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“Some neighbors have taken it upon themselves to create metal no parking signs in an attempt to scare workers from using street parking”

by Prince Of Petworth January 24, 2017 at 12:45 pm 67 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

There has been a lot of talk about signs this week, so I thought I would flag what I believe to be an unfortunate set of signs that have been appearing around the Eastern Market construction. Photo above. Some neighbors have taken it upon themselves to create metal no parking signs in an attempt to scare workers from using street parking. Segments of my note to Charles Allen are below, including more detail. To Councilmember Allen’s credit, he reached out and asked that I connect with him on this, and I’m hopeful he will agree that this type of coordinated messaging has no place on our public streets and needs to stop.

The irony is that many of these signs are being strapped to street sign posts within line of sight of MLK quote signs that have been appearing in front yards throughout the neighborhood this week.

And an update since last week: while I appreciated Councilmember Allen’s initial response (publicly on twitter, of course) my attempts to connect with him privately have been met with radio silence.”

Dear Councilmember Allen:

“As background, these non-governmental metal signs have appeared in a several block radius around the Hine project, apparently placed by residents who believe they are authorized to credential and otherwise limit access to public street parking spaces. It is clearly a coordinated effort among a group of Hill residents, as the signs are identical and widespread.

[N]either I nor anyone else on Capitol Hill has a legitimate claim to a public parking space, so it is important to acknowledge that these signs are not an attempt to address a legitimate parking issue. In fact, if these signs are to have any impact on parking, it is to simply push workers to park further away from the job site – still on the Hill of course – meaning these residents are alleviating their personal concerns not only at the expense of these workers, but also at the expense of their neighbors on the Hill. It is the epitome of selfishness and entitlement at best. ….

The real problem with these signs, if we are being honest, is the overarching message they are sending. It is important for us to be mindful that these workers have as much right to these parking spaces as we do, so long as they are not in violation of government-posted parking guidelines. I do not wish to make assumptions about the true intent of the group of Hill residents who chose to have these signs made – undoubtedly at great expense since they are metal, and colorful – but when I see signs posted in our neighborhood, by our neighbors, that clearly target minority construction workers and attempt to expressly limit their access to public space, I think racism. These signs are being posted by our neighbors to keep “others” out of our space while preserving it for themselves. At risk of hyperbole, these signs may as well say “white homeowners only” because that is the result they seek to achieve.

We have obviously had many non-resident workers parking in our neighborhood for years, as many who work at the dozens of businesses on 8th Street undoubtedly commute to work by car. It is an unfortunate indictment on the latent underbelly of our neighborhood that neighbors only chose to care about this act when those workers became decidedly non-white and non-English speaking. …

If those on the Hill wish to reserve parking for themselves, they are welcome to purchase property with accompanying private parking. Otherwise, they have absolutely no right as private citizens to determine who may use public street parking. Now more than ever it is important for our message as Hill residents to be one of inclusion, regardless of race, income, or job status. I think we can agree that these signs do exactly the opposite.”

  • kapitolhill

    Whoever is making these signs is a combination of NIMBY/racist/and someone who thinks the street parking spot RIGHT in front of their house belongs to them. They probably block it in the winter too after shoveling.

    Here’s hoping that they’re all taken down. The workers are doing a job, providing for their families, and improving the infrastructure in the area – they don’t deserve this blatant attack.

    • Anon

      The workers can still do a job, provide for their families, and improve the infrastructure in the area while parking where they’re supposed to. I don’t think I have a right to park near my house (I think the parking situation is a prelude of what’s to come once the Trader Joe’s opens) but I do have a right to be upset when a developer isn’t upholding the terms of their agreement with the neighborhood.

  • Frank

    I will withhold judgment until I see a picture showing the signs and the spaces. LOTS of construction workers get carte blanche from their company to park illegally and take up lots of spaces, tickets be damned. Sometimes they even park super illegally in a no-parking area that can impede traffic, on the theory that a lot of cars parked together look legitimate.

    • dcd

      I don’t know why you need to withhold judgment. Parking illegally is bad, and should be ticketed. Parking legally is fine, and shouldn’t be chilled by private signs. Also, if construction companies are giving carte blanche to park illegally, and paying tickets, what impact would an (incorrect) no parking sign have? Are you suggesting that the police should ticket based on this sign?

