Dear PoPville – Mt. Pleasant Parking Compromised Due to DDOT Safety Concerns

alley exit.1.Feb 2014

“Dear PoPville,

DC regulations prohibit parking within 5 feet of an alley exit. Exiting an alley can still be chancy, as everyone knows, because parked cars — especially big SUVs, or trucks — do impair the visibility of oncoming cars. Well, DDOT decided that one particular alley in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood deserved a whole lot more no-parking space than the 5 feet specified by law. The 5-foot no-parking signs were moved to 20 and 25 feet away from the alley, no doubt greatly enhancing visibility, but at the expense of four of our all-too-scarce curbside parking spots.

Protests have been rejected by DDOT, asserting that “safety is our utmost priority”. Utmost? Really? Well, look at what a DDOT contractor has done with these greatly expanded no-parking zones. One has acquired a giant backhoe, as if that doesn’t impair visibility. Another has stacks of bricks, head-high, obscuring visibility rather more effectively than any parked car. Evidently “utmost” in DDOT parlance has exceptions for DDOT contractors.”

alley exit.3.Feb 2014

32 Comment

  • Hm, interesting. At first I thought maybe it would be temporary so construction or road updates could be made, but this looks pretty permanent.

    Not to thread jack, but does anyone know who to contact to request more zone only parking? My neighborhood desperately needs some 24/7 zone parking.

  • I’m confused, does the equipment and materials belong to DDOT / used for work commissioned by DDOT, or is it for a private development?

  • This complaint is lame. The city doesnt need to be in the business of adding as much street parking as possible to make it easier for you to park. Safety should come first. Granted they made use of the extra space temporarily to stage equipment while building your neighborhood a nice new alleyway. but whats the real harm in that? Everyone knows to be careful as there is a temporary obstacle limiting the view. Are you saying you would rather they put up the emergency no parking signs and take up actual parking spaces? Making it even harder for you to park? Seems to me the city is just doing its job. Can’t please everyone though. Especially those looking for on street parking

    • The “no parking 25 feet from alley” is in another part of the neighborhood (not where the construction equipment is parked). If the same standard (extending the “no parking” for safety reasons) is applied to other alley entrances, there would be lots of on-street parking spaces lost in Mt Pleasant and other neighborhoods.

      • But OP says “Well, look at what a DDOT contractor has done with these greatly expanded no-parking zones.” Doesn’t that mean that the 25-foot no parking zone is exactly where the backhoe is parked?

    • But, they removed parking that had been there before and not caused problems. DDOT shouldn’t be in the business of screwing up a functional system in the neighborhood which is what they did on the Adams MIll intersection. $4 million later it looks like an on ramp and doesn’t really work much better. Seems like they just exist to make work for themselves.

      • “But, they removed parking that had been there before and not caused problems.”

        Who says it’s never caused a problem? Either way, improving the safety of an alley exit like that is hardly something that should have to wait until whatever t-bone quota you think should be met is satisfied. God forbid the city do something proactively (if that’s even the case).

    • I live on this block and existing the alley is dangerous when SUVs and trucks park close to the alley entrance. Also, the entrance is relatively close to Park Road and cars are often moving quickly to cross the intersection when the light changes. The backhoe and bricks are obviously there only until the alley work is completed and they would have to be somewhere on the street, either taking up legal parking or parked in illegal space. I can live with a “temporary” safety compromise. The city can’t make the exit safe and preserve the parking at the same time. I prefer to preserve my life to preserving parking. If you want both, try relocating to fantasyland.

      • “cars are often moving quickly to cross the intersection when the light changes.”

        Not sure what you’re saying here. Are they speeding to make it through a yellow? Are they speeding because the light is green and they know the light cycle is so short that it’ll be red by the time they get there? both?

        I’m not too familiar with the traffic on 18th, but I would assume from looking at a map that the majority of the traffic heading South past this alley on 18th towards Park is local traffic…like 30 seconds from home local.

        • “me” is correct. This is much safer now. Unfortunately the traffic is busy and rushed particularly as a cut through from piney branch in rock creek parkway. It was risky nosing out into the alley in the mornings with cars flying by. Construction equip is only temporary, and isn’t OP happy hat it’s not taking up residents parking spaces?

  • Mount Pleasant at its finest.

  • From another Mt P resident – I apologize to you all for my neighbor’s complaint about the brick/alley repair. We’re not all that myopic.

  • Hmm, not really sure what the issue is here. I think some people just have too much time on their hands.

  • “giant backhoe”

    Looks like a relatively small backhoe, as far as backhoes go.

