Even the Cops are Saving Parking Spots? “also he used OFFICIAL “Police Line Do Not Cross” tape to do so!”

by Prince Of Petworth January 28, 2016 at 2:15 pm 38 Comments

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A reader alleges:

“So, there is someone in my street that is in law enforcement that decided to ignore chief Lanier’s instructions regarding saving street parking spots after clearing the snow off the vehicles, and not only did he use chairs to save his spot, but also he used OFFICIAL “Police Line Do Not Cross” tape to do so!

Do as I say, not as I do?….”

  • MtP

    I just wanted to say that I fully support the practice of calling dibs on spots you shovel out. I am from Chicago, and it is simply routine practice there, and is respected. HOWEVER, there has to be a time limit. In my head, three days after the snow stops falling is reasonable (this past Tuesday in this case). This rewards you for your hard work, and allows you to come and go when running errands and whatnot. You should NOT be able to reserve your spot until all the snow melts, which it appears some people are trying to do this time.

    • Woodridge Resident

      This is a fair comment. I’d agree with your estimated time-frame there. But it’s definitely hell-2-pay for someone that takes my newly shoveled parking space (especially if marked by a chair or cone etc.). #OldDC Etiquette

    • Former Southie Resident

      Counterpoint: I’m from Boston where they do this too. But you can’t go imposing your culture on a city that you’ve moved to. I’ve lived here for over 20 years and in the neighborhoods where I’ve lived it just hasn’t been a thing. Sure, there are examples here and there, but it’s just not a big part of DC’s culture as far as I’ve seen. Whether it should be is up for debate (I’ve seen windows smashed and fistfights over this stuff), but all of the merits in the world don’t mean that you can just decide that since Chicago, Boston, Philly, etc. do it that it should be done here too.

      • Former Southie Resident

        I should add that if everyone did it here I’d be OK with it — at least in that case everyone would know what to expect. Here you have the tail wagging the dog with a few people saving spots and disrupting the free exchange of parking spots and taking advantage of most people’s fear of confrontation.

  • annonny

    Tweet this to @DCPoliceDepartment and see what they say?

    • Marty

      do they respond to tweets? I didn’t think that they did.

  • MM

    Anyone can buy that tape on Amazon – it doesn’t make it official at all.

    • OP Here

      OP here,
      This is true, but our neighbor IS in fact a cop (MPD Detective, I believe), so he is definitely using his department issued tape to save the spot.

      • anon

        genius plan — assumes no one would think a real cop with an ounce of self respect would be dumb enough to abuse police property for such silly gains. . . ‘anyone can buy yellow police line tape . . . remember that Seinfeld episode where Kramer went nuts with the stuff?’

        • LadyInBlue

          A take home is on duty 24hrs… Program is for exposure… If you needed him for a criminal issue I’m sure you wouldn’t hesitate… and if he’s off duty… He’s to handle WITHOUT pay….Wonder if he didn’t make it to work through the storm….yea keep whining on the petties as Officers leave Our Great City in Groves!!

          • eggs

            Ok I am really trying to phrase this in a non-snarky way, I apologize if I don’t succeed but I’m genuinely curious.
            Do you truly believe the phrase is “leaving the city in groves”?

  • That Man A

    this is crazy the whole “dibs” thing is stupid imo
    id almost be compelled to park in that space just because there were chairs placed in it

    • Someone silly enough to go thru the trouble of reserving a spot is probably also silly enough to key your car.

      • SydneyP

        No problem. We know where that person lives. Ah, the cycles of violence and retribution!

  • Philippe Lecheval

    I don’t know which neighborhood you live in, but those chairs are nice enough that they’ll almost certainly be stolen before the guy gets home from work anyway. So the police tape is ultimately a moot point.

  • For everyone who gets apoplectic about shoveled spots…when you go out, for just a few hours, where do you park? Do you dig out a spot from a snowbank?

    • gabeyo

      Underground garages

    • anon

      +1 so true . street parking is a public fungible good my friends

  • Anonemuss

    I think everyone should just start moving every chair, or whatever they see in the street to save a spot, to the curb. Problem solved.

