Confusing/Contradictory Parking Signage Vol. 18 and 19


@MrsARodriguez tweets us the photo above:

“Parked a few spots down, didn’t see vendor sign. Happened 2 another guy 2. Lesson learned I guess! $30 ticket on top of having to pay $120 to get his car from the towing company.”


“Dear PoPville,

I did not realize until Sunday morning that drivers wanting to park along streets that have Sunday-only back-in parking near churches in Shaw were required to park that way during those times. I just figured it was permissible but not required. I was wrong. In other words, residents must move or adjust how their cars are parked by 7am on Sundays along many streets in Shaw. When I walked by 7th St NW Sunday morning two MPD officers were ticketing cars that were not properly parked (backed in, protruding into one lane of traffic).

What’s more, I understand that MPD will not ticket vehicles that remain backed in and blocking one lane of roadway after 3pm unless a complaint is called in.

By the way, the churches have petitioned the city to extend back-in parking on 6th St NW until 9pm Sundays. The city extended the hours while doing a study earlier this year. The study found that extended hours parking was unsafe but the Universal House of Prayer has hired an attorney to petition the city to allow the extended parking to remain. This extended parking makes it more challenging to find a place to park for residents as, even if they find a spot along that road, they need to move their car/adjust how its parked at 9pm…”


52 Comment

  • The churches are always right in DC.

  • Funny that the police always side in favor of the churches when it comes to parking. I frequently see police ignoring parking rules for churches.

  • Can anyone direct me to the best place to make a request to limit the back-in pull out parking restrictions? I see this as a bit of an abuse. As the submitter describes, it is impractical to have to both move your car on Sunday morning and Sunday evening to comply. I walked up after a cop finished writing me a ticket on 6th St, and he said that they only ticket after receiving complaints, which shows that the church is actively trying to give their neighbors tickets. Does back-in pull out even increase the parking capacity by that much? It doesn’t seem to save much curb space per car.

    That said, pretty cool to have the United House of Prayer in the neighborhood. Their parade and communal baptism a few weeks ago was great. Just wish their members used public transportation when parking gets inconvenient instead of hiring a lawyer…

    • Contact your ANC and council member. Wells is aware of this issue and it would be good if more folks contacted him about it. The churches are an organized machine. Unfortunately residents are not.

  • Whoa, that second one is completely unfair and unreasonable! I hope this is an error on the part of the parking enforcement officer.

    • Annoying yes but not unfair or unreasonable. As long as it is clearly marked, I don’t have a problem with it. It is really no different than having to move your car for 2 hours for street cleaning every week. Just be happy that you get to park on the street for $30 a year.

  • The back-in parking rules are CRAZY. WTF. I’ve never seen this in any other city.
    The fact that they are extending it until 9pm is just nuts. That means residents will en masse need to move their cars at 9pm on a Sunday night. Not cool – AT ALL – considering these churches pay no taxes to DC.
    PS – UHC is the largest private landowner in Shaw/Mount Vernon. I have a bunch of friends who pay rent to them, all the profits of which accrue tax-free to the church. It’s a scam.

  • Sunday parking is a cluster is DC.

    I don’t mind if there are differences in parking rules on Sundays, but they have to be signed. Up near me in Petworth, the couple of churches don’t have any specific signage for Sunday, but their congregants just park however they wish to. And apparently MPD/DPW doesn’t care.

    It’s one thing to study a change and sign it appropriately, but it’s a whole ‘nother thing to just let folks park in front of alley’s, fire hydrants, cross walks, etc.

    • So as not to upset the churches MPD will only ticket near them if there is a specific complaint called in at the time of the issue.

      • Not true. The MPD will not ticket outside of churches even with a specific complaint.

        • I have an email fro the 3D commander that says otherwise. You should email him if your complaints are not being dealt with.

          • Supply the email address. Every Sunday the church on T st and N capital has cars double parked all over. I call and email most weeks and nothing is done about it. 311 tells me that the MPD does not enforce the parking rules for churches on the weekend.

          • The parking at the church on T St and North Capitol is ridiculous. There was a car a couple months ago basically parked in the intersection. Unfortunately, we’re in the 5th district, so I don’t think it will help you to email the 3D commander.

          • You’re looking for the 5D commander. Should be able to find their contact info fairly easily on the DC site.

      • justinbc

        “So as not to upset the churches”…
        Why do they care if the churches are upset? It’s not like they pay taxes.

        • Churches/pastors have great sway over their constituents, most of whom will vote when needed.

          • justinbc

            If it’s true that most of the constituents are coming in from out of state then I don’t see how it matters who or what they vote for, since it won’t be DC officials.

          • The ultimate percentage of who’s coming from out of state doesn’t matter though. DC residents are attending the same churches. They vote.

          • justinbc

            DC residents whose driveways, roads, and sidewalks are constantly blocked by churchgoers vote too.

          • Sure they do, but that statement has little to do with the original assertion that churches hold great sway in DC politics.

      • Make flyers to put under illegally parked cars windshields:
        Where Would Jesus Park?
        Not here.

    • Do they not have churches in MD or VA?

  • The back-in parking sign is misleading. It should say “back in parking only on Sundays” NOT “back in parking Sundays only” which states that back in parking is permitted only on Sundays but is not required on Sunday.

    • Or “Only back-in/pull-out parking — Sundays 7 am – 3 pm.”
      Or “Back-in/pull-out parking only — Sundays 7 am – 3 pm.”

