“Hoping someone can help out a temporary car owner with a very stupid/basic question about street parking”

by Prince Of Petworth June 6, 2016 at 1:55 pm 45 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Victoria Chamberlin

“Hoping someone can help out a temporary car owner with a very stupid/basic question about street parking in the city. Searched the forum but seems no one else had the same level of ignorance.

If there’s a street with no parking signs whatsoever, except the ones at the end of the block saying “no parking beyond this point,” can anyone park there indefinitely? Or is there an unspoken but ticketable rule about residents-only or street cleaning or anything else?

Any advice here is much appreciated.”

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  • NH Ave Hiker

    As long as you have DC plates, I think yes (as long as there is no zoned parking/street cleaning like you said).

  • MtP

    NH Ave Hiker is correct. If the signs truly are as limited as you said, you can park there as long as you want with DC plates and registration. If you don’t have DC plates/registration, you can park there as long as you want until you are spotted three times in 60 days, or whatever the requirement is to be forced to register in DC.

    • anon

      Though you can get an exception to registering if you truly don’t live here – research ROSA exemption on DC gov site if that’s the case.

  • Anon

    It might help to know what block(s) exactly. Unrestricted parking is rare, and you know what they say about something being too good to be true. There could be something you’re not seeing.

  • neighbor

    post a pic of the signs? and the block?

    • Caleb

      Don’t go giving up your secret spot.
      We have a block like this in Bloomingdale–it’s been like that for the 7 years I’ve lived here. Even after they updated some signs two years ago and created the zone parking on certain sides of the road, they did not create parking rules for the block…it’s a mystery. It’s most useful for when friends come to visit for longer than a night and into the work week.

      • Tsar of Truxton

        You can get the permanent VPP if you live in Bloomingdale, no? Even if you can’t you can get a temp pass for 2 weeks from any police station. Granted, a no zone street is easier than doing that, but it really is pretty easy.

        • AsAMother

          What’s with visitor parking passes? I’ve applied online several times over the years for out of town guests, and I’ve never gotten one.

          • textdoc

            What ANC do you live in? I think some ANCs opted out (or didn’t opt in — I can’t remember what the process was).

          • JohnH

            Not all ANCs are part of the VPP. You can go to the police station and get one very easily though (good for 14 days). And it allows parking in the complete zone, not just the ANC (not sure how strict parking enforcement is on this).

        • caleb

          Yes, I know, but I’ve never done it and it’s easy to just say go park on that block.

  • anon

    Be aware that all of the opinions in this comments section amount to “arguments you should put in your brief when you are appealing a parking ticket.” You might well be technically permitted to park there, but don’t be surprised if a lazy parking officer tickets you anyway and hopes you don’t protest, and/or a lazy hearing examiner doesn’t bother to read or fairly evaluate your initial challenge to the ticket. The only people that actually listen to what you have to say are the folks presiding over the appeals. I have on multiple occasions defeated parking tickets that any minimally competent parking officer or hearing examiner should have seen was not warranted.

    • anon

      That’s why I alway go in person.

  • A. Nony Mouse

    In over a decade in DC I’ve almost never seen a block without any signs except during or after construction on the block. I would say that you should assume it’s a zone parking spot for whatever zone the spot is in.

    • anon

      Yes, I love those after construction freebie parking blocks – sometimes it goes on for months.

    • ParkingNinja

      I know of many blocks in DC that are totally unrestricted. They are generally not “downtown” but they exist.

    • I lived on an unzoned block in Mt Pleasant. They exist.

    • also anon

      A lot of my neighborhood in Northeast is not zoned. Saying you’ve lived here for 10 years and never seen an unzoned block means you don’t get around much I guess.

      • textdoc

        It would be entirely possible for someone who spends most of his/her time in NW — which is, after all, the largest quadrant of the city — to go for 10 years without seeing an unzoned block.

        • ANON

          Although I live in NW and I know of several unzoned blocks in NW

          • textdoc

            Fair enough… but I’ve lived in NW for 14 years and know of only a few unzoned blocks — one in Park View, and another in Mount Pleasant.
            To be fair, I’ve never made an effort to find unzoned blocks — all I ever needed was to find RPP blocks without street cleaning.

        • Sydney

          Try the 300 block of O St NW, the 100/200 block of Q St NW, plus the 900 block of 3rd St NW. These are a ten minute walk to Mount Vernon or Judiciary Square Metro stations.
          While it’s outside NW (and usually filled with out-of-state registered cars of residents) the 100 block of Pierce St NE is but one block from the NoMa Metro station.

