Photo by KCIvey

Cleveland Park, the neighborhood whose ANC commissioner prioritized more free parking right after world peace on his New Year’s wish list, is abuzz once more about parking on their email list, DC’s most prolific neighborhood list. This time, it’s over a DDOT proposal to give residents visitor parking passes, like they are doing in Ward 4.

Some residents favor the proposal, since their family members or cleaning staff can’t park for more than two hours when they visit. Others oppose it, citing already high demand for parking especially near Metro and the risk that residents might auction off their passes to commuters from Maryland. One suggested the solution to this whole mess would be to just build a really big garage. But despite comments that “demand … exceeds the supply” and realization of the economic value of these passes, nobody has suggested any market-based pricing solutions for Cleveland Park, though one resident, remarkably, lamented the “misfortune” of living near Metro.

Cleveland Park has a lot of residents who use Metro, and a lot of residents who drive. For the occasional driver, accustomed to free and available parking, even a Metro station is a bad thing:

When the [Resident Parking Parmit] program was first instituted we could finally run down to Georgetown and pick up a few things [until Ward 2 residents figured out they] could park anywhere in Georgetown all day. So much for that experiment…. Then Metro came along and the poor folks who had the misfortune of living near a Metro station suddenly found themselves jammed out of their own block as folks from distant parts of their ward … [parked] all day. … Therefore I suggest that DDOT … identify those blocks with attractive nuisances such as Metro, movie theaters, shopping, etc. and designate that area and only that area to be zoned for those

residents and only those residents.

So, this resident was really happy about being able to drive down to Georgetown and have available parking, thanks to resident parking restrictions. But she also thinks that the “attractive nuisaces” like shopping and movies in Cleveland Park should be able to stop anyone else from parking there. This is just one resident’s opinion. But it’s a good example of how the free parking mentality can affect one’s view of the city so much that Metro and shopping becomes a “nuisance.”


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David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Sustainable Transportation (DCST). He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. Unless otherwise noted, opinions in his GGWash posts are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.