“as long as the cover is on it he can park here forever because DDOT and MPD don’t want to be responsible for any potential damage”


“Dear PoPville,

We have a neighbor on the 1800 Block of Vermont Street NW who decided over 6+ months ago that the parking spot in front of his house is now officially his and while the rest of us have to jockey around for parking spots and move our cars during Street Sweeping days/hours he doesn’t.

You can’t tell from the photo since his car is 99% of the time covered with a grey tarp but it’s an older Red Mustang Convertible and the only time we saw it uncovered we saw he (young guy – possibly college age) did have DC Tags but a Registration/Parking Permit that expired October 2014. He’s also so brazen that the few times when the car is not there we’ve seen orange traffic and construction cones blocking the spot so no one else can park there. Then a few hours later he’s parked there again with the cover on.

The next door neighbor once politely (although I wasn’t there to confirm) asked to him to play by the rules and was apparently cursed out (again I wasn’t there) and physically intimated just by his large size and have since left notes, called 311, and even flagged down an MPD who have said as long as the cover is on it he can park here forever because DDOT and MPD don’t want to be responsible for any potential damage by removing it to ticket or tow him.

One one hand we give him props for figuring out a way to outsmart the system. On the other we’d like him to follow the same rules as all of us and gain (if he doesn’t renew his plates) a much needed additional street parking spot. Anything we can do to get him to move the car or get someone in DC Government to assist?

BTW – These pictures were taken during Street Sweeping hours yesterday.”

118 Comment

  • “borrow” the cover before street sweeping.

    • +1

      You can even just peel it back so the license plate is visible. I mean, if the wind blew it back. Consistently, every street sweeping day.

      • They’d need the windshield exposed to leave a ticket and see his registration is expired.

        • I thought the street sweeper trucks issued camera tickets. The plate would go through the system and come back as expired, in such a case. At the very least, he’d get a richly deserved couple dozen tickets, which would *eventually* lead to the car being booted if not paid.

    • Lol, y’all are funny.

      Why does the writer want it moved? Just because they don’t think it fair? Sigh…life’s not fair.

  • It’d be a real shame if the wind happened to blow the cover off it just before someone called into MPD or whoever to report it…

  • It would be a shame if a strong wind blew off the cover during street cleaning hours.

  • My suggestion:

    -take a sick day. preferably on street sweeping day.

    -wait for said neighbor to leave for work.

    -“borrow” his car cover.

    -call to have car ticketed.

    -wait for tickets to stack up.

  • I agree with the renewal of tags, but I don’t see why someone else is concerned about another person moving his/her car. If you are having trouble finding parking, rent a space from someone or in a garage.

    • Accountering

      Negative. I am okay with having a rough time finding parking because my neighbors who play by the rules got there first. I am not okay with a neighbor who does not play by the rules causing those same issues. I just paid $200 in street sweeping tickets. He should be getting fined too, every week. Then you boot and impound the car, and if he doesn’t pay, you auction it to pay the debt.

      • I didn’t say he shouldn’t have to pay fees and fines. I was addressing *gain a much needed spot*

      • Anonomnom

        At first my reaction was the same as Anonymous’. I didn’t have any problem with this parking job until I read the end that this was a street sweeping area. That makes it crazy unacceptable, since everyone else has to juggle around to accommodate, but he gets a free pass. But the way OP drafted it, until “BTW” at the end, it sounded that OP was angry that this person never moved their car, which is frankly none of OP’s business.

        • Anonomnom

          Nevermind – Went back and its there earlier on. Ignore the above.

        • The OP mentioned street sweeping in the first sentence.
          Maybe your street doesn’t have street sweeping, but as far as I can tell, most residential streets in D.C. — at least in Zones 1 and 4 where many (most?) PoPville readers seem to live — _do_ have street sweeping. So those of us who park on the street are familiar with the hassle of moving one’s car in preparation for street sweeping and can share the OP’s frustration.

    • So you’re saying this guy should be left alone to break the rules and others should pay to rent a spot? That makes no sense. What this guy is doing is being a complete d-bag. I mean, I could cut every line I want to because I’m bigger than others and no one could do anything about it but I don’t because I’m being what some would call a decent human.

  • Hope your obnoxious neighbor doesn’t see this thread and proceeds to “wind-proof” that tarp…

  • I need to buy a cover for my car so that i can park wherever I want! Who knew it was so easy. Everyone on that block should buy a cover!

