Talkin' Transit

Talkin’ Transit: Back to the Grind

Photo courtesy of
‘Blocking traffic’
courtesy of ‘theqspeaks’

A few months ago I was given the opportunity to drive into the office, mostly because of a free parking pass that was gifted to me for a “short while”. That time is, unfortunately, up. Starting with Thursday’s commute, I have no free parking anymore.

You’ll notice, I didn’t say, “I’m back to riding Metro.”

It’s not that I don’t want to ride Metro. It’s not that I don’t believe that we need good public transportation and fewer cars on the road. It’s just that I’m dreading the idea of becoming a regular Metro rider, again. So what are my options, and what was it like to drive in for almost half the year?
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The Daily Feed

Parking Ticket from Hell, Anyone?

Photo courtesy of
‘Only in DC’
courtesy of ‘thetejon’

Last winter, I got in the mail a love letter from DC Division of Motor Vehicles. It said that because I hadn’t paid a parking ticket, the fine had automatically doubled and I owed them $50.

This was news to me for two reasons. One, my parking was paid up for an hour past the time they say they wrote the ticket, and I still have the receipt to prove it. Two, they hadn’t left me a ticket.

So I sent Adjudication this pertinent info, and the receipt, and asked that they write me when they dropped the matter. I know they got it, because they quickly sent me a form letter saying they’d review it and respond, maybe up to six months later (they must be very busy over there).

That was all I heard. Until this week’s letter, which says that I did not respond at all, thereby deeming admission of the crime, and that if I don’t fork over the money within 10 days, they’ll send me to collections.

SERIOUSLY, people?!??

I can’t tell if this is a scam, or if they’re just that screwed up. Readers, what do you think? Are they crooked, or inept? And has this happened to you?

The Daily Feed

Ticketed on Presidents Day? You Might Be In Luck

Photo courtesy of
‘Amount Due’
courtesy of ‘maxedaperture’

Were you (un)fortunate enough to have not heard about the snow emergency (declared Sunday evening, aka Valentines Day) and got smacked with a nice big $250 ticket for parking on a snow emergency route on February 15th? I don’t know about you but I sure wasn’t checking to see if there was a snow emergency that night. Well, City Council members Brown and Wells are fighting in your corner to have those forgiven. Give them a hug.

The Daily Feed

Passive Aggressive Notes About Parking Spaces

Photo courtesy of
‘Stella is Free!’
courtesy of ‘mollytics’

Now that the snow is melting and parking on streets is becoming easier by the day, we’re seeing fewer spaces marked with chairs or tables.  Sure, if you spend hours digging out a parking space, it’s understandable that you’d want it to be there when you return, and you’d be angry if someone else parked there.  But this collection of snow parking passive aggressive notes (including a few from the DC area) is just ridiculous.

Here’s hoping that the melting snow and eventual thaw will mellow people out a bit.

The Daily Feed

X Marks the Spot

Photo courtesy of
‘lawn chair’
courtesy of ‘Jess J’

A few days ago, a neighbor started claiming a carefully shoveled parking spot with a giant urn—the message being, “Take this spot, and your ashes go here.”

Now another neighbor has taken the opposite tack, and placed a cute stuffed monkey in a space. What a great idea. I mean come on—who’s going to steal a spot from a smiling stuff animal, most certainly some adorable child’s favorite toy? Can’t you just hear the tiny little sobs of sorrow and disbelief?

Clearly our neighborhood is short on patio furniture and long on creativity. I’ve not found the skull and crossbones or the defenseless kittens blocking a spot yet, but they must be out there somewhere. What creative spot-savers have you seen?

The Daily Feed

Yes, I want a $250 ticket


Parking in the snow route
Originally uploaded by carlweaver

Okay, people. It says “snow route” on the sign and the radio stations are warning people that there’s a snow emergency in the District. Even our very own lovable Tom Bridge warned us that parking here could lead to some heavy fines. Is $250 worth the cost of a parking space? It is Georgetown and parking is pricey, but for $250 I could park for a month here.

The good news is that these cars do not yet have tickets on them. The bad news is that soon they will. Go move you cars if one of them is yours. With all that saved money, you could buy about ten lunches at any Georgetown restaurant, or maybe about 50 of those fancy cupcakes everyone thinks are the cat’s pajamas.

