DPW Claims on Hill East Parking Enforcement Raises Questions
by Larry Janezich
Friday night, ANC6B Hill East Task Force, Chaired by Commissioner Denise Krepp, met to hear DPW officials respond to resident concerns about lack of parking enforcement in Hill East. Residents say illegal parking is not being addressed either on a day to day basis or on days when events occur at RFK Stadium.
Former ANC Commissioner Francis Campbell was particularly vehement in asserting that there is a lack of parking enforcement in Hill East, saying, “I don’t see them. They have no visibility. Why are vans and construction vehicles sitting for hours without ticketing? After 6pm I don’t see inspectors. Enforcement does not happen.”
Johnny Gaither, Deputy Administrator, Department of Public Works Parking Enforcement Management Administration, told the Task Force that his agency deploys two squads of three to four officers each, in two shifts to cover Hill East six days a week, from 6:30am until 10:00pm. He defined Hill East as the area between 14th and 19th Streets and East Capitol and D Streets, SE. (DPW does not enforce parking restrictions on Sunday – DOT and MPD provide limited enforcement.)
But DPW Director Chris Shorter was quoted last week in the Hill Rag https://bit.ly/2u2oP4c as follows: “We have issued 1,246 citations and 120 ROSA [Registration of Out-of-State Automobiles] warnings starting from 01/01/2018 through present in the Hill East area.” This would mean that fewer than ten parking citations per day – total – were issued per day by the 6 to 8 enforcement officers covering Hill East area.
A follow-up inquiry to DPW elicited this response: the 1,246 figure actually represents the number of citations issued between January 1, 2018 and June 14, 2018 in the area defined in the attached map – a different area that the one cited by Gaither. The map does not represent the full Hill East neighborhood but focuses on the areas adjacent to RFK and the Armory.
The Hill East area covered by the 2 enforcement teams per day, six days a week cited by Gaither remains unclear, as does the number of citations issued in that presumably larger area.
Gaither told the Task Force that there are 220 parking enforcement officers in the city and the number of officers on a squad varies based on absenteeism, but “there could be three – four – five squads in any ward at one time”. (Parking restriction signage is not equal by ward, meaning some wards would have fewer teams than others.)
DPW’s responses to a list of questions Krepp had asked them to be prepared to answer are as follows:
What is the day-to-day break down of the 1246 parking enforcement citations? DPW said their General Counsel advised Mr. Gaither not to answer the question and instead ask ANC6B to FOIA the information. (The Task Force voted to send a letter to the Director, citing the Task Force status as a city agency.)
How many DPW inspectors are assigned to Hill East on days when Events DC is sponsoring events at the RFK? The numbers do not change and DPW does not staff up for the events.
How many of the 1246 citation were paid? DPW does not have that information. (The city collects around $70 million a year in fees for parking violations overseen by DMV.)
Does DPW track on a year by year basis the number of traffic citations issued? They do and the information is available on the DPW website. (See below for sample)
What is the city’s policy of parking enforcement on Sundays? DPW doesn’t enforce parking on Sundays. (DOT and MPD provide limited enforcement.)
Several years ago, DPW agreed to provide extra parking enforcement inspectors for Events DC sponsored events with greater than 10,000 attendees. Is that agreement still in place? No such agreement in effect.
The Hill East Task Force discussed the idea of ANC6B entering into an agreement with Events DC and DPW for additional parking officers to be deployed for Events DC-sponsored events greater than 10,000. Commissioner Ridge will follow up with the Office of the ANC about the idea. Events DC and DPW agreed to raise the idea with their leadership.
In addition to Gaither, others attending the meeting included Celeste Duffie from DPW, and Jennifer Lawrence and Villareal representing Events DC – the frequent sponsor of events which occur at RFK.
*Below is a sample of data from the DPW website illustrating the categories with the highest number of recent parking citations: