D.C. Council is trying to fix residential parking permit system

The D.C. Council is attempting to fix problems with the District's residential parking permit system.

One bill would let disabled residents reserve a parking space in front of their homes. Another would allow contractors to purchase parking permits.

“It's a constant problem for contractors is the fact that much of the city you have 2 hour restrictions and most jobs take much longer than two hours to do,” says Eric Jones of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Metro Washington.

Beyond these bills, the conversation centered on bigger, sweeping changes. Some believe D.C.'s parking zones should be smaller.

“I mean there's an issue of intra ward commuting and it kind of defeats the purpose of a residential parking permit program,” says Cheryl Cort of the Coalition for Smarter Growth.

Others believe the cost of an RPP - just $35 a year - does not match the value of on-street parking spaces.

“And they're worth anywhere from 10k to 60k dollars per space and many times we just give that away,” says Christopher Leinberger of the Brookings Institution.

These advocates say they're not anti-car. but parking is a limited resource.

“Cars are definitely a part of our transportation and for people who live in certain parts of the city they'll always be a part of the transportation mix. But D.C. only has a limited amount of roadway space and most of it is full most of the time with people driving,” says David Alpert of Greater Greater Washington.

Councilmember Tommy Wells seemed to agree. But even he acknowledged the council won't support a change in RPP price.

“I proposed to my colleagues upping it to just $50 for the second car and maybe $100 for the third or $75, and that was voted down probably before I could put the period on my sentence,” Wells says.

DDOT says it's studying this proposed legislation and other parking reform proposals. It will submit recommendations in the late summer or fall.