  • i wonder how long it will take for the churches here to lose their power and influence. 10-15 years?

  • Why the hell would they need back in parking until 9pm??

    • Some of the churches have evening programs, dinners for the elderly, etc.
      The church next to my place near U Street has people there from 10am to 7pm every Sunday. Services don’t even really get started until around lunch time and go all afternoon.

      • Ah that makes sense. That seems like a long time to bogart the street for a bunch of out of towners though. I take 9th St to VA almost every Sunday and have seen a lot of close calls with that lane being blocked all of a sudden. Just seems dumb to me.

  • I think the bigger issue here is that of church patrons (most of whom are from MD) NOT getting ticketed for parking improperly. Even in Eckington by the Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church, patrons will regularly block driveways, double-park, park on grass, and generally do whatever the heck they want on any given day of the week. It’s amazing how our District government is willing to bend over backwards for OUT-OF-STATE residents (I hardly see more than 25% DC plates among the crowds).

    • yes, i agree. Fortunately I have the ability to park off-street on Sundays. I’d be really agitated otherwise.

    • Many of the city government”s employees live in MD or these are their family members in the church on Sundays. Municipal government employees are fairly biased when it comes to selective enforcement of these rules.
      “You mean I’m supposed to ticket my family and neighbors?”

    • Most of the church patrons are likely FROM DC — although they now may live in MD. Most of the police officers and administrative staff that you would complain to also may live in MD — often because they/we have been priced out of DC. Gentrification can be a b%^ch $ometime$.

      • There may be some folks attending church in Shaw who were priced out of DC. There are probably more who either

        * made a mint on homes they hung onto in DC and used the proceeds to move to MD
        * chose to move to MD in the 1980s because the DC government rapidly expanded, allowing them middle class jobs and salaries, but DC still was still an ineffective mess with crap schools and a ton of crime.

  • I don’t have a stake in the parking struggles. I am struck by the frequent to constant complaints about people with MD tags, and comments like :Do they not have churches in MD or VA? often from people who I suspect are relative newcomers to the Washington area. Members of my family have lived, worked and attended church in DC since the early 1900’s. For a variety of reasons — which are often debated in PoPville — most notably rising real estate prices, not all of us who would like to live in DC are able to — even when our jobs, our medical care, our shopping, our social lives, and, yes, our churches are still within city boundaries. So yeah, God is everywhere — even in Maryland. But many of us still have a strong stake and a loyalty and love for the institutions that we’ve attended and supported for generations. No, the churches may not pay taxes, but many of us who attend them are longtime customers of businesses that do. And many of us would be delighted to pay DC taxes and have DC tags if we could still afford to live in the neighborhoods that we grew up in.

    • I’m sorry, but there’s no god in MD.

    • The people who left DC also had to leave behind their schools, grocery stores, neighbors, doctors, and so forth. But it’s not like you get parking privledges to visit your friend who still lives in the old neighborhood. Why do only church-goes get special treatment?

      • +1. Churchgoers should have to obey the same parking rules as everyone else.
        I think where it gets really confusing is when it’s just a de facto situation that churchgoers are allowed to park in certain places on Sunday. It’s much better when there’s an actual parking sign saying “No parking except Sundays” or similar.

    • ^These kinds of comments are so infuriating. So you’re saying you wish you lived in DC but you can’t afford it.

      Well guess what — I wish I lived in a mansion on Martha’s Vineyard, but I can’t afford it. Doesn’t mean I go up there and feel that the laws are beneath me and park wherever I want. I don’t understand why people who don’t live here feel entitled to the neighborhood as though it were their own.

      • You genuinely don’t understand why someone who’s family lived in a neighborhood for over 60 years might want to live there too? And how that might be different from wanting to live in a mansion in Martha’s Vineyard? You genuinely don’t understand why someone who grew up in a neighborhood, still has friends and relatives in that neighborhood but can’t afford to live there now might feel attached to a neighborhood and its institutions? Wow. Just Wow. None of which has anything to do with parking — but possibly quite a lot to do with the divisions in this city.

        • I’m not the OP, but I can’t afford to live in the neighborhood in which I grew up either. Yet I don’t feel entitled to do whatever I want in that neighborhood just because my parents make more money than I do. Sure, it sucks, but this isn’t the place to sort that out.

    • Excellent point – but out of towners attending churches in dc can still be respectful and considerate of residents when they park. Nobody is asking them to stop attending DC churches. For a lot of churches in dc, there are tons of resident complaints all the time from church attendees blocking driveways, alleys, fire hydrants, and just in general parking illegally – it’s enough to drive anyone crazy.

      • +100. No one’s saying that out of towners can’t come to church here. They’re just asking for the neighborhood to be treated with some respect while they’re here. Park in the designated areas or find other-legal-parking that’s not blocking residents from getting where they need to go. That’s hardly an unreasonable request.

  • Why doesn’t UHOP build a parking structure for their congregation instead of apartment buildings and condos?

  • I don’t understand why church parking should be an issue. Parking should be allowed, or not, based on what makes sense on certain streets … church patrons should not be getting priority over anyone else who wants to park. It would certainly annoy me if I had to change the angle of my parking to accommodate churchgoers. If there truly isn’t enough parking walkable nearby, churches should set up valet parking for their patrons, taking cars to offsite lots, like restaurants do.

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