    • I agree – rather than messing with someone’s sweet (if inconvenient for others, apparently?) deal, I think MPD should instead experience a city-wide proliferation of car covers. Once 75% of the cars on the street are covered and un-ticketable, they may decide to come up with a system that allows them to ticket covered cars.

      Speaking of which – isn’t (a) there a risk of damage any time a car is towed? Why are they concerned about that in this particular instance? and (b) isn’t this “failure to display a valid parking permit?”

    • You already can, just put your hazards on and you become invincible, untouchable, invisible, etc.

    • Aside from “blowing his cover”, this would be my response. Oprah the neighborhood with car covers: YOU GET A CAR COVER, AND YOU GET A CAR COVER, and oh, now the police notice it’s an issue and we’re all screwed because while they can ignore one car, they can’t ignore 10-20!

  • D.C. government doesn’t have object permanence, so this is to be expected.

  • He must be from Baltimore. They use old, broken down lawn furniture to block off “their” parking spaces. But generally only when it snows.

    • That’s entirely different, honestly. Particularly in areas of the country that get SLAMMED with snow (like the Boston area last year).

      • In either case though (snow/sun), it’s wrong to use trinkets to mark a space as yours. The snow tactic is common in Pennsylvania too.

        • If you spend time to shovel out a space, that space is yours until the snow melts or more snow falls. It’s only fair.

      • Sort of different, but not really. I understand being annoyed that you have to do all of the work to clear the space after a blizzard. I don’t understand honestly believing that you have a right to deny parking on a public street to anyone else who needs it. Not having assigned parking unless you pay for it is just how living in a city works.

    • That’s not unique to Baltimore–it happens in most cities that get snow. In DC I’ve seen it here and there, and it was pretty common in the awful winter of 09-10.

      • I’m originally from the great snow belt and the first time I saw someone reserve a spot they dug out was after moving to DC. It does not happen in most cities who get snow.

  • My next-door neighbor had his car towed for having expired plates. While he was out of town, from his back yard, through a locked chain link gate they had to break through. (It was parked on his own property but clearly visible from the alley.) I guess a cover solves everything. (Well, not quite everything. We had our own car cover stolen from our car, right in front of our house, one night.)

    • Right? I’ve seen the parking cops lurking in back alleys in the middle of the night looking for people without registration.

      • Seriously? I have tried without success to get a commercial vehicle ticketed that uses our street like it is their own personal loading dock including blocking the alley and parking in a bus stop for hours! I even have the ward 4 supervisor’s direct line. And parking enforcement is going through the extra effort to break onto private property – ugh!

    • Your neighbor’s car was not towed for having expired plates. Your neighbor’s car was repossessed or stolen.
      Having expired plates is not a towable violation. And even it if is, DPW/DDOT is not going to go on private property, particularly if it involves breaking a chain link fence, to tow a vehicle.

      • Accountering

        +1 to this. DPW doesn’t even have jurisdiction on private property like this. They certainly aren’t going to cut a chain link fence.

      • That’s weird… I mean, I happen to know someone pretty well who had MD plates for the first two years she lived in DC. No tickets as long as she parked on the parking pad at the rear. She is very relieved to now have DC tags and not to have to worry about that crap anymore.

        • I know someone who had Illinois plates for 5 years. Kept the car on private property. Never got a ticket.

          • Yeah, I’m pretty sure you can store a car on private property without it being currently registered in DC – whether that means it’s registered somewhere else or has no valid registration anywhere. If someone’s towing it, it must be for some other reason.

  • Looks like a suspicious package to me!

    See something? Say something!

  • Has anyone contacted the councilmember?

    • If this is in Ward 1 and the OP contacts Brianne Nadeau and gets referred to constituent-services staffer Claudia Barahona, the cause is hopeless. Multiple PoPville posters have commented on Claudia’s unsatisfactory performance.
      Ben Case, the Ward 1 liaison for the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations, is much more responsive. If the OP is in Ward 1, contact him instead.

  • Assess how much it really affects your life and if all the effort is worth it? The people I know who are pains with their cars after generally unpleasant in other ways too. Best just to avoid them and get on with your life. You have the freedom to just ignore it.

    • +1 All I see is lots of wasted energy. Life is too short. Sure it’s unfair, but the OPs complaints are also borderline petty, IMHO.

    • In other words, we can help the poor misfit miscreant by showing him how to live in a community. His childish impediment on the public street needs to be exposed, ticketed, towed, and impounded. Rinse and repeat.

