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Friday Question of the Day? Would you like to see changes in the Visitor Parking Program?

by Prince Of Petworth May 12, 2016 at 10:22 pm 32 Comments


Thanks to all who passed on from DDOT:

“I received this survey via email today and then when I completed it I was able to see all of the current responses. Not sure if that is on accident or in the interest of transparency!”

It’s interesting to see the results. So since we seem to have parking on the brain this week – for today’s question – would you like to see changes in the Visitor Parking Program or do you like it as is? If you’d like changes – what would you like changed? Would you pay for a VPP pass? If so how much would you pay per year? For those who have them now, how often do you currently use them?

DDOT’s original email said:

“The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is evaluating the annual Visitor Parking Pass (VPP) program. As a resident of the District, and a VPP user, your input is extremely valuable in steering the direction and future of the VPP program.

Please take a few moments to fill in the following anonymous VPP Survey. The survey will be open through June 3, 2016.

The goal of this survey is to gather your input on your VPP experience in order to tailor the VPP program to meet user needs.”

  • Anonymous

    Nobody ever comes to visit me :(

  • I live in an ANC that doesn’t participate in the permanent VPP program (thanks to some heavy NIMBY movement by my neighbors), so I’m relegated to trudging to the local MPD station to prove my residency and receive the paper form. I think the permanent VPP program should be extended to every Ward and ANC, with strict enforcement, and possibly an annual fee (I like that this was an option in the survey – parking in DC, in general, is underpriced in many vectors).

  • Anonymous

    Do I like it personally? Sure do. Do I think it’s terrible policy? Yup. Like so many others have and will note, a small subset of the passes have turned into de facto permits for out of ward/state commuters and there’s basically zero enforcement of them. (Though as bad policy this pales in comparison to the disaster that is RPP)

    • JohnH

      To be fair, I wouldn’t say there’s no enforcement of them. When a relative moved here and stayed with me prior to moving into their condo, they used my VPP and started receiving warning tickets about overuse and needing to register in DC.
      I don’t think they enforce the ANCs too strictly mainly cause they aren’t that big.
      I would like to see better enforcement of resident only parking – I’m sure in some spots this is well done, but by me doesn’t seem to be often.

      • Euclidian

        I’m heartened to hear that you’re seeing some enforcement, but here in Adams Morgan the VPP is little more than a backdoor RPP. In addition to the daily commuters (mostly MD plates, but not all) with VPPs that are here each day, there are at least six out of state cars using VPPs that have been parking in the surrounding streets for more than two years. It’s kind of a joke.

        • Anon

          That was true on our block (1700 block of Seaton) for a long time, but we have a regular parking enforcement officer now and he’s caught on to the abusers and has been giving them ROSA violation tickets. One got booted the other day. I think it helps that some people petitioned our block for expanded RPP hours (7 days a week 7am-midnight) and then pushed for more vigorous weekend enforcement. Now I see our regular guy nearly every weekend and I’m sure there’s someone coming by on weekdays because when I come home most days there’s a MD or VA car with a ticket on it.

      • OP Anon

        All you need to do is submit the ROSA paperwork for an out-of-state vehicle (with proof that the car is registered to a domicile outside DC). That, combined with the VPP, gives you carte blanche to park on the streets for as long as you want without hassle. I know this because my ex – who lived in southern VA – would park for weeks in the strictly patrolled U Street area during RPP-only hours in front of my apartment.
        So yeah, the VPP is a backdoor RPP for those who don’t want to register their car in the District.

        • PG

          ROSA can only be done once and only for a year. So after the year, you’re out of luck for overnight parking.

          • Arouet

            Almost certain you can renew a ROSA exemption.

          • OP Anon

            ROSA is renewable every year. All you need to do is show a valid out-of-state lease or mortgage. My ex renewed it without hassle. In fact, you can’t renew it until you get a ROSA warning in the new year, IIRC.
            If the DC DMV was smart, they wouldn’t allow ROSA exemptions for the immediately surrounding counties (MoCo, PG, Fairfax, Arlington, Loudoun, etc.)

          • Sydney

            I have neighbors who have used ROSA for nights and VPP for days, since 2009. Their cars are all registered in Maryland, though they live and work in DC. Makes you wonder where/whether they pay their income taxes.

    • Cassie

      The last question of the survey was if you’d be willing to pay for a VPP. I said I’d be willing to pay $21+, because it’s worth way more than that, and it might deter people from buying it for abuse. Or it might make people try to sell it to recoup their losses. Who knows…

      • victoria

        Arlington has a great system. You buy a book of tickets – I forget the actual price, but maybe $2.00 a ticket? So you can have one visitor (the plumber) or 10 (the funeral brunch) and simply pull off however many tickets you need.

        • Tom

          I liked Arlington’s system when I lived there. I believe there were about 25 tickets in the book, and it only cost $5 or $10.

