Power to the People: Let Residents Ticket

DC has an enforcement problem. Illegal construction. Residency for DC Schools. Traffic. Parking. Just having a law on the books does not solve the problem. Also there are activities that local MPD won’t deal with unless they observe the illegal action with their own eyes. So calling 911 a dozen times won’t result in diddly or squat. It is very frustrating.

Part of the problem is the city has decided that only the city can enforce its laws. Well that would be great if it did.

Van illeagally parkedI have a suggestion. Empower DC residents to ticket. Have DC residents provide the kind of evidence that would be admissible in court, via an app specifically for parking violations that would guide the citizen in what kind of images are needed to prove the parking violation. There are hundreds of cyclists who would love to ticket the various cars and delivery trucks that take up bike lanes. There may be several dozen people who would to ticket… and tow (if they could) the cars that park in their individually assigned handicap parking spots, as well those blocking curb cuts.

Maybe when the city actually enforces the law, with its own people, a contractor charging millions, or Lord forbid its own citizens, maybe people will actually respect and follow the law.

Did you park on P Street & get a ticket?

Blue, Red, Cream housesI’m just going to pass along ANC Bradley Thomas’ email, just in case you’re not on his list.

From: Thomas, Bradley Ashton (SMD 5E05)
Sent: Friday, September 1, 2017 11:10:24 AM
To: Thomas, Bradley Ashton (SMD 5E05)
Subject: Ticketed for Parking on the South Side of P Street near to Friendship-Armstrong School?

Good Morning All:

It has come to my attention that many cars have recently been ticketed for parking on the south side of the 100 block of P Street, NW.  I’m told that as many as ten cars were ticketed on Thursday morning for violating the new “No Parking School Days” restriction in the block.

Last Tuesday, I had a conference call with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), which is the agency that installed the new no-parking signs on Sunday, August 13th.  On the call were administrators from Friendship-Armstrong Public Charter School and a representative from the Mayor’s office.  It came out in that discussion that the No Parking signs should not have been put in place as no one, not the school, not the Mayor’s office, not me speaking on behalf of the community, asked for them and that there was in fact no legitimate reason for them to be erected.  DDOT then agreed to remove the signs based on letters from the school administrators and me.  That removal should take place within two weeks or less.

Since the signs were unnecessarily placed and, as I indicated on the conference call, place an unreasonable burden on residents, I believe we have good cause to have any tickets issued for this violation vacated.  If you received such a ticket, please scan the ticket and e-mail it to me.  I can’t promise anything but I will put all of the tickets together and petition the Board of Traffic Adjudication or Mayor Bowser to waive or vacate them.  

If you don’t have the capacity to scan, you can make a copy of the ticket and get that to me.  Let me know if you need to do it that way and we can connect.  Also, I only have e-mail addresses for about 10 percent of the residents in our SMD so if you have neighbors who received tickets for this alleged violation and who might not receive this e-mail message, please have them get their tickets to me too. 

Thanks, and remember, we are having a short (one hour) Single Member District meeting next Saturday, 9:30 am, at Dunbar, so please come if you can.

Bradley A. Thomas

Special Parking

I got my temporary parking pass in the mail about a week or so ago for Ward 5 and handed it over to my roommate who is only going to be with me for less than a month. After he leaves I’m jacking up the rent. Anyway, when I got that parking pass I felt special. But not as special as a certain neighbor who got their own parking space on the street.

Now first let me say this is not a criticism, just an observation and I was a bit bemused at this neighbor’s chutzpah.

There is some history. This neighbor likes to park the car in front of the house they live in. Most people do or try and several years back you could get away with parking in the same space day after day and sort of thinking of it as yours. Like church pews, seats at restaurants or in classrooms, there is this claim of ownership on something you cannot own. But due to always sitting in the same spot over and over, time after time one starts to think of it as theirs. Anyway, there was a battle over the space between neighbor #1 and neighbor #2. Neighbor #2 would park his big SUV thing in neighbor #1’s spot. Both are old timers, living here since the crack dealers roamed the land in huge herds and so this passive aggressive fight over the space has been going on for a while. Last week or so, neighbor #1 got a street parking spot for handicap parking for one specifically tagged car. Basically, their own guaranteed parking spot. The handicap? My best guess is age plus walking difficulty due to weight.

