“What needs to be done to stop street sweeping / Ward 1 parking only on my street?”

street-sweeping-no parking

“Dear PoPville,

I would like to know what needs to be done to stop street sweeping / Ward 1 parking only on my street?

The street sweeping / Ward 1 parking only does not allow my friends, family and medical personnel to visit or conduct business on Mondays and Tuesdays in my area.

Im located between New Hampshire Avenue and Georgia Avenue with several elderly, handicap, retired and working class people who keep the front of their homes clear of trash and some neighbors request other neighbors to move their cars while on vacationing or in hospital.

I have given people that came to visit me or my neighbors my visitor’s parking pass,(only issued one per household) to use but on Mondays / Tuesdays you can’t find a parking space because the residents have moved their cars to the correct side of the street the night before.

I hope you can provide me with some direction, because I know that my area is not the only affected by street sweeping or Ward Only parking.”

85 Comment

  • justinbc

    If any ambulance needs to get into a house I’m about 99% confident their right to access supersedes a street sweeping vehicle.

    • I think medical personnel referred to home health aides or visiting nurses that may provide services to elderly neighbors (or others in need to medical care) on the street.

  • i am confused . I have lived in DC for 8 years and have not really found an issue with street sweeping. Its annoying but your friends and family can just park on the other side of the street. They might not get a spot on your street but my visitors pass is good for an entire area .

    • I guess op has many visitors between the 2 street sweeping hours, so parking on the other side isn’t a viable option. Seems the solution is to park further away or get there earlier the night before, but that’s just too obvious.

      • Also avoid driving with a personal car. Easiest options include Uber (for the lazy) and MetroAccess (for the senior/disabled). More cost effective options for the able-bodied include metro, bus, bikeshare, and personal bike.
        I don’t care how used to driving around the world without any thought to the costs you are; it’s not now and never will be a civil right.

        • Yea, I’m not going that far as I find driving to be far superior with both costs: time and money. Now if everything I do was in dc proper, I may reconsider. Biking would be cheaper, but it’s not an option for me. I have never had a needs a forum post level issue with parking. Specifically I picked a neighborhood with easy street parking.

          • Two things:
            1) Driving is more time-effective and cost-effective when environments are built to accommodate car travel at the expense of other forms (e.g. sprawling suburban parking lots that are difficult to walk through and service with transit) and related costs are not internalized (e.g. parking with no usage fee, roads with no usage fee). If you have work or personal needs that make going to such places commonplace, I’m sympathetic. By all means, do what it takes you keep a car so you have it to get to those places, and good on you for not complaining should there be a cost for you to bear to do so.
            2) Your neighborhood will probably change someday. I hope, if you’re still there and you can’t stomach internalizing more costs to keep your car near you, you’ll consider moving instead of trying to block housing and amenities from coming to your neighborhood for the sake of maintaining easy street parking.

          • Yup, suburbia is better for car travel. I’m sure there are plenty of people in DC who have cars they only drive it once in a while but keep it out of habit. For better or worse, I use mine almost daily whether that’s to Maryland or buying 20lb of meat from Costco.
            2. It might, and no, I’m not blocking anything for easy street parking. Hopefully by then I’ll have off street parking nearby anyway.

          • We’re in full agreement, but suburbia is also urbanizing. There are urban forms a Costco could take (although, unfortunately, DC itself just welcomed a totally suburban-form Costco is Ft. Lincoln) and I’d argue that urban forms are better for the environment and the economy. People keep cars out of habit and because the costs they have to personally pay are minimal; I think that should change.
            But, yes, I’m glad you aspire to stay in the city but also acquire off-street parking. That’s the decision I made as well.

        • I’m a little confused by all of the details in the OP–like is the person writing in someone who has medical providers coming to their home? Given all the attention to working class elderly people with disabilities it seems that the problem may be that many of these people have medical providers/health aides visiting and they cannot park on the street because the side that isn’t covered by sweeping is W1 only?

          I have a friend who works as a home health aide and there is no way he could do his job using transit because he often takes night shifts with clients or weekend hours when transit is extremely limited, he doesn’t make enough money to use Uber for all of his commutes and he would be biking like 30-40 miles RT per day minimum. Besides, he often has to take his clients to the grocery store, to church, etc. and how is he going to do that without a car?? If someone is coming to your house to provide critical, time sensitive services, and they are an hour late because the bus didn’t show that is pretty harmful to your quality of life and possibly more.