  • B

    I was able to see all the answers except if people would pay for it…interesting…

    I like this program, but my friends and family still get ticketed if they visit me and use the pass….

    • ah


      And that was a really poorly phrased question. Is that for an annual VPP? A daily VPP? A 15-day one at MPDC?

    • topherrobin

      If they are getting ticketed, make sure you they adjudicate since they can be just be handing out tickets and waiting if people would actually fight it or just pay it.

  • Nathan

    I request one every year, but have only used it once or twice when my parents have visited. Not that it seems to matter, there’s no parking enforcement in Bloomingdale.

  • lizcolleena

    I got one in the mail a few years ago and then when it was expiring received a letter that extended it for 6 months (ish). Haven’t received any info or a new pass since. We generally just go to the police station to get a temporary permit if needed now, but I did prefer just having one in the house. It’s not often, but a couple times a year someone visits me, we have rented a second car for some reason, a contractor needs some place to park to unload materials, etc.
    I could see how they could be taken advantage of though, so some sort of limit on the timing might be a good idea. For instance, it can only be used for two weeks at a time or something. That might already be the case (can’t recall), but I imagine it’s hard to enforce or little enforced.

    • anon

      You have to go to the DDOT website and request the pass every year. Unfortunately they do not automatically send you a new one.

      • lizcolleena

        Thanks, that’s helpful!

    • DupontDC

      Yeah I got one a few years ago when I was in SW as part of a testing program. They automatically mailed them for two years in a row, and then stopped. Now they have a problem with all of the Navy Yard workers abusing these, and you can forget finding a parking spot on a Nats game days because every car is from MD or VA with a VPP.

  • jcm

    I use mine frequently, because my street is resident parking only. So I have to use it every two weeks when the housekeeper comes, and any time I have a visitor, and every time I have a contractor or whatever. I think the system isn’t very good, though. It’s ripe for abuse, and using the ANC borders makes for some weird unintended consequences: technically my VPP is no good on my street on Mondays during street sweeping, because we switch parking sides that day and the other side of the street is in a different ANC.
    I think a more sensible system would be to allow us to use a parkmobile-style app for visitors. Charge us a couple of dollars each time, increase the cost based on usage, disallow multiple simultaneous sessions, and make the valid area a couple of blocks from the resident’s registered address. This would discourage people from using the passes if they don’t need to, make selling permits to commuters unprofitable, and we wouldn’t have to worry about the plumber driving away with your permit. For people without internet access or a credit card they could have a paper coupon book that works the same way.

    • Fdbrown73

      Or, ya know, not charge because we already pay taxes?

      I don’t have my own car. My girlfriend uses the pass when she stays at mine 1-3 nights a week. A contractor uses mine if he’s doing work for a week or so.

      The VPP approach is working just fine.

      To the extent it’s being exploited, enforcing penalties against the violators seems like the way to go to both reduce the issue and finance enforcement.

      • ah

        Does your girlfriend pay taxes?

        It’s questionable whether paying taxes should entitles anyone to “free” parking as it is, or even $35/year parking. But an extra space for your girlfriend?

    • ah

      Yes – all good ideas.

      And if not an app would like to see some sort of coupon system. Everybody gets a free book of 20 coupons good for one free day of street parking for a visitor. Either scratch off date used or requite clearly written in pen on the face of it.

      After 20 you have to buy more books of 20 for, say, $20-40 each (perhaps depending on the zone and parking demand). If you need one every day for your nanny, well, you should pay the extra $2/day for her to park.

      • victoria

        Arlington has this system and it works very well. But I wouldn’t go with free.

        • ah

          Just for political buy-in. If it’s free to low-level users, that’s most people, so they won’t complain too much. And the heavy users who complain are likely to be a minority or can’t justify it (e.g., people who want to sell their annual pass).

  • soozles

    The VPP works fine for me. I use it daily because I live in Ward 4 but my car is registered in Ward 1 where my ex lives, and the car is still in her name. however, while I’m getting work done on my house, I give the VPP to the contractor and then go park near the metro at CH or U St.

  • rachel

    have used it several times for out of town guests – the first of whom was my brother who actually accumulated a couple of tickets on the first day he was in town before we realized he was parked in zone parking. now I just automatically give it to visitors every time they’re here regardless of which block they park on or what day it is. I don’t own a car, but have guests every couple months or so. for my purposes it’s a great program. obviously I’d rather not have to pay, but it if would help with enforcement or abuse I’d probably still shell out some dough for a VPP because it’s better than my friends and family getting tickets.

    • topherrobin

      You can park in zone parking as long as it’s within your neighborhood. The VPP acts like a zone sticker for visitors

  • Anon

    The only time I’ve used it was when my wife’s brother was living in NoVA and commuting to Baltimore. There were usually a couple nights a week where he didn’t feel like driving back to VA and would crash at our house. After a few months of this he got ticketed for not having a ROSA exemption which was annoying.


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