  • This looks like a Jack McKay message. He’s the ANC rep for this area of Mount Pleasant and has been leaning on DDOT about this. While the matter before the court, so to speak, is the loss of the four spaces the real issue is that the signs were moved at the request of China Terrell, an ANC rep in another part of Mount Pleasant. As I understand it, she’s been unresponsive to constituents and seems to be holding herself out as a representative for all of Mount Pleasant.

    • I am not a constituent of China Terrell, but I know her from her organization of the well-attended Mt. Pleasant Town Hall. She seems like a very responsible and reasonable person, and so if she requested the signs be adjusted, I would have to assume she knew what she was doing.

      • Yep, another petty fight between an old timer who thinks he knows everything and a threatening “newcomer.” Welcome to Mt. Pleasant.

      • The signs may indeed have required repositioning. However the question for me is why Terrell, who lives several blocks away and whose constituents are likely not impacted, would take it upon herself to request the change without contacting the ANC rep for the area or at least the residents there, as has been alleged at ANC meetings. She should know that nothing gets DC people more agitated than parking.

      • Nice try, China Terrell.

      • Take a look at the ANC’s email archives. Neither Jack nor China are reasonable or nice:!forum/anc1d

        Jack seems to be right a lot of time, he’s just such an a*hole he manages to piss everyone off anyways.

        China is just crazy and bizarre.

    • I’m another Mt P resident, and I’ll weigh in only to say that from my direct contacts with both Jack and China, I’ve found China to be very responsive and helpful, while Jack was completely unhelpful, and borderline rude in his responses.

  • So let me get this straight- no parking within 25 feet of alleys on a minor residential side-street. But parking OK on 16th street (except for a few hours on weekdays), causing constant, unnecessary, and incredibly long backups where it merges to one travel lane between Oak and Park southbound (which is technically part of the Mt Pleasant 1D ANC). Keep it functional, DC.

  • Hello all,

    Thanks for the great dialogue. The parking issues in Mount Pleasant have certainly reached a critical point. Interestingly, the focus of this issue was not about eliminating or creating parking at all, although parking was of course affected.

    The facts missing from the discussion are these — Many residents complained about not being able to see when exiting the alley behind Park Road. Eventually, a serious accident happened that made residents painfully aware of the danger they already felt. A driver trying to exit the alley could not see around parked cars at the alley exit. Of course, the driver traveling 18th also did not see the car trying to exiting the alley. .

    Residents explained that what contributed to the accident was that the no parking signs had been hugging the curb. (See this link – – for a photo of what the alley looked like before the signs were adjusted.) When cars would park at that alley exit, the car bumpers would go right up to the edge of and sometimes beyond the sign pole, making visibility worse. There are also several seniors living on Park Road who expressed concerns with that alley.

    So the signs were moved back from that curb, giving drivers exiting the Park Rd. alley (and those driving along 18th Street) more room to see. Many residents using that alley were relieved. They remembered the earlier car accident.

    I hope this is helpful!
    [email protected]

    • If visibility is the paramount concern, then WHY are the construction vehicles and equipment allowed to block the view?

      • That is the essential point. If “safety is the utmost concern” for DDOT, then why is a DDOT contractor allowed to park there? Why is a backhoe okay, but a resident’s car is not?

        I (yes, this is Jack McKay) have proposed a compromise. The crucial visibility issue is for drivers exiting the alley on the west side of 18th, and having trouble viewing cars coming south on 18th. (This is an unfortunately popular morning commuter cut-through.) So, fine, leave that at 25 feet. But let’s have the other three parking spots back. Residents coming home after about 8 pm have a terrible time finding curbside parking spots.

        The west side of the street (with the crucial alley exit) is in my SMD. The east side of the street is in Yasmin Romero-Latin’s SMD. We were not consulted on this DDOT action, nor was the ANC advised of it. I found out about it via a complaint from an unhappy resident, shortly after those four parking spots were eliminated.

        • Jack, shouldn’t you be hard at work with the ANC’s response to the zoning revisions instead of spending more time on this resolved issue….taking it to Popville because you were outvoted in the Mt P ANC on the matter. It is OVER, move on . Work to do ” for Mt Pleasant”

    • China – Can you please describe the “many” residents you reference? Where do they live? Why was the ANC not consulted before this change was requested?

    • I can see moving the “no parking” a few feet from the alley. But 25′?? That is ridiculous, and unnecessary. What if all the alleys have 25′ of “no parking” on either side? This was a bad decision, DDOT. How about 10′ of no parking?

      • Agree! Sometimes I think they do things to solicit ticket opportunities. 25 feet is like a tempting poison apple.

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