          • What is your friend’s employment situation? If they are providing a service that they are being paid to do (either by clients or by an employer), building in whatever necessary costs to provide that service in the neighborhoods where those clients live is a business case. He shouldn’t be personally liable for those costs; either he builds them into the rate or his employer reimburses them. That includes the cost of parking or Uber or whatever else is necessary for service to be performed.
            I know it is hard to deal with costs that are associated with some neighborhoods, but not necessary incurred in all neighborhoods. That is also part of running a business or employing individuals at a business. I am not sympathetic to businesses that can’t properly adjust for this and expect a public cost to be incurred instead.
            It is unfortunately that some seniors live in neighborhoods where this has become a cost and they may then need to personally bear some of that cost in their medical/health services (though few people actually incur these costs directly). But many of those people have also benefited in their property value from those changes. I know that this is little solace to those who desire to age in place and don’t intend to cash in on their property, and would support some kind of municipal subsidy to handle this case directly, rather than the whole city reconfiguring how land and asphalt are used to help them on the margins.

          • If you think home health care agencies are reimbursing mileage, parking or anything like that you must not be familiar with the industry. It is almost entirely 1099 contracted immigrants with extremely low levels of education. The clients have a contract with the agency, not the individual in 90% of cases. The contractors have to be certified (though there is plenty of fly by night certification going on in that industry) and do CLEs all of which have costs that are borne 100% by the contractor.

            In the case of my friend he works as a 1099 contractor for one of these agencies in addition to his full time construction job. They don’t even reimburse him for mileage if he takes a client to the store or to visit family, much less for his commute! He gets $12/hour and that’s it. If he wants to “build it into his rate” they will just find someone else to do it for $11/hour (the starting rate).

          • Zero sympathy from me for the home health aides. I have someone behind me in the alley with multiple home health aides. I have all the sympathy in the world for her. But her effing aides park in the alley and block my garage. Then I have to go hunt them down. Every time, they look at me like I’m the devil and say “I just popped in for 5 minutes” or something similar that makes me feel guilty for wanting to get into MY HOUSE!
            The truth is, it’s all about THEM, not the patient. They could just as easily parked on the street in front (just as illegal, though less likely to be seen in the alley). At least on the street, they wouldn’t be blocking anyone’s access. So they’re making a conscious choice to risk inconveniencing me rather than risk a ticket out front. I’m so fed up with them and their MD plates.
            I completely agree that if you’re driving in to DC, then either pay for a monthly garage pass, or take metro, or fight out for the street parking like the rest of us.
            Home health aides can suck it as far as I’m concerned.

            Whew! felt pretty good to get that off my chest!

          • @eva
            I am not surprised that an industry works that way. It’s not the only one. That is a problem with the industry. The idea that parking/street upkeep should be made worse to make it easier for an industry to keep squeezing out its contractors (and probably its clients too) is not one I’m sympathetic to. And maybe if I thought relaxing parking restrictions would somehow all go to help the recipients of home healthcare, I’d feel differently. But 90% of the slack would be taken up by less sympathetic actors, and these healthcare agencies would continue bilking clients, contractors, and probably the public at large in any number of ways.

  • Its a pain in the but there is really nothing you can do.

  • So to get your block on the street sweeping schedule you need a petition signed by at least 80% of a block’s residents indicating their agreement to honor the street sweeping parking restrictions. To have it reversed is basically the same thing. Here is the petition: https://dpw.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/dpw/service_content/attachments/2015%20Residential%20Street%20Sweeping%20Discontinuance%20Petition.pdf

    But remember street sweeping keeps litter, oil, leaves, and sediment from entering the storm drains. It’s not so much that you have neighbors who pick up litter in their yard as it is keeping the storm drains free of debris and our rivers clean.

    • Also note that being a street-sweeping-free and/or RPP-free block in the midst of many blocks that have street sweeping and/or RPP means you’ll be buried under the weight of visitors to all the nearby blocks parking on your block far more often than they can now. You will definitely make your life worse.

