Judging Buildings – More Curb Cuts


These buildings are located just west of 15th Street, NW just north of P Street. I always like to put up examples of curb cuts when I recognize them because in the past folks have been strongly opposed. How do you think these look?


29 Comment

  • Well, if somebody cares about safety, it’s been noted in a recent study that on-street parking decreases car speeds by as much as 10%.


  • ah

    The curb cuts don’t further detract from otherwise plain to ugly facades.

  • It’s not how they look, it’s how they screw the neighbors.
    You get a guaranteed parking spot from the city without any additional cost that none of your neighbors can use. When everyone has on street parking it’s a communal resource, when you take it away, you take it away from the community.

    I’d support this if there was a $15k per year assessment on curb cuts. Otherwise it’s just a land grab.

  • So we lost about 10 street spots to park 5 cars in a garage, and got an uglier streetscape to boot.

  • I’ve seen these houses and curb cuts before. They annoy the hell out of me. It seems to me that there *should* be parking on both sides of the street, but the curb cuts pretty much took away a whole block’s worth of parking for the benefit of a few private citizens. I’d be annoyed as hell if I lived in that neighborhood. Does anyone know how they got away with that?

    • What about people that have garages and still park on the street? I always feel they should have an extra penalty. Like you get one parking spot per car, if you have a garage, you can’t park on the street. Of course, I’d be all for no street parking at all and requirements to have proof of a off street parking space in order to purchase a car, like Japan and other cities do.

      • ah

        It would be relatively easy to administer–no RPP for any cars registered at a property with a curb cut. But you’d have to limit the number of RPPs available for any household to be fair–as it is now someone else could get 5 RPPs and take up even more space than these curb cuts. (Or have escalating prices for RPPs, but then start any house with a curb cut at the price for the 3d RPP, assuming a 2-car wide cut).

    • From the style of these houses, I would guess they were built in the mid-80s, possibly early 90s. Municipal codes and city planning ideology were much different then. The developers really didn’t have to ‘get away with’ anything, they were probably quite welcome to do whatever they wanted.

      I think it is important to note that opposite these townhomes is a church, and the church’s parking lot, which takes up almost the entire length of the block, and is bounded by an ugly brick wall. So I don’t think these homes are the worst blight on the neighborhood. And furthermore, these homes aren’t necessarily taking away parking from their neighbors because most of the block isn’t residential. Most people parking on that block live elsewhere.

      • If there’s a church with a big Sunday congregation, then I withdraw my comments on the curb cuts. The only think worse than curb cuts is churches with 200 suburban congregants.

  • Wouldn’t normal logic tell you that these house w/ garage are more expensive thus assessing a higher property tax?
    There is no such thing as a free lunch.

  • This is a new concept to me.
    So I guess I am to believe that there is NO parking in this curb cut area.
    So, if the homeowner with the garage does not choose to park in the garage then he/she can park on the street like everybody else. I’m not entirely sure I see the difference between this and someone who has a garage in the back alley and chooses to park on the street instead.

    • ah

      There is no parking in the curb cut area — you can’t block the garage. So the curb cut reduces the overall parking available. If someone has an alley garage then they don’t (presumably) have a curb cut in front of their house, so they aren’t using up parking space “twice”.

  • I agree – curb cuts are essentially having the city take taxpayer money to cut the curbs and usurp public parking for a private beneficiary. I think they should never happen.

  • Yeah, we should totally build Soviet style apartments and completely mandate where and how everyone lives. Only bike lanes in downtown DC and no curb cuts. It’s a fucking curb cut. Get over yourselves and go back to bitching about your chai tea latte, please.


    A liberal Democrat who has had enough of the urban planning activism in this city.

  • This Tommy Wells fella has some information about the presumed current regulations:


    How about every 10′ of curb cut needs to give access to 2, 3 or more off-street parking spaces?

  • Agreed. Each of the curb cuts in these pictures feeds a two-car garage–but the amount of curb space they took away is less than two cars’ worth. So the neighbors actually get a net parking benefit: about 12-14 feet of lost curb gets about 20-30 feet of car off the street. Seems like that’s a good deal for all involved. (Full disclosure: I own an old row house that has an old curb cut (pre-1970’s) feeding a single driveway that my next door neighbor and I share.)

    • Exactly Sheepprofessor; If you can take one car’s length worth of curb and permanently get 2 cars off of the street, it’s a win.

      My wife and I would love to do that with our two cars, unfortunatly the historic preservation office folks take issue with the curb cuts detracting from the historic ambiance that the drug dealers, new glass/steel buildings, ridiculous yellow bike-lane pilings, and… you know… cars create.

      The city is not only giving waivers to new construction for their parking requirements, but they are actually encouraging new construction to avoid new parking spaces unless they are out of site entirely.

      Parking is going to become more and more of a nightmare.

      • Fair enough, if you are prohibited from obtaining an on street parking permit so you don’t turn your garage into a rec room/storage space and continue to park on the block.

    • umm, you are saying the total width of these houses is 12-14 feet? it is not just where the curb cuts are that you can’t park, it appears to be the whole block. plus it’s not like neighbors can park in these garages while they aren’t being used. you are getting a net loss of parking any way you try and cut it, prof.

    • This makes sense, assuming that people don’t actually park on the street. Or let guests park in the garage and then take their car on the street.

      Whatever the case may be, it’s still unfair. A public resource was taken away for the benefit of a few citizens. Even if its 1:1 curb cut to private parking space ratio, the private citizen still gets a guaranteed spot while the public gets a spot taken away.

  • Yeah, there’s only parking on one side of Church and Corcoran streets in that area anyways. One thing that I noticed also today (walked on same block and noticed the whole thing) was the 3 spaces in front of the church on 15th street aren’t RPP-zoned so two of three spots are used by out-of-state cars, need to get that fixed.

  • I would imagine these were built at a time when there was far less demand for parking in the vicinity of 15th and P than there is today.

  • Personally that street looks like an alley.

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