The Daily Feed

Downtown Parking, Now With Less Price Gouging

Photo courtesy of
‘Parking’
courtesy of ‘Amberture’

Because of the District’s height limit and a variety of other factors, DC doesn’t have many surface parking lots or above-ground parking garages.  No, our city is full of a crazy number of underground parking garages, many of which are hidden and hard to find if you don’t know where to look.  Luckily, there’s a great site that helps you find parking garages in an area and does some comparison shopping to find you the best rate. Bestparking.com allows you to select whether you want daily or monthly parking, then maps all the parking garages in a neighborhood or close to a particular address.  And best of all, it sorts parking garages by price– enter an arrival and departure time and it will find the cheapest option for you. This looks to be a really helpful site, and there’s even a mobile version for when you’re in your car circling the block, looking for a parking space that won’t cost an arm and a leg.

Life in the Capital, The Daily Feed, The District

To Dream the Impossible Dream: Parking in Adams Morgan

Photo courtesy of
‘Adams Morgan’
courtesy of ‘N.S.’
Ah, Adams Morgan: quaint, bustling, and completely impossible to park in. The lack of a metro stop and the narrow streets has long been the bane of DC drivers out for a night on the town.  Apparently, this problem doesn’t extend only to non-residents.  The popularity of Adams Morgan is making it difficult for locals to find parking near their homes. WUSA reports that Councilman Jim Graham is proposing a solution: Enhanced Residential Parking. He plans to introduce legislation that would designate one side of each street for residential parking only. While this may be a welcome development for people that live in Adams Morgan, it is going to make the area much less accessible to outsiders. Hopefully the draw of the nightlife will be enough to induce people to walk long distances for it.

All Politics is Local, Business and Money, Crime & Punishment, Downtown, Essential DC, Life in the Capital, The Daily Feed, The Great Outdoors, WTF?!

D.C. Parking Injustice – Tow Me… Blow Me…


Law enforcement scofflaws
Originally uploaded by philliefan99

Did you hear me Mr. Fenty and Ms. Babers? D.C.’s quest to now emulate Chicago with the new administration has reached new lows. As the Democrats and Obama administration have been touting friendliness to green technologies, smart transportation alternatives, and conservation, the city they now hold a majority in,  took a TWELVEFOLD step backwards. I had created the D.C. Motorcycle parking map of the Metro region to help those folks on two wheels track down ever vanishing spots (one set is in center court in the Verizon Center… how convenient), and since most garages do not allow motorcycles in, it’s necessary. Over this past weekend, the D.C. Parking Authority (aka, the D.C. DMV) cranked up the rates without warning for the motorcycle spots to be commensurate with the rates for cars (or even more so), from 12 hour meters which were 25 cents for an hour and 24 minutes, to now 7 minutes per quarter… a loss of 77 minutes 92% of your parking value… WTF?! It shocked most folks parking on the G Street meters (which until the beginning of last year were free) on the west side of the Old Executive Office Building so much, that today, EVERY bike has decided not to pay. Seriously D.C., are you trying to discourage smart commuting?

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Talkin' Transit, The Features, WMATA

Talkin Transit: Parking Power

Photo courtesy of Cowtools
DC Transit System Map, courtesy of Cowtools

So another Inauguration Day hype has been deflated. Metro announced that they’ll be opening up thousands of parking spaces for cars at all Metrorail stations (save one) for Inauguration Day festivities. The prophesied “parkapocalypse” has been debunked.

So what happened?

When setting up initial plans for January 20th, WMATA set aside roughly sixty thousand parking spaces for charter buses. Estimates had over 1,100 of the big behemoths coming into the area, so naturally, where does one park so many buses? Metrorail stations, that’s where.

However, WMATA has only received THIRTY FIVE requests – that’s less than half of one percent of the inflated estimate – and is no longer taking requests. As a result, Metro opened the parking floodgates.

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Travel

We Love to Travel – But Waking Up At 3:30 am? Get Serious.

Plane taking off in the morning...

I’m a big fan of traveling.  And when I go on vacation, or just away for work, I usually end up traveling out of Dulles airport.  That’s because I live in Arlington, so the two closest airports to me are Dulles and National.  And although I take National any time I can, Dulles still ends up being the most often used.

But, with airfare prices (and FEES, don’t get me started) going up all over the place, being flexible on travel times can save me and my company a lot of cash.  But some times that means flying out at 6:00 am.  Or some equally absurd time in the morning.

Now, do the math.  If you have to be at the airport for a 6:00 am flight, you need to be there an hour early.  That’s 5:00 am.  Earlier, if you want to check luggage for that great Hawaii vacation.  For anyone who lives near DC, in DC, or anywhere other than Reston, that means at least a 30 minute trip.  Fortunately the roads are pretty clear at 4:30 am, and the toll road helps.  Now, if I’ve done my math correctly, that means getting up at 3:30 am to get ready to leave.  At that point, why even go to sleep?

I, for one, don’t want to wake up at 3:30 am for a flight.  So is there a better solution?

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