  • DC1

    wow, car cover… the new RPP, and best of all it never expires!

  • But honestly – this can’t be how it works, right?
    The front plate looks mostly visible. Law enforcement could surely peek underneath (what if there was something, you know, ‘ticking’, or otherwise suspicious under the tarp – would they not investigate because “they don’t want to risk damage to the car”?), look up the owner, and mail them a citation. Or tape it to the damn tarp – it’s just as secure and official as under the wiper blade (which seems just as likely as moving the tarp a bit to damage the car).
    I call BS on this one. Maybe he knows the officers on that beat.

    • No, this can’t be how it works. Something is totally fishy – there is no way that placing a cover on a vehicle (or anything else) makes it legally exempt from all parking and registration requirements.

      • Right? I mean, clearly that is a case of “failing to display a valid parking permit,” if nothing else.

        It ain’t displayed.

  • It would be a real shame if the cover blew off in a spontaneous high wind over night and went missing…

  • As an officer, that’s nonsense. MPD’s not going to tow it because we’re not in the business of towing street sweeping violations, however DPW can and will tow if it’s in a rush hour zone or has racked up a number of tickets. I’d check to see how many tickets that the tag has accumulated and contact DPW and see if they’ll boot or two. DPW doesn’t care about damage as long as it’s not unreasonable.

    As for the cover, that shouldn’t stop anything. DPW has lifted up my bike cover to check my tags, and I’ve seen DPW cut a lock on a shed and tow a broken down fixer-upper so I can’t imagine a cover is stopping them.

    It sounds like this guy may know someone.

    • What would be your suggestion? We did run his plates and no tickets came up. Maybe because it’s always parked with a cover on it.

      • Gripe to your ANC Commissioner who’ll gripe to your councilmember’s office who will e-mail DPW/DDOT and have someone come out. Or have the OP and the neighbors publicly twitter them and see if they respond. The only way I’ve had to get some things done is to make sure someone somewhere in the bowels of D.C. government was embarrassed enough to do their jobs.

  • Move the orange cones – they don’t give him any claim to that space

    • ItsPetworthIt


      While VERY irritating, his car being parked on the wrong side of the street during cleaning actually leaves more space open for people who need to move their car. But saving the spot with the cone is taking a space that could be used. Plus, you know he’s not home when the cone is out so the risk of getting caught taking it is much less than taking his cover.

    • saf

      I have a neighbor who uses cones and/or cinder blocks to reserve the parking spots in front of their house.

      She has always done this. Then he moved in, and he works for DPW.

      They have been reported, but somehow, nothing happens.

      And if you move the cones, he WILL come after you.

  • I don’t think you should be messing with his car cover. But I don’t see anything wrong with moving the orange cones and whatever else he puts in that spot whenever he moves the car.
    I also don’t buy the idea that they can’t ticket this vehicle. Maybe they don’t want to tow it because it might be a valuable car. But they can figure out some way to ticket it.

    • I’m hesitant to buy the “might be valuable” idea. I’ve seen all manner of Ferrari and Mercedes, etc. be towed. Surely tow companies have boatloads of insurance for this, and a legal right to interact with vehicles to tow. Besides, that would be classist af if that’s how the system worked: only “commoner’s” cars can be towed.

  • Call 311 every day and report an abandoned vehicle. Every day. Hey, it’s a car parked in the same location that never SEEMS to move, even when there is street sweeping. Get it on record moving forward and things may start happening. And get your council member involved.

    • OP – We have called and written to 311 and as quickly and as often as we do that they say since the car does occasionally move it can’t be classified as Abandoned. They may have stopped sending out inspectors since there are at least 3 neighbors on the block I know of upset and active in this all with zero results. I’m just the one posting about the situation.

      • I mean for cryin’ out loud, OP – take the cover. You have to have thought of this, right?

        • You don’t even have to completely remove the cover– just pull it up enough for the registration sticker to be visible. (Ideally, right before the street-sweeping period begins, but that means you’d have to be teleworking or something that day.)

  • Sounds like personal problems. #cityliving

  • You all are much nicer than I am. Removing the car cover would by like number 5 on the things I would do to that car.