      • This is a really good point.

        • Unfortunately, many people will then reach the conclusion that the solution is removing all such restrictions and simply demolish most homes in the city to avoid the crowding.

      • So do you find it better to deal with street sweeping, etc? I live on a street where there really is no need for street-sweeping because the BID comes up the street, and when they don’t, we (a few of the neigbhors) go out and sweep up the trash). But I live so close to Navy Yard and DDOT and so many people with zone stickers or with visitor passes park there every single day. I think it would just be an added inconvenience to the residents to have to move cars, while the workers who park don’t seem to mind leaving their Govt Jobs and moving their cars as needed.

        • I’m not sure what you’re trying to say, but claiming that street sweeping is unnecessary because a government-granted (and also maybe nearby business-supported) BID also does that function doesn’t resonate with me. The BID does as good a job as sweepers while working around parked cars? If so, it must take a lot more labor than running a sweeper down the block.

  • Street sweeping is for the STREET. Not your front yard. It’s a great benefit to have trash removed from the street. You live in a city with limited parking spots. Tell your friends to metro/uber to you. It’s only for two hours in the morning. Take a drive if you have nothing else to do.

  • It’s a city. You’re not entitled to a dozen open parking spots at all times.

    • I love the people who think they “own” the parking spot in front of their houses. It makes me laugh.

    • While that’s true, there’s no need to be absolutist about it. I hear where the OP is coming from. I live in a dense area near a metro, and it is usually impossible for a contractor, maid, healthcare worker to park within several blocks during street sweeping hours, which is tough if they have equipment. I try my best not to schedule services during that time, and I don’t think taking the restriction off OP’s one block will provide the relief he/she wants. But this is an unfairly harsh characterization of OP.

  • This post wins the prize for ” Nag of the Day.”

  • I’m so confused by this. Why should one person decide for the entire street that no more street sweeping should happen? It’s a minor inconvenience one day per week.

    • Well they can’t. That’s why they have the 80% threshold for suspension/reinstatement of street sweeping.

    • justinbc

      He/she doesn’t get to decide, however they can certainly take initiative with a petition and let the residents decide if it’s something they want.

    • It’s twice a week per block, but I’m with you on the rest.

  • Dear some guy’s blog about the city –

    I live in a city and yet I am somehow unprepared to lead an existence in which I cannot park outside my door. While the rules have existed since the beginning of time, for some reason I cannot understand this nor can I communicate these simple rules to my friends and family. Please have your blog employees change these rules immediately and install a parking lot on my residential street. And hire more people to clean the street around our cars. Cleaning on a weekly basis would be fantastic. There should really be a program for that.

    Yours –

    J Kushner

  • But do we really need street sweeping every week? Plenty of places do it once a month and it’s fine. It really is a huge hassle (even for a resident) to have to move the car twice a week, and often it’s very difficult to find parking if you get home late the night before.

    • We need it once a week AT A MINIMUM. I’d like to see street sweeping every day. Failing that, more frequent emptying of the public trash cans, because the problem around my house isn’t littering, it’s overfilled cans and the wind that blows trash out of them.

    • justinbc

      I’m not sure you’ve ever truly experienced a huge hassle if this is how you classify one.

    • If you’re “moving the car twice a week”, it sounds like you don’t actually use the car during the week. In which case, consider the many options (car2go, Zipcar, Maven, Enterprise CarShare, and many more) you have for accessing a car when you need it and not taking a parking space 24/7 for a care you barely use. You may also consider renting a garage space by a suburban metro.

      • Yes, I don’t use the car for commuting, and take advantage of the absurdly cheap street parking in my neighborhood which should definitely not exist. That being said, the weekly (as opposed to monthly) street sweeping does seem to cause hassles disproportionate to its benefit. I’ve had contractors unable to work because they couldn’t find parking in the area, and it’s a hassle for me. Maybe “huge hassle” was overstating it a bit, but it’s certainly a problem of our own making that we can easily mitigate with smart governance.

        • I’m assuming you’re home during the work in which case you give the contractors your space and move to a meter. That’s $4 for 2 hrs then move back and street sweeping will be over.
          If you live in Shaw, you’re probably close ish to meters.

