ANC6B Suggests City Up Cost of Street Parking More Than One Vehicle
Says DDOT Policies Undermine Goals of More Housing and Less Traffic
by Larry Janezich
ANC6B suggests the way to increase housing and reduce traffic on Capitol Hill is to increase the cost of street parking for households with more than one vehicle. ANC6b bluntly told the Office of Planning (OP) that liberal parking policies by DDOT undercuts OP’s goals of providing more housing in the city and as well as the “desired effect” of reducing the number of cars on the street. The ANC suggests one remedy might be to increase the cost of a Residential Parking Permit for more than one vehicle per household. It seems likely that the cost would have to be significant in order to be effective.
At its March 12 meeting, ANC6B endorsed the Office of Planning’s proposed change in the Zoning Regulations to eliminate the requirement that developers build a minimum number of off street parking spaces in new small residential developments and for all those close to public transit. The language regarding the effect of DDOT policy and suggestion about increasing parking fees was attached to the letter to Harriet Tregoning, Director of the Office of Planning supporting doing away with the minimum parking space requirements. ANC6B urged OP to “use its authority under the city Comprehensive Plan to guide DDOT toward a revised Residential Parking Permit policy” including research on whether differential pricing of second or more permits would reduce demand.
Other remedies are under consideration. A DDOT comprehensive parking study underway will consider capping parking permits per household and zone based parking – parking by neighborhood rather than wards. Whether any of these ideas is politically feasible is uncertain.
At first glance, it would seem that the proposed parking changes gives a green light to developers. But the ANC’s veiled warning appears to be that by shifting the burden of parking from the developer to the neighbors in areas where parking is already tight, any proposed new development runs the risk of significant opposition from the neighbors resulting in delay, red tape, lawyers, hearings, etc.
Such a case could be developing regarding the proposed 80-84 condo development at 1550 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE. The developer of the project, which is aimed at attracting young professionals rather than families, is seeking a variance from the parking requirement to provide a total of 31 parking spaces rather than the more than 40 required under current regulations. Neighbors have expressed concern about the effects of parking on the neighborhood, as well as the target demographics. The project is very close to the Potomac Metro stop.
This case points up one possible effect of the elimination of the parking minimums. It seems likely that units built without parking will most likely appeal to singles and couples without children which changes the character of the neighborhood and the types of retail and commercial establishments it would attract. Again, removal of the minimum is no guarantee that developers won’t provide parking, depending on market pressure from potential buyers for guaranteed parking even at the increased cost per unit that would entail.
The ANC Planning and Zoning Committee will consider the variance request at its April second 3 meeting at 7:00pm at St. Coletta of Greater Washington. The issue will come before the full ANC at its April 9th meeting. The matter foes before the Bureau of Zoning Administration on April 30, and they will have the final word.