Judging Buildings – Curb Cuts


I recall that folks hate curb cuts in the city. This home is located on near 5th and S Streets, NW. It looks to be rather new construction. So I’m wondering – does anyone know how curb cuts are permitted? Should curb cuts be banned on all new construction within the city?

13 Comment

  • ah

    You get a public space permit from DDOT and have to go through the ANC for approval (or at least they get the chance to weigh in, and their views are given “great weight”).

    But a new building in an old location can keep its curb cut, and you need only get a permit for repaving in public space, which doesn’t require special approval.

    • WRONG ON THE SECOND – having a curb cut in the city does not imply you get to keep it once you start making major renovations to the outside or change the use. Yes the ANC weighs on it and recommends but they do not have the final say. DDDOT has the final say and will consider the ANC recommendations. This is the current DDOT policy:
      When changes occur at any property due to the following activities, any existing attached curb cut or driveway intended for use following the changes, shall be applied for as a new curb cut or driveway at the DDOT Public Space Permit Office:
      o New construction;
      o Redevelopment of property involving the raze or partial raze of the principal building; or
      o When making substantial improvements to the principal building in excess of 50% of the building value.

  • There’s a new row of townhouses on 12th and Florida NE with curb cuts and parking pads, but no garages.

    I personally think this should require the entire block to sign off on it, in perpetuity. If you ever live in SF you’ll understand why this is a disaster of an idea.

  • Personally, I don’t hate curb cuts. And I don’t think they should be banned in the city if they facilitate more off-street parking than they take away in on-street parking. The set up pictured can take at least two cars off the street – one in the garage and one on the parking pad.
    When I lived in AM there were battles over new multi-unit buildings that were to be built with curb cuts for off-street parking. A lot of people complained about the one space that would be lost, completely ignoring the fact that without that one space there would be three or four more cars fighting for parking spaces on the street.

    My captcha is “the jobless”. Wow.

    • I hate to see a curbcut when there is existing alley access for a building. It diminishes the quality of the public space in the front of the building. DC rowhouses with rear alleys present a terrific combination of beuaty, walkability, and utility — an attractive building front and good sidewalks encourage walking and use of the public space while trash and parking are conveniently located for the property owner in the back.

      • Gimmie a break. a curb destroys the beauty of the neighborhood… as opposed to the rats living under the damn sidewalk, the beer bottles or the hammered crackheads sleeping on wall. Let people park in THEIR yard.

      • What he said.

        Steve. Fine, park in the BACK yard.

  • I think curb cuts should actually be encouraged if they facilitate more off-street parking than they take away in on-street parking.

    • ah

      In principle that’s good, but how do you ensure that people don’t fill the garage with crap and then still take street spaces using their RPPs?

      And if you implement that as a policy going forward (i.e., if you get a curb cut approved you lose one/two/all RPP rights), is that fair vis a vis people who already have curb cuts and can get all the RPPs they want?

      (FWIW, I’m not opposed to curb cuts either so long as they meet your criterion.)

  • This particular curb cut was actually illegal. As the scuttlebutt around the neighborhood goes, the people who bought the house were unaware that it was illegal until they got slapped with the fine when the city finally busted them for it. The builders (who had actually cut the curb) were, of course, long gone by that time. When they’d cut the curb we were still in the dark ages of the Williams administration when you could pretty much get away with anything.

    Living on that block, I’ll tell you, that particular cut is a colossal pain in the ass. It’s cut up the block of parking in such a way that most days it cuts out at least 2 parking spots for the one spot the owners of the house have gained. Definitely a net loss for the neighborhood, and just generally unfair. We all lose 2 spots and they’re guaranteed one?

  • Like I said, go to SF, try to park for a week and see how useful curb cuts are there and then decide. Eventually the house gets condo-ized, only one person gets a garage spot, but 2-3 households will have cars. So you 1-2 spots missing on the street for curb cuts and 2-3 extra cars on the block. Then some jerk tries to park in the driveway with their tail sitting in the middle of the sidewalk and you have to walk into the street to get around the car. Once you start allowing this, everyone strategically places their curb cuts so that there is no on-street parking.

    This is why we have alleys in DC.

  • Eh, my house is landlocked with 2000 sq feet of yard and a paved pad for 2 cars, but I can’t get a curb cut.

    Of course DC was happy to give an exemption to the condo development bing built across the street from me so they don’t have to build the number of spots that would normally be required. Parking is going to become a nightmare in my neighborhood and they make no accomodations for the locals they have screwed.

    Their primary reason is that it isn’t historically accurate. Well neither are the cars, the contemporary new construction the HPO approved, the drug dealer living next to me or the public housing a block away. No one gets immersed in the 1800’s when they walk through my neighborhood, I assure you. Ridiculous.

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