It may be more than that because we really don’t want people packing on the pounds just so they too can get their own special reserved street parking.

Parking Gets Ugly

Well I just called 911 to tell them not to bother as the fight broke up.
I was just about to shut down for the night when I heard yelling. Yelling beyond the usual drunken guy walking down the street or crazed teen yelling. Looked out the window and saw loudmouth buppie lawyer in his usual loudmouth form yelling at someone. It took me a while to figure out what the heck he was screaming about. A parking space. Another neighbor, let’s call her ‘skinny Jewish gal’ or “SJG’ (she has a name but so does Loudmouth Buppie Lawyer) in the car behind his SUV, being yelled at. This goes on a bit too long when another neighbor comes out and tells him to cool it. Then Loudmouth Buppie Lawyer dude turned his verbal abuse to the neighbor dude who I can’t think of a good name for, and then they are in the middle of the street yelling at each other. Sometime in this I call the cops. Neighbor dude’s wife come out and says something, then more neighbors appear in their doorways. Next thing I see neighbor dude and loudmouth buppie lawyer are yelling and are chest to chest.
All over a friggin parking space.

More on the Bundy Parking thing

Well good news, it appears that the Safe Shores folks won’t need the whole lot, read from the Friends of Bundy:

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

The District Department of Real Estate Services (formerly the Office of Property Management) has reviewed the parking requirements for the District’s Child Advocacy Center coordinated by Safe Shores at the Bundy School.*

With approximately 17 spaces available on the school lot, the site will require an additional 42 spaces in the back lot. This should leave approximately 8,800 square feet of space available for other use. [emphasis added]

As a reminder, the back lot is owned by the Federal government. The District cannot proceed with any plans (parking or otherwise) until after the land transfer is complete and funding is identified.

*The Safe Shores project is part of the District’s continuing effort to become a model jurisdiction by expanding the service capacity for children who are victims of physical and sexual abuse. Construction will be complete in November 2009. Subsequently, staff from the US Attorney’s Office, Office of the Attorney General, Metropolitan Police Department, Child and Family Services and the non-profit Safe Shores will move in and begin operations.

Robin-Eve Jasper, Director
DC Department of Real Estate Services
2000 14th Street, NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20009


Dear Friends,

This August 7, 2009 announcement from the DC Department of Real Estate Services (DRES), formerly the Office of Property Management (OPM), suggests that there will be ample space left on the vacant lot at Bundy for use as a dog park (see url above).

According to DC’s Dog Park Regulations (Section 733.1 under Dog Parks: Site Guidelines and Specification), “a dog park shall be no less than five thousand square feet (5,000 sq ft) in area where feasible.” Hence, the remaining space on the vacant lot at Bundy — not used by parking for future Bundy School tenants — would still meet the minimum requirements for establishing a dog park.

We will continue our efforts to reach out to neighbors and dog owners in Wards 2, 5 and 6 so that we will be able to demonstrate the impressive support we have for a dog park when DPR begins to process our formal application.

Thank you for your support. Hope to see you on Aug. 21 for Jazz on the Green at Bundy Park with the DC Choro Ensemble.

Payam Bakhaje

Friends of Bundy Park

Parking Pool

Originally uploaded by In Shaw

I’ve started a Flickr pool and I’m asking those of you who walk or slowly jog or are just around the Bundy area to snap a picture of the parking situation. Though I do somewhat feel that I’m probably adding gasoline to the fire, I do feel that some proof has to be gathered to assess the true parking situation around the Bundy area. Truth will be found in the proof.
If you decide to contribute it is important that you note what day (Monday, Saturday, etc) and what time the photo was taken. If you show full streets when no parking is to be had, great! Note the day and time. Semi-empty streets, same deal.

This is not an arguement against Safe Shores occupying the building plant or having any parking. We welcome Safe Shores, as a new neighbor. However, we do question and have questions about this new neighbor’s parking needs that may have a harmful element to the surrounding neighbors. Early plans showed a surface parking lot of a size rivaling that of the Giant Supermarket four blocks over. In this questioning there was the assertion that there wasn’t any street parking available, this is a challenge to that assertion. And only that assertion.