      • FridayGirl


      • Smilla


    • OP

      That’s a fair position. I can tell you that the signs are being zip tied to public street signs, underneath the ones that outline the parking guidelines (e.g. 2 hour parking, no parking from 5pm-7am, whatever) so as to look legitimate. I have yet to see one placed in an area that is actually a no parking zone.

      • condoer

        Also – the OP states that it is residents placing these signs, but is it possible it could be the construction company itself, trying to police it’s own workers and appease the neighbor?

        • Anon

          No way. Definitely a convoluted conspiracy theory. #signgate

      • James

        If they are just zip tied to the parking signs, go take them down, and bring them to Allen’s office.

    • Anon

      I live a block from the Hine site and this is an ongoing battle. It doesn’t really affect me, since I’m at work during the day, but when I pull out of my space in the morning there’s often a construction worker waiting to take it. I tell them they can’t park there and they just laugh. There are legitimate no parking signs up already but everyone just ignores them. The neighbors have been on it, complaining relentlessly in ANC meetings, and calling 311, and taking pictures of the violators to send to their supervisors. Clark Construction hired someone to make sure no one parked where they weren’t supposed to, but the guy was fired for sleeping on the job and was never replaced. A few months ago parking enforcement agreed to focus on the blocks around the Hine, and in a 14 day period issued more than $23,000 in fines and 435 tickets, but the problem still persists. I don’t agree with this particular course of action, but you really can’t find any parking on weekdays, so I can understand why my retired neighbors are upset and frustrated.

      • Caphill

        If it’s on street public parking…You have no legal right to control who uses the public parking. They are 100% legally allowed to park their as long as they follow the street signs.
        Don’t like that? Buy a house with a driveway or garage. No sympathy (fellow Hill resident)

        • Anon

          You’re wrong about this. The parking restrictions were an agreement the developer made with the community. Just like they’re not allowed to make noise at 3am. If they started making noise at 3am wouldn’t we have a right to complain? Furthermore, out of zone vehicles can only park there fore 2 hours at most.

  • anon

    “Otherwise, they have absolutely no right as private citizens to determine who may use public street parking.”
    I would be fine were this the case, but it’s not quite. We do have the RPP system, after all. Residents need to band together and request DDOT make their block permitted. DDOT may or may not grant the request.

    • Anon

      It already is.

      • anon

        Well then either a) this is moot, because the non-residents can’t park there legally anyway, or b) residents want the RPP restrictions amped up (either to cover more hours and/or to not have the standard two-hour allowance for non-permitted cars). If, b, repeat my advice with the relevant specifics.

        • Anon

          Neither. The workers don’t care about getting ticketed and/or aren’t getting ticketed often enough for it to be a detriment.

          • dunning-kruger

            It is a cost that gets factored into the job. Paying a $35 ticket is cheaper than parking a mile away and having to walk back and forth from the truck when you need something. Don’t forget that as the OP mentions parking a mile away would still be in an RPP zone. There really is no choice for them. As developer friendly as DC is, the parking plan/enforcement is anything but.

  • condoer

    If the signs are not valid, they should be taken down. If construction workers (or anyone else) are parking illegally or in zoned parking without the RPP then they should be ticketed accordingly. The OP seems to be reading a lot into these signs – wow! Also, if the construction company knows it will have lots of workers driving to the job site, it should plan accordingly and get appropriate emergency parking areas reserved.

    • Anon

      Unfortunately none of these things are working currently. Any other ideas?

      • OP

        My idea is to demand that the city enforces whatever legal parking policy is in place, and if they fail to do so, make note of it and hold people accountable at the ballot box if this is a voting issue of choice. There are people in the neighborhood who have been against this project for years, and I believe the underlying reason for their evolving yet continuous opposition to this project has been an open secret for some time now. They demonized the developer for years, and it appears to me that when that didn’t work they decided to set their sights on the workers.

        • Anon

          What is this open secret? I’ve never agreed with the Hine detractors but I didn’t think there was some sinister ulterior motive behind their opposition.

  • ET

    I assumed some of the signs were because there was some staging of construction equipment here and there which if it is a problem needs to be taken up with whomever is managing the timing of trucks/deliveries related to the project.

    I do agree with the NIBYISM if it just about them not parking their personal cars there. If that is an issue just have parking enforcement on speed dial – that area is Zone 6 2 hour parking limited. Creating special signs is unnecessary.

