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?

Motorcycles are more space efficient, fuel efficient, and in the hands of a trained rider, actually safer than cars. While space is at a premium, D.C. has discouraged these alternatives by not replacing those spaces lost around the city (including those sacrificed for security, such as the World Bank). They don’t cite those, who, on four wheels, blatantly break the law by parking over multiple motorcycle spots when available, or park in the same spots motorcycles occupy in regular spots in order to get a free ride and play Russian roulette with parking tickets. Has anybody else gotten sticker shock over D.C.’s idiocies regarding parking and revenue?

Computer Geek, Music Junkie, Movie Fanatic, Beer Aficionado, Part-Time Amateur Photographer… Amélie has lived in D.C. off-and-on for the past 23 years, always calling the National Capitol region her home. She’s also probably one of those types of odd-folks with realms of useless trivia you’d like to have on your side during a pub quiz.

12 thoughts on “D.C. Parking Injustice – Tow Me… Blow Me…

  1. Hi David and DC motorcyclists who aren’t happy about parking rate hikes,

    My name is David Klatt and I’m a reporter with WAMU 88.5 public radio. I’d like to borrow a few minutes of your time to talk about the District’s parking rate hikes for motorcycles. You’ve written about a mini-boycott today. Any more plans to continue through the end of this week?

    I can be reached at dklatt@wamu.org and http://www.twitter.com/dnklatt and 847-644-3169

    Look forward to speaking with you.

  2. Hi David and other motorcyclists who are angry about parking rate increases,

    I have see my post appear and I wanted to make I got in touch about this story. My name is David Klatt and I’m a reporter with WAMU 88.5 — public radio for DC. I’d like to learn more about what you think of these new rate hikes.

    How did the mini boycott go today? Any more planned this week? I’d love to get your take for a story I’m putting together.

    Feel free to e-mail me with a time that would good for us to jump on the phone: dklatt@wamu.org

    I’m also available on my cell phone: 847-644-3169

    Look forward to speaking with you.


  3. We’re on for another day… four days and the lack of paying the “fees” are going. It’s informal.. and since we arrive at different times, it’s not really coordinated.

    However, it’s odd to note… they still left the one meter there (which has been broken for months, and it’s a race in the morning to see who “scores” it…) still broken, but put the sticker and bumped to the increased rate… how’s that for idiocy.

    (BTW, called, left message – e-mailed as well)

  4. A quick napkin calculation –

    Old Rate : $1.50 for 8 hours (6 quarters – actually 5.7)
    New Rate : $17 for 8 hours (68 quarters – actually 68.57)

    It is cheaper, if I had a car (sold it for “greening” purposes and the fun of motorcycling) it’d be cheaper to park at the early bird rate ($13) at the local garage… and it’s closer to the full day rate, $18 at the same garage.

    My Metro commute from Glenmont to Farragut North :
    $4.75 – Parking
    $8.00 – Metro (round trip)
    $12.75 – daily (+$0.25 in gas and car wear and tear)
    (I get crammed in, overheated, and crappy scenery + tunnels)

    My Motorcycle commute (door to door): Old Rate
    $1.50 – Parking
    $3.00 – Fuel (33 mpg / $2.20 /gal + wear and tear on bike)
    $4.50 – daily
    (plus I get fresh air and beautiful scenery in Rock Creek)

    $8.25 savings… or (with weekends, holidays and vacations in account) $1,947 per year

    Seriously… it’s not just “green” for the environment, but more “green” in my wallet.

  5. It’s one of the unintended consequences of the Council raising the meter fees late last year. Looking at the legislation (<a href=”B17-1075 EQUITABLE PARKING METER RATES EMERGENCY ACT OF 2008), it doesn’t look like motorcycle spaces were addressed at all. By the way, DDOT controls the spaces, DPW controls the meters and does enforcement, and DMV adjudicates tickets and collects fines.

  6. Those rates are similar to the meters on S St (between Connecticut and 20th). It’s probably been more than a year since they raised the rates. I don’t think I’ve seen a single motorcycle there since. I’ve seen plenty of cars parked across the motorcycle bays. How long will it be before some bureaucrat figures they are not being used by motorcycles, and decides to do away with them altogether?

  7. I am another motorcyclist commuting and parking in DC. I started this 15+ years ago b/c I had a bike for weekend use and my old office often needed documents delivered around town. I volunteered myself and my bike for deliveries as my hours were also making me miss the last Metrobus to my neighborhood. I got motorcycle parking in my building, but I have to park around town and use the motocycle spaces. My observation is that DC seems to have idea what they are trying to acomplish, or a stated policy, regarding motorcycles parking. The old price of parking, $0.25 a half hour had not been adjusted for a number of years. I suspect this was because nobody paid attention to the issue, and it was not the result of a rational policy. So now the current adminstration inherited the spaces and prices, and seems bent on increasing revenue whereever it can. It seems to be decreasing the number of spaces and/or making them much more expensive. Where the the meters have been removed and all that is left is the post, I’ve suspected, but now think it is certain, that DC is going to replace those meters with much higher priced modern marvels priced to increase “turn-over” and collect additional revenue. This is stupid. Most garages do not allow m-cycles, so most of the bikes at these meters are commuters who need a place to park all day. If the price gets high enough, bikers are going to be forced back into their cars (increasing fuel consumption) or add to the crowd in an all ready over crowded Metro system. Folks like me, who use the spaces infrequently for short periods of time may benefit from there being more open bike spaces, but the rate I pay should be no more than 25% of what cars pay. If DC had a brain they would realize that 4 bike meters can be in the same space as a car.

  8. Well, with the news cycle (pun), so goes the WAMU interview.. however, I’ve talked with other cyclists as I waited this morning, and the meter “adjustments” were applied inconsistently along this stretch of spaces (some still take the old rates) – and the same “bump up” also occurred at the spots next to GW. Some have resorted to the $70 garage around the corner… others have moved on to spaces not yet affected, but further away from work.

    If anybody HAS written anybody or wants to start to formalize some action, please reply to this thread and I’ll start the petition and other action.

  9. How about a regulation requiring all parking garages to accept any motorcycle that meets EPA noise emission requirements. With 1/4 pricing since they take 1/4 the space of a car. Now that would be a “green” and self-righteous piece of regulatory do-gooding.

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