          • Or just pay the contractors $45 ticket. These are not real problems.

          • or have the contractors come on days that aren’t Monday or Tuesday? … or have them show up after street sweeping ends? … or have them come between November 1 and February 28, when street sweeping does not take place? … or something else? Street sweeping is in effect for four hours split over two days each week for eight months a year… that’s 136 hours a year (out of 8760) when you can’t park in a particular place. That’s not too hard to work around…

        • I’m glad that you recognize street parking is absurdly cheap. I’d recommend considering the cost of moving your car for street sweeping as part of that cost, which you may then only consider to be really cheap. Maybe see if there’s someone you can hire to move the car for you, if you need a dollar amount to add to your residential parking permit to then visualize the true cost.

        • “street sweeping does seem to cause hassles disproportionate to its benefit”
          Hassle: needs to move car for 2 hours twice a week. needs to coordinate with visitors re parking.
          Benefit: Stormwater management (removal of sediment and pollution from roadway that would run off to storm drain or streams), flood mitigation (keeping storm drains clear), beautification of neighborhood, road safety (removing sharp objects and debris from roadway), cost (pollution, sediment, and trash still needs to be kept out of streams and storm drains. the alternatives to street sweeping are very costly).

  • OP, this is a “you” problem. Not a “we” problem. We should all be more concerned about, say, rogue flippers who damage adjacent houses. We should all pick up after our dogs and stop for pedestrians. Those are WE problems.
    If you are having trouble with parking, I recommend that you reconfigure your back yard to put in a parking pad. I know, it’ll be expensive, and you’ll lose whatever’s back there now. But really, you cannot expect your whole block to forego a public service just so your guests can find parking closer to your place on Monday and Tuesday mornings. This is a YOU problem.

  • lol at the url, Dan. Trying to piece this one together. I guess we could pave over Rock Creek for more parking spaces?

  • I certainly appreciate having clean streets, storm drains, etc and I regularly move my own car twice per week to accommodate street sweeping. What is very frustrating is that while they are very thorough about giving tickets for not moving your car, they only come through with the street sweeper machine maybe 1/3 of the time. My street actually gets pretty dirty and I wish they would come by more regularly. If you are going to make people move their car (which I will happily do), then you should be sure to actually clean the street – not just give out tickets!

    I wonder how much DC makes off street sweeping related parking tickets per year…..

    • Agree. It feels as much like a gotcha revenue generator as a tool to keep the streets clean.

      • Yeah. Total gotcha. You have no idea you’re going to incur a fine unless you read the clearly posted sign right there on the side of the road telling you so, and just happen to crosscheck it with a calendar. Who has a calendar when they’ve spent all their money on a 2-ton box they keep parked on public property 95% of the time?

    • And yet, when i pay $50 to reserve a spot for a moving truck, put up signs, etc. I haven’t been able to get anyone to come and ticket cars who park there anyways. You’d think it would be easy money. Come on DC.

  • lol at the URL.
    But, really. Street sweeping is necessary because of what others have already said. Ward only parking is necessary so that you *can* find a parking spot at all. I think complaining about the street sweeping is silly and ignorant but I am 100% confused by complaining about the Ward Only parking, which only keeps MORE cars from parking on your street.

    • Typical conversation on my neighborhood listserv:
      “We have to block that restaurant/bar/whatever from opening or building from being built because we won’t be able to find parking.”
      “We can institute RPP on the block so only residents can park there. The building is on a commercial corridor and won’t be eligible for permits.”
      “But then my guests can’t park whenever they want for however long they want!”
      See also: “Stupid maryland drivers keep driving on our street and going too fast.” “Okay let’s petition for speedbumps.” “No speedbumps are really inconvenient. Can’t we just ticket them if they don’t live here?”

  • I concur this post confuses, but I think their real problem is with Ward 1 only parking which, on top of street cleaning, is a pain for visitors. My observation about Ward 1 only restrictions is they are on blocks with people who have too much time on their hands and they fusspot and get these restrictions put in place, after they have made a killing in home appreciation and want to keep streets to themselves. Is this the problem you mean? If so, I can only suggest living in a different neighborhood.