  • Zone Parker

    Am I missing something here? Aren’t most of the blocks around the Eastern Market already on zone permit restrictions? If so wouldn’t enforcing that solve the problem?

    • Anon

      Yes to your first question, no to the second :)

      • anon

        What? Enforcing RPP won’t solve the problem? Because the construction workers are also residents?

        • Anon

          Enforcing RPP hasn’t solved the problem yet!

  • Ross

    So true. There have been pockets of Capitol Hill that have been “white homeowners only” for decades.

    • Marty

      curious how this is “enforced” by owners who are looking to sell?

    • Anon

      Whaaat? I’ve never heard of that. The neighborhood is certainly becoming more white, but I thought that had to do with real estate prices.

      • Anonymous

        Ross is correct, but I’ve always assumed that it was because there have always been pockets of extremely nice and well-kept homes that only wealthy – and presumably white – people could afford. I *think* it was typically people who had some connection to the political/academic/military industries of DC. Some cap hill homes have been very expensive for a long time.

  • Anonymous

    Why can’t you just cut the zip ties and take them down? That’d be more bigly impactful.

    • Tom


  • Anon

    Meanwhile, across town construction workers park in neighborhoods and then are bused to their work sites. I think that’s a good idea: legal parking plus a solution for getting the workers to their jobs.

    • Anon

      That’s what is supposed to be happening here: the workers park at RFK and get bussed over. But many aren’t doing that.

  • Terpie

    Both sides are wrong. The sign making is absurd, and someone going through that level of meddling is insane, but it’s in response to a legitimate issue. The construction company is being a bad neighbor. It is their responsibility to provide on-site parking or transportation from an of-site lot for the employees. That’s standard protocol for any legit operation, so there isn’t undue stress on the neighborhood parking.

  • L.

    Uh, are the signs only in Spanish? If so it’s really clear who they’re trying to keep out.

    Who has the time and energy to devote to these escapades? Don’t people have jobs?

    • Anon

      In my experience the workers parking illegally are Spanish speaking, or at least pretend not to speak English when you tell them they can’t park somewhere. Their supervisors should be communicating it to them, but they either aren’t or the consequences aren’t great enough for them to start doing it.

      • eva

        I have a friend who is a laborer for Clark and he has at times worked on this site. He does not speak nor read Spanish so maybe that’s why he’s been taking your precious parking.

        • Anon

          Um, good for him?

          • Anon

            Does he not speak English? There are signs in English too.

        • Anonoline

          No offense, but your friend should have been reprimanded for doing that. He’s supposed to be parking at RFK like everyone else.

          • eva

            Anon, he doesn’t have functional literacy so unless you are going to read the sign to him then no, printing it in English would not solve the problem. Even printing it in his native language would be of questionable utility.

            And yes, he gets a lot of parking tickets because Clark sends him to different job sites from all the way to Fort Meade to Dulles with a few hours notice, sometimes multiple sites in one day. And because he is always going to different sites and has very low literacy he is unable to learn what the signs say with any consistency. And because he doesn’t get paid for time spent looking for parking or in transit from approved parking to job sites, he like many other low paid hourly workers take their chances.

          • Anon

            Thanks for that insight. It does sound like this is a communication issue between Clark and its workers, especially the ones like him who aren’t onsite every day. Still, it shouldn’t be that hard and the community shouldn’t have to bear the burden of their disorganization. As a contractor I’ve worked on various construction sites for short durations, and someone always tells me exactly where I should park and how to get to my work site from there. It’s just something I build into my commute time.

  • Andy from CM Charles Allen’s Office

    Hi everyone – I just wanted to provide a quick update on this issue. The signs were hung by the construction company as part of their agreement with the neighborhood/ANC’s. Their employees are not allowed to park within a quarter mile of the project area. This is an attempt by the developers to be responsive to the community.

    If anyone in the neighborhood is interested in this matter or would like to participate in local issues, I would encourage them to attend the next ANC 6B meeting. Here’s their website with more information including the events calendar.



    • OP

      Andy, thank you for this information and for being willing to engage. It is a testament to the power of the Prince of Petworth that after nearly a week of silence he was able to elicit a response within an hour. My follow up would be to note that the signs are not posted around the entirety of the construction site in a quarter mile radius, they are confined to a several square block area directly east of the construction site. Is it a coincidence that they’re clustered in an area where several of the Hine project plaintiffs reside, or was this this an ask made by a specific group of neighbors to provide special treatment for this specific section of the neighborhood? Finally, if posting signs was deemed beneficial to such a degree that the request was granted, why was the benefit limited to the east side of the construction site not extended to neighbors in other surrounding areas?