  • Shaw

    Do what I’ve been doing all week and gently collect the items left in the space and move them over the curb to make the space available to all. If there is a sign, take it to the trash can and throw it away. Your space belongs to you because you *paid* for it, with money, by buying a place with a private parking space or by paying money to someone else to rent it.
    Using your labor to be able to use a free public good (like curbside parking) does not make the good yours, any more than the fact that I spent 45 minutes shoveling out the fire hydrant on my block makes that fire hydrant my personal property now, or the fact that I lugged a heavy bag of books home from the library means they belong to me now. Other buildings that are on fire still get to use that hydrant, I still have to take my books back to the library this week, and that parking spot is fair game for anyone and everyone who wants it and has a car to put there at the time.

  • anon

    better yet — take iphone pics of every single note, poster, or signifier of someone’s territorial pissing and share on social media. we can’t get enough of this stuff! Anyone see the gun range target poster employed in Hill East? That was a new one.

  • anonymous

    Legitimate question for everyone who keeps saying “if you don’t want someone to take your spot, then don’t move your car until the snow melts.” That’s been my mentality too, and I’ve found other ways to commute to my office in the burbs this week.

    However, what if your job absolutely requires your car – like cab drivers or police officers (not saying this MPD detective parks his police vehicle in front of his house, but who knows). Do you feel any sort of entitlement to spots on their behalf? Or because they can’t afford a private off-street parking spot, and their job absolutely requires them to take their car everyday, are they supposed to just pack a shovel and dig out a new spot when they get home until they’ve done the entire block a favor of digging out spots?

    Look I totally understand that if everyone did this, no one would be able to park anywhere til the snow melts. But damn some of you have no forgiveness for people without considering what their circumstances might be.

    • Logan

      Both police stations and cab companies have lots that you could park you car in for a couple days.

      • HaileUnlikely

        The driver has to get from their home to the lot, no? (And the police/cab driver was obviously just an example. Don’t get hung up on the details of the example selected. Try home healthcare worker, or plumber, or electrician. I’m not aware of special lots for them.)

        • Anonoline

          Then they’re in the same boat as everyone who normally drives to and from work (i.e. most car owners) and just have to find another way to do it.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Not the point. The comment that kicked off this part of the discussion was saying that one might have more sympathy for some people than for others, depending on their situation. Then we went off topic with a side argument about whether a specific group, who was named solely as an example, really needed to park. That is not and never was the point.

      • LadyInBlue

        Not necessarily….

    • Me

      Doesn’t matter. The practice is okay in areas where there is an abundance of spaces. It’s perfectly fair in such a case
      to call dibs on a spot you shoveled out. Someone else that wants a space can then simply shovel out another spot.

      That’s not the case in DC where spaces are scarce and where people park cars they do not use and effectively hog spaces. New York curbs this practice by making every block subject to street cleaning twice a week. You don’t get to hog a spot for weeks on end – you have to move your car. I think we should institute such a practice.

      • textdoc

        Many residential D.C. streets have street cleaning, whereby each side is cleaned once a week. However, D.C. doesn’t do street cleaning between November and (IIRC) mid-March, because of the potential for freezing temperatures and because the street cleaning personnel do leaf collection, etc. instead.

        • Me

          I don’t see any such street cleaning signs in Georgetown, Mt P or Columbia Heights – all pretty central neighborhoods. If they exist then they are few and far between.

          • msus

            They’re all throughout Columbia Heights.

          • Cleo20009

            I don’t know where you’re looking cause most residential neighborhoods I’ve ever parked in have street cleaning once a week. I live in Dupont and routinely drice to downtown, petworth, Adams Morgan, the hill, SE, eastern market, etc. I think you have to go two miles out before hitting a neighborhood without it.

          • textdoc

            When I lived in Adams Morgan, most of the residential side streets had street cleaning, but there was one that didn’t. I made sure to leave my car there when I was going on vacation.

  • AnonV2

    I can’t wait for car2go to start operating again so I can wedge a smart car between every stupid pair of lawn chairs I see.

    • petworther

      Yes! This is the only way to bring an end to this.

  • Steve

    The reserved public spaces are a toxic epidemic. The police and/or city employees should make clear that they will gather the junk ASAP. If you want your own space, rent it or buy it. No exceptions please.

    • erin

      A “toxic epidemic”? Did you get lost and mean to post on a thread about the zika virus? If everyone took the energy they’re expending on vitriol for the parking spot savers and instead shoveled out a few more spots on the street, we could end this conversation.

  • saf

    Send this to the cops with the address.


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