A D.C. parking proposal that would have reserved one side of neighborhood streets exclusively for the use of residents’ cars evoked an almost hour-long multi-round discussion at the Georgetown-Burleith Advisory Neighborhood Commission (2E) meeting Oct. 4. In fact, for the first time in the memory of some reporters there, every one of the eight commissioners commented on this one item. So did many in the audience.
The immediate action was to decide how to respond to the letter from the District Department of Transportation proposing the one-side-of-the-street resident-parking concept for the entire city. ANC Chairman Ron Lewis suggested a compromise letter that would acknowledge receipt of the “interesting” proposal and a promise to discuss it. In the parking scheme, Georgetown is part of Zone 2.
But other commissioners wanted to make a strong stand to begin with, mainly against the concept. There was a lively (but civil) debate about whether or not the idea would help businesses that depended on short-term parkers on nearby residential streets. There were questions about whether long-term parking privileges should go to residents’ dinner guests, repair and cleaning personnel, dog walkers, babysitters and the like. There was pushback about this being a citywide proposal — and not a uniquely Georgetown one.
Commissioners seemed to agree that residents’ ability to park as close to their front doors as possible should be a goal of any proposal. But then what? Discussion about parking has been going on for almost four years. The Citizen Association of Georgetown supports the DDOT proposal; the Georgetown Business Improvement District and the Georgetown Business Association do not.
Finally, Commissioner Reed Howard, a Georgetown University student, urged the commission to vote immediately for a response letter that strongly repudiated the concept. “Surely there are other more flexible options,” Howard argued. Lewis called for a vote and the strong-opposition letter won five to three (commissioners Lewis, Bill Starrels and Jeff Jones voted against the resolution).