    • This may be true sometimes, but not always. My old block in Columbia Heights, Irving Street between 13th and 14th, was the same block as the metro and one block from Target. If there’s weren’t Ward 1 only restrictions, parking would have been impossible because people would not have wanted to pay the $1 per hour DCUSA charged for parking (though to be fair, the horribly designed ingress and egress points for that garage often would have added 30 minutes to each trip, so I’m sympathetic).

      • Exactly! I live on this block, and parking on weekends – when there are no restrictions – is impossible. And yes, the poorly designed ingress & egress for the DCUSA garage, plus the absolutely ridiculous tiny green signs “directing” people to the garage contribute a lot.

        • I live on this block as well, and if you go down just one block to Irving/Kenyon between 11th and 13th, there is almost always parking, even on weekends. Sure, it is usually on the rush hour no parking side so you need to move your car by 7 on weekdays, but its almost always available

          • Though its ward assignment varies, I think of the area at 10th and French Streets NW in Shaw. Used to be regular parking, now it’s Ward 1 only, even if you stay under two hours…. house value appreciated because of surrounding business development, but then homeowners did not want the cars that came with it and they asked for parking as if they lived in Berryvile. They want the best of both worlds. I don’t get it.

    • That’s my understanding too. They probably have street sweeping on both sides and Ward 1 only on one of the sides. So there’s one day that you cannot park on either side unless you have a Ward 1 Permit. My neighbors in Petworth are seeking to put up a Ward 4 Permit Only Signs and this is why I hate their idea. One day a week the Permit Side will get full and both guests and residents who didn’t get a spot will have to find parking on other streets. I feel that restrictions can sometimes work against the residents who requested them.

      • But if they have a VPP (which the OP said they do) you can use those in the Ward 1 Only parking spots.

        • Yes, I can definitely use my VPP and park on the restricted side, but guests won’t be able to park on either side.

          • Tsar of Truxton

            I think you are confusing RPP (residential parking pass) and VPP (visitor’s parking pass). If you have an RPP, you can park on either side whenever. Your guests can use the VPP (which is free) to park in the Ward 1 spots as well.

          • Or you could register your car in DC like the law requires and give your vpp to your guests. Or talk to your neighbors and borrow their vpp.

  • I’m going to vent a bit. The street parking on our block (also between New Hampshire and Georgia) was the only reason someone would move their three cars at all. Without street sweeping people would have zero incentive to move their POS thus creating fewer spots.

    The bigger problem I see is the ridiculous amount of handicapped parking spots on my block. My block has 6 dedicated hc spots! It was 2, 2 years ago. IMO – more likely that neighbors have figured out how to get a tag and spot rather than a giant uptick in disability. This creates much bigger issues which street sweeping actually helps with.

    Leave street sweeping alone – its fine and without it the street is full of crap.

    • Eh. If you’re disabled, get a handicap spot. If you’re not, deal with the parking allotted to you or invest in your own. It’s possible a wave of residents aged into handicapped parking all at once. But, either way, thanks for not (or at least not admitting) to playing vigilante handicap detective beyond speculation.

    • Petworth is an aging neighborhood. There are many elderly residents who need those reserved spots because of mobility issues. It can be frustrating, especially when those are the only available, but it’s important to remember this was their neighborhood first, despite all of the recent changes in the past 10 years.

      • yeah, my block got three new handicap spots in the past year. One of my elderly neighbors broke his hip, another has a mother who recently had a stroke and moved in with her, and the third realized that it was a possibility after watching her neighbors do it and petitioned for one as well. Yes, there is an increase, but it’s because there are a lot of very old people in this neighborhood. I have never seen the case of one of these spots being allocated to someone who didn’t need it.

        • I actually don’t understand the second new spot. Elderly mom who doesn’t drive – why should they get a private parking spot? That’s the same case as my block. But if my wife was pregnant could we get a spot for a year – or could I simply drive her to the door, get out, put my flashers on, help her inside, and return to find a parking spot? It actually just being a good neighbor.

          On my block the one dude who is actually handicapped doesnt have a spot but the 40 year old taking care of her mother does. this boils down to knowing the system, not need.

