From David McAuley. Email at david[AT]borderstan.com
A community forum on Sunday parking in the Logan Circle area brought a message from the DC government that “churches must work on off-street parking,” as well as many complaints from the church-going community. The forum was held Wednesday evening, February 27, as part of the monthly meeting of the Community Development Committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F.
As part of a presentation at the beginning of the meeting District Department of Transportation (DDOT) program manager Damon Harvey said that “churches must work on off-street parking.”
He returned to this idea many times while responding to citizen complaints, saying that the DDOT will work with churches to identify possible sites for nearby off-street parking. Harvey said that special parking arrangements for local residents are “a good idea,” but they could possibly be lifted for part of Sunday.
Harvey also pointed out that, after DDOT’s Enhanced Residential Permit Parking (ERPP) program was extended to Logan Circle last year, his office identified 50 new parking spaces in ANC2F for use on Sunday morning. These spaces are on streets that are heavily used during the work week, when parking is forbidden. They are now signposted as usable on Sunday mornings.
The ERPP program reserves one side one a block for cars with resident parking stickers between the hours of 7 am and midnight. The other side of the block is open to visitors for limited amounts of time.
Many members of the public, both church leaders and members of congregations, used the forum to bring their complaints about the state of parking near churches to the attention of the board. Some complained that the Sunday morning hours for the 50 parking spaces were not long enough, as church activity often started early in the morning and went on until the evening. One attributed increased parking problems to recent bicycle-friendly measures, saying that “the bicycle people are very powerful”.
The Rev. Vernon A. Shannon of the John Wesley AME Zion Church (14th and Corcoran Streets NW) testified that cars participating in a funeral at a church had been ticketed because they were double-parked in the bicycle lane on 14th Street, in spite of what Shannon understood to be promises to the contrary. Harvey replied that, while churches could apply for temporary permits for curbside parking for funerals, double-parking in bike lanes was always going to be ticketed.
The Rev. Lane Davenport of the Church of the Ascension and Saint Agnes (Massachusetts Avenue and 12th Street NW) called for the full ANC to recommend the lifting of ERPP in the Logan Circle area on Sundays from 7am to 2pm. He characterized the ERPP as “privatizing a public space for residents.”
Wednesday’s Community Forum was the first in a series of three dedicated to discussion on parking issues with input from the public. The next meeting will be on Wednesday, March 27, and will address the ERPP. The final meeting will be on Wednesday, April 24, and will address visitor parking.