Random Lunchtime babbling on Bundy Park

A couple of weeks ago I signed a petition in favor for a dog park at Bundy. I don’t own a dog and have no plans to own one in the immediate future. However I do benefit from having a neighborhood with responsible owners with well trained dogs, like I benefit from living on a block dominated by homeowners. It’s not my house or my dog, but the actions that the homeowners and dog owners take, or have incentives to do, that improve the neighborhood and improve my quality of life here.
I will also note that I don’t live in Ward 2 where the proposed parking lot/field is. I’m over in Ward 5, so my opinion doesn’t matter or count. But I have an opinion and Ward 5 owners over in the Truxton area would more than likely use it, and it is very unfortunate that our voices won’t count.
One could say it is a children vs dogs, white vs black, adults vs children, greenspace vs pave the world, or a slew of other A vs B. For me ‘A’ is comprised of those residents who wake up within comfortable walking distance (everyone has a different comfort level) from the parcel of land in question. This includes white residents, black residents, Latino residents, Asian residents, multi-racial residents, grandmas on fixed incomes whose companions are little yippie dogs, single women who got dogs for security, kids that pestered their parents to get a dog, other people with dogs and their friends who may not have dogs, but like dogs. What I have noticed with the increase of having neighbors with dogs is there are people walking around in the morning when I go to work. Those people are more eyes on the street adding to my personal safety. There are people walking around in the evening when I run errands. There are neighbors, people I’ve met at BACA meetings or other gatherings, who are out, available for a quick word, a wave hello because they have to walk the dog. More people on the street encourage more people to get out and walk, dog or no, which improves the health of the resident community.
For a while my dog owning neighbors would walk their dogs in the alley, which in turn, discouraged drug stashing and other negatives that were problems.
I consider a convenient location as something that you can walk to at a regular pace in 10 minutes, 15 maybe. The Shaw dog park is past my 10 minute range and I walk fast, so a convenient location is Bundy.
Another point, Shaw as a whole has a lot, a lot of social service organizations of various sizes that do a lot of great work from providing day care for children of families with AID/HIV, homeless services, counseling, food distribution, poverty advocacy, you name it, it comes with the diversity of the neighborhood. One would hope that new social services moving to the area would become good neighbors. Unfortunately with the sensitivity of the function of Safe Shores, I can see how it could develop into a fortress to keep out the community in order to maintain privacy and security. That sort of thing would not make the surrounding area safer or secure. Besides asking for variances and other permissions, I don’t foresee much future interaction with the surrounding community. I can foresee walking by a darkened parking lot at night, making that corridor of P Street scary and dangerous.
The other thing is does Safe Shores really need 100 parking spaces? Since the organization’s parking space would come from government owned land that we believed slated for community (and one hope ‘community’ in this sense means nearby residents) use, the community should question the need for the number of spaces. Does it need 25 spaces? 30? and why. This isn’t Largo, MD or other parts of suburban Maryland where parking is a given. This is central, Old City DC, and free parking isn’t a guaranteed right. Nor should it be automatically given no questions asked to non-profits and other organizations no matter how nobel the mission. Safe Shores will not be the last social service locating to the area if history is a guage. I understand counsellors and parents coming from other wards will need parking, but how much?

Inauguration Musings- Neighborhoods get f’d

I’m reading the Post article about transportation and the inauguration, and it looks like some close in neighborhoods are going to get screwed for three days. When I read “Neighborhood parking rules and meter enforcement in the District will be suspended Saturday through Inauguration Day,” I see a nightmare for everyone who parks on the street living within 1-2 miles of the Capitol. Tell your friends who will be crashing at your place, to carpool.
So far no one knows what streets will be closed off, and when, and how much driver chaos will seep onto neighborhood streets. Hopefully, the closures will be short lived, for a few hours. Who am I kidding? Several hours. Stock up on stuff before the crowds arrive because it will be like a marathon, Sunday church parking, and rush hour rolled into one.

Parking enforcement

This weekend I noticed a big orange boot on one of the cars on my street. Ah, I remember the days when it took several calls to have the police or DPW or someone to come out and look at a car for possible ticketing. Cars would just sit for weeks, not moving. Now, it seems they are actually paying attention to cars and being proactive. Of course, I could be giving the government too much credit.
Also, on R Street, I’ve noticed some serious enforcement, with towing. I saw the city towing away a car with Florida plates, to clear off one side of the road at about 7:10 am. A quick look at the sign said that the street had to be clear at 7 am til I forget what. Ten minutes, that’s not a lot of buffer time.