate change tax is bs.

  • “Speaking for myself, I have Maryland tags, but live in Petworth. Last time I checked, in order for me to switch my tags to DC (I’d love to!), there is some sort of tax assessed by DC that is 6% of the Kelly Blue Book value of my car.”

    Not true. You only have to pay excise tax if you are NOT the previous owner of the car. If it is registered to you in MD, all you have to pay is the registration fee.

    Also note that the law does require you to register the car in DC within a certain period of moving into the district (I forget, it’s either 60 or 90 days). After that, if they catch you with alien tags, it’s a BIG fine.

  • i’m just wondering if i can expect to hear anything out of you regarding the recent rash of anti-glbt hate crimes…

    just curious…

  • Uh, ok. I oppose anti-glbt hate crimes. For that matter I oppose all hate crimes. Now that I think of it I oppose all crimes.

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