Dear PoP – Parking Dilemma on 16th St, NW

“Dear PoP,

I am contacting you to see if you might be willing to share an issue with your readers. Recently, conflicting parking signs were placed along the 3400 and 3500 block of 16th St, NW (picture attached). One of my neighbors sent an email to Jim Graham’s office. Mr. Graham’s office forwarded the issue to DDOT. DDOT replied with a confusing and ultimately unhelpful email (full email string below). Have any of your readers encountered a similar problem in other parts of the city? Are there additional steps we can take to resolve this problem?”

Date: Wed, 29 Sep 2010 10:53:56 -0400
Subject: RE: New parking restrictions 3500 block 16th St NW

CM Graham, to clarify, the changes were made because many of the “No Parking Anytime except Sundays 8AM-2PM” signs were missing from the west side of the 3500-3600 blocks of 16th Street, N.W.

In order to maintain optimal traffic flow during the AM/PM rush hour periods, signage states that there is “No Standing or Parking 7-9:30AM;4-6:30PM, Monday-Friday” which is more restrictive than “No Parking Anytime” restrictions. The fine for not obeying rush hour restrictions is $100 while the “No Parking Anytime” fine is $30. Both signs have to be posted in order to inform the public of existing parking regulations.

In October, 1997, the west side of 16th Street, N.W. from Spring Road, N.W. to Irving Street, N.W. had a “No Parking Anytime” restriction plus the AM/PM rush hour restrictions. Churches in the area requested that the NPAT restriction be changed to “No Parking Anytime except Sunday 8AM-2PM” in order for parishioners to find available parking near their church.

The current restrictions have to be maintained on the west side of 16th Street, N.W. because there are only 2 lanes of southbound traffic, one travel lane and one curb lane that must be used as a travel lane at all times except on Sundays between 8AM and 2PM. The east side of 16th Street, N.W. has 2 travel lanes at all times plus the curb lane that is restricted from parking 7-9:30AM;4-6:30PM, Monday-Friday. Parking is allowed on the east side between the rush hour periods and after 6:30PM, Monday-Friday and at all times during the weekend.

With regards to ANC notification, the ANC must be notified if there is a change in parking regulations. These recent changes were for the replacement of missing “No Parking Anytime except Sundays 8AM-2PM” signs , which were initially installed in 1997.

Also, the 3300, 3400, 3500 and 3600 blocks of 16th Street, N.W. are in the RPP program (since 1989) for permits only. However, the residents have never requested the installation of RPP Zone 1, 9:30AM-4PM, Monday-Friday signage to be installed on the east side of these blocks where there is an AM/PM rush hour restriction.

I know that the explanation is a bit long, however, I hope that it completely clarifies the current signage situation.

Ugh my head hurts. Anyone else deal with conflicting parking signs before?

34 Comment

  • I don’t see a problem with the signs. Just stick with whatever sign is most limiting, which above would be the No Parking Anytime to the right and No Parking except Sundays to the left. Yes, they should remove the top sign, but was obviously easier for them to just add a sign and keep going.

  • ah

    I agree it’s confusing at first, but what it comes down to is this:

    There is no parking ever to the right.
    There is no parking to the left, except Sundays from 8a-2p.

    In addition, you cannot “stand” along the road during rush hours. So you have to load/unload passengers immediately–no waiting for them.

    The confusion created is from DDOT’s use of the stock no standing/no parking during rush hour sign.

  • i saw 2 signs that put together said “no parking Monday through Sunday” in SE. It was a Saturday and there were like 3 ticketed cars parked there.


    • Why is that confusing? Saturday obviously falls within “Monday through Sunday.”

      • Sure but it would have been less confusing to have a sign that said “No parking anytime.”

      • haha Nichole i’m impressed you don’t think that’s confusing. it’s way more confusing than it needs to be.

        • You’re right – No Parking at Any Time is definitely less confusing. I remember when those signs went up (it was that the time they were changing the parking for the baseball stadium) and I seem to remember someone telling me the rationale behind the Monday-Sunday thing, but I can now no longer recall what it was or even who told me.

          I’ll try to find out b/c even though I don’t think it’s confusing – you’re right that there’s a much simpler way to say it.

  • I’ve seen far more contradictory signs… its so strange. Next time I see a scenario I’ll take a picture and send it in…

  • Sure it’s a little bit confusing, but really not all that much.. Not worth trying to have them remove any signs, or bothering councilmembers with.

  • As other posters have pointed out the signs are NOT conflicting and indeed the top sign is necessary.