      Again, I sincerely thank you for your willingness to engage and provide additional transparency.

      • Anonymous

        “It is a testament to the power of the Prince of Petworth that after nearly a week of silence he was able to elicit a response within an hour.”
        I’d say it’s a testament to the damage that can be done by publicly spreading incorrect information and unfair allegations. The funny thing is that even though you now know what’s going on, nothing changes. Was it worth trashing your neighbors (and convincing yourself that they are not nice people) just to get some information faster?

        • Anonoline

          +1 So much of what the OP said wasn’t just speculation but blatant untruths. Anyone who is familiar with this issue knows that the workers have an agreement with the ANC to not park there, and that the continued disregard of that agreement has put a far greater squeeze on available parking than the occasional nonresidents that have historically parked on our blocks.

        • OP

          Most of my neighbors are outstanding people who are opposed to, and embarrassed by, these signs. So while you’re more than entitled to disagree, I respectfully stand by my assertion that this is the work of a select few who have a pattern of publicly-documented behavior over the past several years years related to this construction project that I believe justifies my thoughts on the matter.

          • Anon

            Didn’t Charles Allen’s office just say the construction company put these up? What are you going on about?

          • JS

            The Councilmember’s staff literally just said your assertions are not true.

          • facepalm

            Alternative Facts indeed…

          • OP

            Given their targeted placement (e.g. not within a quarter mile radius of the site but only on one side of the site, which happens to be where the anti-Hine ringleaders live) my question is who directed the signs to be placed in this area, not who physically put them up. The blind opposition to this project and the litigious nature of some who live on these particular blocks makes it seem like quite he coincidence that the signs would appear in this area and this area only. Given the tone in your numerous posts here, I’m starting to wonder if it was you!

          • Anon

            Probably because it’s where most of the violations are occurring. I’ve always been fully in support of this development, and the availability of street parking on weekdays doesn’t personally affect me. But there’s obviously been a lack of communication between the workers, their supervisors, upper management, and the ANC regarding parking, so having signs that everyone can understand is beneficial to everyone. I don’t get why you think this is such a terrible thing.

  • DC Resident

    Many times the developers and contractors have an agreement with the ANC to have the construction workers park somewhere else or take public transportation. This is done in exchange for the neighbor’s and ANC’s support. The construction workers were likely told not to park there but are not following the rules. This happens for big construction projects around the city all the time. I remember this happend when the Marriott Marquis was being built because hundreds of construction workers would take all of the parking spots from people that live there. When that happened neighbors would take pictures of construction workers and their cars and send them to the ANC and the developers.

  • JohnH

    I have to go to Georgetown periodically for work and I’ve noticed a LOT of orange cones being used for parking space savers over the last year. It’s absurd. If you want to buy a multi-million dollar house, maybe find one with parking if it’s that big of a deal.

    • Anon

      What does that have to do with this?

      • Anon

        Also how do you know residents are the ones putting the cones out? On my block they’re used to reserve space for construction equipment.

        • JohnH

          Because I’ve seen the people come and go, move the cones, and never once has there been any sort of construction equipment or people?
          And it’s not the exact same problem, but it involves people trying to reserve space for themselves to park illegally.
          If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you own some orange cones yourself.

          • Anon

            All I’m saying is people should not park where they’re not allowed to park. That has nothing to do with reserving street parking for oneself with orange cones, which I agree is ridiculous and wrong. Are you delusional, or do you just have trouble with reading comprehension?

          • JohnH

            Saving public street parking for your personal parking with cones is not allowed. You just said you don’t want people to do things they aren’t allowed to do…..so why are you arguing?

          • Anon

            Wasn’t arguing. Just trying to understand your point but I guess you didn’t have one and just wanted to vent about the cones in Georgetown. Don’t worry about it.

  • saf

    You sure it’s residents and not the construction companies?

    • saf



    Why not just setup a game a street hockey with a real puck, no goalie and the cars as a backstop?

  • Welp

    Here just to point out the awful Spanish and made up word… Projecto? Which is in its own way offensive.

  • navyard

    For Sale: Zone 6 Parking permit. Park as long as you want on any street!

    Esto es una broma


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