          • Sydney

            My bad. For the record, the unlimited free parking (except street-cleaning days) would be on the 100-200 block of O Street NW, not Q, and on the 300 block of N Street NW, not O. Sorry!

      • A. Nony Mouse

        Well I’ve lived in or worked in ten neighborhoods but they were all urban. From looking at the map it’s the areas that are completely residential that are unzoned. So the areas that most people will travel or live in are zoned for parking, which makes sense.

        • also anon

          Your implication that unzoned areas on the map aren’t “urban” or “lived it” is really weird.

          • also anon

            Read as: “lived in”

          • textdoc

            I suspect the meaning was that the more densely populated neighborhoods are RPP-zoned.
            There are definitely residential areas in D.C. that are unzoned, but those are usually ones where the amount of street parking exceeds the demand for it because the density is lower (and/or people have driveways).

    • eva

      I live on an unzoned block in Petworth and several of the blocks around me are the same.

    • MtP

      There are quite a few such blocks, I used to live on one in Petworth.

  • Even if there aren’t any signs, I would still go to the police station for that ward and get a temporary parking permit. I had to do that when I bought my car (before I got my permanent RPP) and it took like 5 minutes.

  • neighbor

    It’s really hard to answer this question without knowing the block. It’s pretty rare there are no signs.

  • Anonamom

    I don’t think it’s as uncommon as people are suggesting in certain parts of the city. I live in Brightwood and there are no parking signs on my street. We do not have RPP parking or street cleaning, so there really is no need. Parking is almost always not an issue, the exception being in snow and the odd time someone my “steal” the spot in front of someone else’s house.

    • NH Ave Hiker

      Yea, it’s the same in my neighborhood. I actually know of some sides of streets in more popular areas (Shaw) that aren’t zoned as well (but do have street cleaning)

  • Paul

    There used to be a similar block along the side of my former condo. Total absence of any parking restriction signs. Then one Wednesday afternoon they added a Street Cleaning “Thurs 11am-1pm” sign. And they enforced the street cleaning restrictions literally less than 24 hours are they erected the new sign. Everyone car on that side of the block was ticketed. I wrote in to contest saying you can’t possibly expect people to check for new signs everyday after they’ve parked their car. I outlined the situation in detail in my letter including timelines and photos. Heard nothing for 3 months and then my appeal was denied. Infuriating.

    So, this is extremely unlikely to also happen to you. But it is not out of the realm of possibility. To the parking agency we are just piggy banks…

  • mmm

    I know of lots of blocks that are mostly zoned RPP (including in Shaw and near-in neighborhoods) but where there are also non-residential uses (schools, churches, corner stores, etc). Typically the spots adjacent to the non-residential uses are not zoned for RPP.

  • Anon E. Mouse

    With any other restrictions overriding, I believe it is still the law that you technically cannot park on any public street in DC for more than 72 hours without moving your car to another spot, however my experience is that this is pretty rarely, and selectively, enforced.

  • Starbucks_Dave

    The 2800 block of Albemarle Street in Northwest, Washington, DC is like this. If you have a car, that you’d like to stash for a long time, that is in a relatively safe neighborhood, this is one of the best spots.

    The area is surrounded by high end homes with driveways and garages, so residential parking is usually not an issue for these folks who would rather not pay the $15 residential parking permit fee when they register their vehicles.

    Also, areas near Foxhall are similarly available. Even the 1600 block of Juniper (my parent’s neighborhood) is uptown DC, East of the Park, and near Silver Spring.

  • siz

    yeah, like others have said there are tons of parts of the city that are totally unzoned – my grandfather’s sleepy block in forest hills, my boyfriend’s block in fairlawn just east of the anacostia…the zones are really for the city center where parking is in high demand. that said, i’ve come across these unicorns – at least when i lived there in 2009, there was an unzoned block in adams morgan that i’d use when i brought my old car down from my parents’ in silver spring on occasion.

    • textdoc

      Whoa! I lived in Adams Morgan and never encountered this mythical beast — maybe it wasn’t near the four or five blocks where I usually looked for street parking.

      • bruno

        Check the map provided by PDMtP. You can see it on there. It’s near Kalorama Park.

        • textdoc

          Ahh… the PDF never finished loading properly on my screen and I gave up and closed it. Will give it another try.


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