          • People who care for handicapped persons sometimes need to stay with that person. You can’t always drop someone off and expect them to be okay while you circle the block looking for a spot. So I think that may be the case of the 40 year old who is taking care of her mother. I’d cut her some slack and remember — she’s taking care of her mom so she cannot be 100% evil!

          • Kid is wheelchair bound and parents have a spot. Obviously kid can’t drive either. Are you against them having a space? If not, then you can see why 40yo needs a space. This isn’t rocket science.

          • Huh? The woman who had a stroke owns the car and is drive around by her family. She’s also the homeowner (she previously owned two homes on the block and now owns one–the one she lives in with her daughter). Why on earth would she not be entitled to a handicapped spot in front of her house???

      • “it’s important to remember this was their neighborhood first”
        No. This makes me crazy. If someone’s legitimately disabled, they are entitled to a reserved spot, no matter when they moved in. If they’re old but otherwise able bodied, they aren’t, even if they were born in the house 75 years ago. I am all for respecting the culture of a neighborhood, but this notion that someone who has lived in a neighborhood a long time is more entitled to scarce public resources than someone who recently moved there is completely misplaced. (And yes, that includes the NIMBYs who want new buildings built with no RPP rights, because they have parked on the street for 30 years and they’re entitled to, dammit!) It’s just as arbitrary as “I paid $1 million for my rowhouse, so I’m more entitled to parking than someone who is renting an English basement, or someone whose old, rundown home is worth 1/3 that.” All of those positions are ridiculous.

        • “If someone’s legitimately disabled, they are entitled to a reserved spot, no matter when they moved in. If they’re old but otherwise able bodied, they aren’t, even if they were born in the house 75 years ago.”

          I, nor anyone else, were arguing these things. All I’m saying is that if you move into a neighborhood with an aging population, handicap reserved spaces are to be expected and respected.

        • Tsar of Truxton


  • We just this week had the sweeping signs from my street in 16th St. Heights removed after a successful petition drive. I didn’t sign because I think it’s an important service. And frankly, I thought it was a required part of the city’s stormwater management plan, but I guess not.

  • Other than OP, it doesn’t sound like there’s a single person in the city who’s willing to pick up a broom and trash bag and walk around to clean up their own neighborhood.

    • False. The city is full of people who pick up trash. But, also, we all pay taxes so that this can get done in the only way that’ll actually scale properly. If you’re implying that, rather than policies to facilitate street-sweeping, a city full of doctors and lawyers just needs to man up and start crawling under parked cars to pick up trash, and everything will be just great, you’re just not being practical. People should go ahead and participate in making the neighborhood more livable in any number of ways, but street-sweeping is definitely good to have.

    • You really think that OP’s parking inconvenience means the entire rest of the District – in addition to paying property, income, and sales taxes – needs to go sweep the streets in their spare time? Every other developed major city on the planet has some kind of publicly-funded means of keeping the streets clean, yet you’ve got the expectation that the norm doesn’t apply here. The entitlement around here is pretty mind-blowing sometimes.

    • justinbc

      Hello, warehouse? We’ve sold out of all our Jump to Conclusions mats, could you please bring some more to the front of the store?

    • I don’t know what the OP’s block is like, but on mine, the volume of trash is such that it needs more than one person to clean it. (I tried to clean it on my own for a couple of years, but had to stop because repeated use of a “grabber” device gave me tendinitis.)

  • LOL. That area is anything but “clear of trash”. If anything, the advocacy should be to do the same on New Hampshire which is a disgrace to walk by- chicken bones, empty beer cans and broken bottles to say the least. I pick up as much as I can when I walk my dog, but the piles of debris are absurd in that part of Ward 1.

  • Street sweeping is just fine and the OP should be able to deal with it. The real pain in the a$$ are the rush hour lanes in Columbia Heights. So the city thinks we need to jam two lanes of cars through a residential neighborhood for two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening, but it’s ok that 14th street in front of DC USA is one lane!? Now, try asking guests to navigate parking regulations between street sweeping and rush hour lane signs in my neighborhood. Oh, and the city can’t be bothered to paint lanes on the street (requested a dozen times over five years) because it’s impossible to paint lines on a one-way street, where they alternate between three lanes on a residential street, and where cars have to switch sides twice a week for street sweeping. Confused yet? You should be!

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