Dear PoPville – Where to Park my Car and Where to get a Computer Fixed?

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr. T in DC

“Dear PoPville,

What do you do with street parking when you have to travel for work and can’t move the car for street sweeping? I have sometimes forgot to move my car and got a ticket and once I had it towed to a different street and had to call the number to find where they moved it too. Luckily I haven’t had it towed to the lot which I hear can be expensive!

As an unemployed gal, seeking new opportunities, I could possibly travel more and for a week or two at a time. What am I to do with my car? I live in Logan Circle. So do I risk of just hopefully getting a ticket or two, towed, or worse sent to the lot. Or just pay a garage for the duration (which I don’t want). I doubt any company would pay, in the non-profit world, for me to keep it at the airport for that long. Just thought I’d see if your readers had any insight to this. I’m at a loss. I have even tried to ask the city and police for some type of temporary permit and came up empty handed. I can’t be the only one faced with this and I really don’t want to move!”


Photo by PoPville flickr user pablo.raw

“Dear PoPville,

Help! My computer just died. Could you ask your readers if anybody has recommendations for a good computer repair shop? Thanks in advance!”

57 Comment

  • Your employer will likely pay for the lot as part of your travel expenses. However, it is almost time for street cleaning to be suspended anyway.

  • I’ve worked in nonprofits for almost 6 years now, and they all have paid for parking as part of travel expenses.

  • My laptop needs repairs (something is loose or broken on the motherboard), I too need a computer repair guy/gal! I was going to ask PoP the same question!

    • – it’s in Bethesday (which was convenient for me from Silver Spring) but see my post below. He sent me to the part from Microcenter (faster than ordering it) and I brought it back and he mirrored my hard drive and had it back to me in a day or two for under $100 in labor. Was well worth it…my 6 year old Dell is still trudging along. I actually just upgraded the RAM to see if I can squeeze another year out of it.

  • If you have zone 2 parking, there is zone 2 parking in foggy bottom, Georgetown, and dupont circle (west of Connecticut ave nw)that is all street sweeping free. That’s where I park my car when faced with the same travel situation.

    As an aside, is the city even sweeping the streets anymore?

    • Yeah, but there’s a city-wide law that you can’t park in once place on the street for more than 72 hours straight.

      • andy

        do they check that in those “non-zoned” areas?

      • saf

        No, that was repealed a number of years back.

      • Really? Even with valid tags and a valid permit? I’ve gone out of the country for ten days at a time and left my car alone on the street and never had any issues. I just left my spare key with my roommate and told him to move it if anyone posted any temporary no parking signs. If this is true, I’m going to be worried next time…or else I’m going to have to have my roommate move it every 72 hours!

        • I think the 72 hours law is on the books but rarely enforced. I’ve seen cars parked in my neighborhood (Adams Morgan) for months at a time and as long as their registration is current they do not get tickets.

  • Yeah, I’m thinking you work for kind of a shitty company/organization if they won’t pay your parking at the airport! But above poster is right, street cleaning ends at the end of October through the spring.

  • Computer repair places:
    – Geek Squad (Best Buy)
    – Microcenter
    – Something like 1800callgeek or something

    I don’t think any of these things is cheap, however.

  • I’ve had the same parking problem! I solved it by selling my car…

    Before I did that, I spent probably a total of 90 minutes on the phone with various folks at the city and with police, to no avail, other than the recommendation that I pay to park my car somewhere super expensive.

    Another solution: if you have a neighbor you trust, leave them with the key and ask them to look after it for street sweeping.

  • Is no one reading the actual post? She is unemployed – she has no organization to pay her parking fee’s!

    • But she also says “I doubt any company would pay, in the non-profit world, for me to keep it at the airport for that long.”

      I’m confused.

      • I think she meant that she doubted any company who she’s interviewing with would cover the cost of airport parking for that long alongside plane fare.

      • The OP seems to be posing a hypothetical question/problem: i.e. IF she has to travel for a new job and IF the company doesn’t pay for it. Although now that I re-read it again, it also sounds like she wants to travel for long periods b/c she’s unemployed and has more free time. I’m confused too.

  • I recall reading about a service where you can rent out your car when you’re not using it. I don’t remember the name of the service or the details, but it would effectively make the car someone else’s responsbility and you’d make some money off it too.

    • I wish anybody who pursues this option the best of luck. I would also recommend having a backup Zipcar account so you can get access to a vehicle after your personal car has been totalled or burned out by whoever was renting it last.

    • that’s the worst idea EVER. don’t rent your car to a stranger. ever.

    • It’s called Getaround. Not sure if it’s in DC yet

  • Just suck up the expense (or get someone else to) and park it at a garage. If you truly can’t afford the downtown rates, park in somewhere like Arlington. My last office by the Courthouse metro (not at all a journey from downtown DC, barely across the river) sold spots at $85/month. Otherwise, uh, ask your friends and neighbors if they have a spot you can borrow..

    People seem to want to avoid paying for parking whenever possible, even when the benefits far outweigh the cost. It baffles me.

    • My office (near the Potomac Ave metro) has a lot that’s $8/day for non-employees.

      Or you could park at a random shopping center in the ‘burbs and catch a bus to the metro. Kind of a hassle but free.

