City Agency Devises Plan to Ease Restrictions on Sundays
Residents and churches in the Logan Circle neighborhood in Northwest Washington have worked with city officials to temporarily at least ease concerns over parking congestion in the area, especially during Sunday morning worship hours.
The two sides worked with the D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners on a plan that will add non-residential parking spaces on Sunday mornings.
Residents of Logan Circle have been given exclusive parking privileges for over 30 years. These residential parking permits started off as a convenience for residents, but have become an extreme inconvenience for people visiting the area. Originally, non-residents were allowed to park for two hours from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on weekdays. However, with the increase of residents in Logan Circle, there are some streets that permit only residents to park at all times. New developments and public buildings in Logan Circle have also contributed to the increase of parking.
These residential parking permit provisions have heavily impacted local churches since most of their congregations don’t live within walking distance. Several members of the John Wesley A.M.E. Zion Church in particular were in attendance at the forum, where they expressed their concerns on the new residential parking permits.
“Our church has been here for over 165 years. I would hope that people who moved in our neighborhood won’t expect us to move out because they moved in,” said the Rev. Vernon Shannon of John Wesley Church.
Representatives from DDOT and the office of Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) were present to provide a better understanding on why there have been new provisions and initiatives on how to improve parking. After working with churches throughout Northwest Washington, DDOT has decided to create 50 extra parking spaces throughout the Logan Circle area that will be available from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays. These parking spaces would be considered illegal at any other time.
The 50 parking spaces are currently in effect and located in the 1600 blocks of 9th Street NW, 11th Street NW, Rhode Island Avenue NW and P Street NW. They include parallel parking and angle parking. These spaces are not permitted to anyone at any other times. In some cases, double parking will even be permitted.
“The biggest thing that I want to make clear is that these we are not taking away spaces from residents, we are putting in additional spaces,” said Damon Harvey, a representative from DDOT.
Many of the church members in attendance questioned whether the 50 new parking spaces would be effective. The spaces are open to anyone, including people who aren’t going to church. Several church members think that opening the spaces to everyone defeats the purpose of the initiative. To many of the attendees, this initiative for more parking spaces isn’t good enough.
“No matter what signs you put up, we still won’t have enough spaces. It’s not sufficient,” said Netty Thompson, who attends church in the area.
The shortage of parking in Logan Circle is caused by a combination of increased residents and new developments of public buildings. One resident suggested that the city look into building more parking structures, including underground parking lots.
“I don’t believe that there has been a parking structure built here in 20 years, but we’ve lost about six,” said Lyndon Perch, who lives in the area.
While an agreement was not reached on how to improve parking on Sunday mornings, this meeting created a discourse among residents, city officials and church-goers on an issue that greatly impacts the neighborhood. There will be another meeting on the issue of parking in Logan Circle on April 24.