While the bars and restaurants around Dupont Circle offer Happy Hour specials during the week, drivers returning to their cars around 8 p.m. are far from happy.
On18th Street, between M Street and Connecticut Avenue NW, there are six meters with stickers stating that parking enforcement ends at 6:30 p.m. In fact, the meters won't accept money after that point. Many drivers take that to mean they can park for free.
Driver Ramy Aboueloyoun said, "And they have it set up so that you're very confused, and they don't really clarify things."
At either end of the long, commercial block are two signs that read "No parking entrance 7:30 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. nightly."
But entrance to what?
"I mean the signs are there, but the fact that the signs are there in the first place is a little suspicious," added driver Sam Dunietz.
The adjacent building goes dark at night; it's not residential. Beside it is an empty Sprint store. Nearby establishments say they're just as baffled by the restriction, but they do try to warn their customers.
"After a while you get tired of it. But you still try to have a good heart and help people out, because I know how it feels to get tickets," said a bouncer at one of the businesses.
Every weeknight about three times a night, bar and restaurant employees say they see parking enforcement issuing ticket after ticket. The fine is $20, which is why some believe no one complains and nothing changes.
According to DPW, on three consecutive Thursday nights, parking enforcement issued about a dozen "No Parking Entrance" tickets at six meters alone.
Additional statistics on ticket distribution are as follows:
Oct. 25, 2012 - 14 Tickets
Nov. 1, 2012 - 11 tickets
Nov. 8, 2012 - 14 tickets
DPW Spokesperson Linda Grant explained, “DPW follows DDOT’s instruction that what’s on the meter is accurate. Also, DPW is among the more than two dozen agencies in the District that is authorized to write parking tickets, and we will write tickets when we see a violation has occurred.”
DDOT says they're investigating the situation, adding,"We suspect the signage was requested at one time by an establishment or the community. We are taking a look at it and will determine if the signage is still necessary."