  • phl2dc

    I find this so outrageous that I just tried to log in with the password “thisiscrap”.
    You should fashion a car out of cardboard boxes and cover it, a la Joey’s Porsche in Friends, and see what happens to that.
    I find it hard to believe that DDOT and MPD aren’t ticketing that car because they fear damaging it – I doubt any other car in the city is treated like that, unless car covers are some sort of poison to them.
    Alternatively you could get a car cover yourself, I guess… but in case this is happening because this guy knows someone, you might get a ticket…

  • I don’t get the whole “don’t want to be responsible for damage” thing because I’m pretty sure when my car got towed, the disclaimer was “not responsible for damage” “you invited damage by getting towed”

  • This is unreal. I hope someone “in power” sees this and fines his sorry, entitled @ss.
    But this being DC, he’ll probably just stay there until street sweeping is over and do the same next year.

    What a major D.

  • houseintherear

    Sounds just like a certain neighbor on the 100 block of U St. (But he also has 3 other cars in addition to his special pretty little corvette with the cover.)

  • Just take the cover off one night, preferably the night before streetsweeping. It would take all of 5 seconds to pull it off and unless he has spare car covers, there is nothing he can do short of moving the car the next day to avoid ticketing.

  • Talk about NIMBY overreaction. Don’t you people have better things to do?

    • Don’t you?

      • I find this funny too. Don’t you people have better things to comment about? Like commenting about having better things to comment about?

    • +1. A little harsh, but agree.

      • Then again, it’s better than NIMBY-ing about the Pope. Babysteps.

        • HaileUnlikely

          Although I suppose the following is not a rule or a definition, I always thought of “NIMBY” as referring to opposition to things that are perfectly legal but that one does not like. Does being bothered by neighbors doing something that is illegal and that directly impacts me make me a NIMBY? (serious question)

          • I think some PoPville readers are using “NIMBY” as an all-purpose term of derision to describe “person who is complaining about something I don’t think they should be complaining about.”

          • Its NOT blocking anyone’s drive way, fire hydrant, alley etc. There’s NO trash piled on the curb that suggests its preventing proper street sweeping. So just seems like they are mad just because they feel someone is gaming the system vs actually impacting the OP. If the car has legal tags then their gripe is NOT fair i got to move mine and they dont blah blah blah.

          • NIMBY means that I support a proposed development that provides societal benefits, just not close to my home because, well, I’m special and surely there are others who are not as special as me. It’s subjective and hypocritical. This is more like being a busybody, but I actually sympathize with the OP. It’s not NIMBY.

  • There’s one of these that appears on my street — a neighbor calls it “the package.” The guy who owns it lives several blocks away, which really annoys folks on my street because for some reason, he doesn’t park “the package” anywhere near where he lives. Very odd all around.

  • Call your councilperson, seriously.

  • Easy solution: All of your neighbors should cover your cars and leave them there during street sweeping day. I am sure DDOT and MPD would do something about it.

  • We have a neighbor in the southeast Capitol Hill section who has the same parking privileges. A car has been parked, unmoved for years now. It’s a fancy sports car. Our streets don’t get swept so he doesn’t have to move the car. He has another truck he uses daily and his sports car just sits taking up space. Nothing can be done.

  • Why don’t you guys just move the cones when he moves the car?

    • Exactly! That’s the real issue here. Move the cones, park in the space, and leave your car there for a week, forcing the neighbor to park somewhere else. Legally, if you have the right tags you can park on the street for as long as you want. If not, what’s the law that says you can’t.

      • “If not, what’s the law that says you can’t.” If your street has street-sweeping restrictions, you can’t leave your car in the same place for weeks at a time. (Unless it’s between November and March, when street sweeping is suspended.)

  • When he leaves the cones in the space, throw them on the sidewalk, and park a car there. There is absolutely NOTHING he can do about it. It’s illegal to do that, and he can basically go F himself. F that guy

  • This wouldn’t matter if there was plenty of parking in the area for residents. There is not. I love old cars, but this guy needs to rent a space or a garage, or just move. The parking enforcement guys on Segways are effective and ruthless about nonsense like this. I suggest having a chat with them about it. The ticket for expired registration is expensive.

  • its Illegal to park a covered vehicle on a public street in DC. Contact 311, your Councilmember and MPD watch commander.

  • I am shocked that someone who owns a cherry-red Mustang is an asshole.

  • wth MPD/DDOT ?! Just tape the damn ticket to the cover. The street is a public space and can’t be used as a parking garage. Makes no sense..

  • I bike by this every day and this week the car is gone. Any word on how/why? Good work in any case popville.

    • Well apparently he drives it occasionally, per the OP.
      My guess is that his Daddy or Grandma is someone with clout in DC civic affairs.

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