    • ah

      Dulles economy parking is $10/day. Not cheap for 2 weeks, but at $140 that’s about what a parking ticket would cost.

  • If you have a mac checkout
    They have a drop off location at Base Camp on 18th St.

  • If you can’t afford a car, why do you own it? Or if you don’t like the 72-hour law, lobby to change it.

  • I didn’t think anybody fixed computers anymore. I thought you just bought a new one. For real. If it’s more than 2 years old – take it somewhere to get the stuff on the harddrive off and then get a new one.

  • Tips on computer repair:

    1) Always backup files that mean something to you. The backup can be on an external hard drive or an online backup service. If you are contacting a repair shop because you lost your family photos due to a hard drive crash or virus, you have nobody but yourself to blame. Prepare to pay through the nose.

    2) Learn how to reinstall your operating system using the discs that came with your computer. It’s usually a step-by-step, easy-to-follow process. More often than not, this is what the repair place will do if you have a bad enough virus infection or otherwise wonky OS. If you tossed those discs or never bothered to burn them, look in the mirror and say “Self, this is all our fault.” Prepare to pay through the nose.

    3) Install antivirus software. There are plenty of free versions (AVG is a well-known one). Keep it up to date. Download all Microsoft Windows updates. This will prevent the vast majority of infections.

    4) If your computer is truly broken – fried motherboard, hard drive, whatever – know that low to midrange Windows PCs, with full warranties, are available for as little as $250. If you are just surfing the Web and using a handful of applications (no 3D gaming), then these systems will work just fine for you.

    In short, do not use a repair center unless you absolutely have to. And if it costs you more than $250, you’re being ripped off.

  • Also – it’s cheaper to pay the street sweeping fee than long-term parking. That’s what I do.

  • Just leave your car at a metro station with lots of parking and pay the daily fee upon exit (or none if you exit on the weekend). I’ve seen cars sit for weeks in the same spot in the Grosvenor garage and never get towed or ticketed. I know a lot of people that leave their cars in various metro lots for a day or two either occasionally or routinely for whatever reason and never have any problems.

  • Computer Repair –

    He works in Bethesda, a few blocks walk from the Metro, but was knowledgeable, fast and affordable.

    He mirrored my dying hard drive. I ran up the street (via Metro) to Microcenter near Twinbrook, and bought the replacement part, and he installed it and had it back to me in a day or two (during the storms a few years back).

    Check yelp…he’s legit and he’s got my business again should I need anything.

  • For all sorts of Computer issues I recommend my computer gal at WordWorks 202-363-0810 Lori Annaheim – [email protected]. Though she said she is swamped right now and couldn’t see new clients until about the middle of Oct. She is a bit of an – unconventional? – sort, but knows her stuff.

    “I do everything, all operating systems, home, office, corporation, repairs, replacements, and good software.”

  • It’s just one of those city hassles. You either need to garage it,have a friend move it for you, or leave it with friends in the suburbs (that’s what I usually do). You could get tight with a neighbor who has off street parking. Like one poster said, after 10/31 you won’t have to worry about street cleaners. However, I do not recommend leaving your car parked on the street in the district for over a week without someone checking on it.

  • You let a friend use the car while you’re gone, so they can deal with moving it.
    Or you ask a friend to move the car once a week for you.

    Or you deal with paying for it. I think BWI economy parking is like 6 bucks a day.
    Unless you work for the smallest, cheapest, meanest non-profit ever, they’d probably reimburse you for that. Or you use some of your per-diem to cover the cost of parking while you’re away.
    I have and use a car in the city, but it’s not cheap. If you don’t have friends who will help and can’t afford to deal with this kind of expense, then you can’t actually afford to have a car here.

  • Cars are almost as lame as the perfectly able-bodied people who drive them around everyday in a city with various types of public transit.

    • meh. i drive. i’m not lame.


    • Sometimes you need them. Especially when job-hunting– I put a ton of miles on my car driving out to interviews in Reston, Richmond, Annandale, and so forth when I was looking for my last job.

      • some people need them for their work. we don’t all have 9-5’s working in the same place everyday. or even the same place all day. it’s astounding to me how many people don’t recognize that we don’t all have the same life or lifestyle.

        but then again, maybe a plumber should carry his feces soaked snake on the redline at rush hour some day.

        • Ha, true. If you have a lifestyle that doesn’t require a car, you are very fortunate. It took a while, but I’ve finally managed to get both my home and work accessible to public transit. Once I’m done with grad school I could theoretically ditch the car (though it will make visits to my family a challenge) except that my partner will still need it to get to her job.

        • I don’t think non-profits hire plumbres as full-time employees, but yeah, i agree.

      • +1.

        A lot of jobs are now in the suburbs, and many of them aren’t near Metro.

        I feel very fortunate that I now have a job where I can take Metro to work.

        • I had about 50 interviews before I landed my first job. MAYBE 7 of those interviews were within a 30 minute walk of a metro station, and only two were in DC. And this was in the summer, where I didn’t necessarily want to be walking even that far in a suit.

          Fortunately I ended up getting one of the two jobs that was in DC, and five years later I bought a house nearby so I could walk or bike to work. Definitely an anomoly in the engineering profession.

  • Some people are so very shortsighted as to think that everyone’s lives are EXACTLY like theirs.


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