    First, note that standing is not the same as parking.
    Parking = turning your engine off
    Standing = Idling on the side of the road

    So, you can not
    1) Park on any day except Sunday on the left side of the sign
    2) Park ever on the right side of the sign
    3) Stand (i.e idle on the side of the road) during rush hour monday – friday

    So on Saturday you can stand but not park. During weekday rush hour you can neither stand nor park. The first sign is necessary because its claim about standing is different than the claim about parking.

  • they could solve this whole thing by covering up/removing the “or parking” from the top sign.

  • dcist has gotten very lame.
    it’s like they’re trying to be a major news service.

    ever watch the evening news and flip between channel 4, 5, 7 and 9? they show nearly the same story and the exact same time on each station.
    dull as hell.

  • As others have stated, these signs are a bit redundant but they are not conflicting.

    But I did find the following line from the DDOT email a bit confusing: “…signage states that there is “No Standing or Parking 7-9:30AM;4-6:30PM, Monday-Friday” which is more restrictive than “No Parking Anytime” restrictions.”

    I thought “No Parking Anytime” was about as restrictive as you can get! But I think they meant “restrictive” in terms of activity (Parking vs. Standing), not in terms of when you can do it.

    All in all, this is a good reminder that operating a motor vehicle is not a brainless activity – sometimes you do need to think about what you are doing! (Yes, that includes me…)

  • What if you go to Church on Saturdays? I think more signs are in order; perhaps, even a little “How to Park on 16th and Park, By DDOT” brochure citing legislation attached to the post 🙂

    • Just to clarify: in DC, it ain’t church unless there are full-sized pearlescent SUVs with MD tags. And old black ladies with big hats.

  • It all makes perfect sense to me and is far less confusing than many other streets around here. The question is whether the cop who decides he is bored and writes you a ticket for being parked there at Noon on Sunday will understand them. Or the person down at the DMV who ignores your well-written letter and photos and just dismisses your appeal without a reason. But maybe one day three years in the future that appeal will be granted and you will mysteriously receive a check from DC to right all past wrongs.

  • The only thing that I find confusing is what the reader thinks is the problem that needs to be resolved. The DDOT explanation is actually quite clear about the fines that can be imposed depending on the signage. If one saw the signs without the explanation one might wonder why so many levels of specification, but there is nothing actually contradictory. I don’t see a problem that needs fixing.

  • I think everyone’s missing the crucial point, which is the different fines associated with violating the limits of the different signs. “The fine for not obeying rush hour restrictions is $100 while the “No Parking Anytime” fine is $30.”
    The only reason for the rush hour sign, which seems redundant, is to apply the higher (“more restrictive”) fine for violations that occur during rush hour.

  • Is the OP upset because they can no longer park to the left of the sign during non-rush hour times? Because according to DDOT, this particular pole was missing a sign saying “no parking except Sundays,” so this isn’t a change in policy, just replacing signage which was missing and should have been there since 1997.

  • Obligatory FUTURAMA reference:

    Tour Guide: I direct your attention to this ancient and mysterious tablet which has yet to be deciphered.
    (He points to a parking sign)

    Leela: Do you know what it means?

    Fry: Yeah, I asked a cop once. It means “Up yours, kid”.

  • I think this is the conclusion: You can NEVER park there. But if you do, sometimes the fine is $30 and sometimes the fine $100 depending on the time of day. Yeah, you need a PHD in parking to read some of the signs in this city. New York is also horrible.

  • This reminds me of something that happened years ago to a friend who had just moved to 17th and Q. She parked overnight on 17th Street and got towed in the morning. When she called me to complain, I pointed out that the signs said no standing 7am-9:30am and her reply was: “But I wasn’t standing; I was parked!” Hahaha. I had to explain it to her.

  • I have lived–and parked–on this block for 8 years. A couple weeks ago, I also got a ticket at 12:38am on a Sunday. There were other cars with tickets. This has never happened before and it is generally assumed in the neighborhood that the top sign is the one that matters. The ridiculous Sunday sign has never been enforced to my knowledge.

    I paid the $20 ticket but also complained to DDOT via Twitter. I got an almost immediate response but unsatisfactory except for an offer to look into it. They claim the more restrictive sign–in this case the Sunday sign–always prevails. Why is this one section of one block in crowded MtP/CH restricted at all times except for folks going to church?

    Or look at it another way, it’s okay to park all day Saturday but at midnight you have to move your car until 8am and then move it again at 6pm until midnight Sunday. Which makes sense because…?

    I invite anyone who thinks these signs make sense together to visit the signs in context. Except for one over-zealous ticket cop, common sense has will tell you the Monday-Friday sign should stay and the Sunday sign disappear.

  • Basically you better not park anywhere near there unless you are driving in from Maryland to attend church. Then, obviously, you can park wherever and however you want.

  • Parking on 16th shouldn’t be allowed

  • spoken like someone who doesn’t live on 16th street.

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