Your recent trio of short pieces on parking scams and questionable practices (Parking News Extra, 11/15) only helped to emphasize the miserable state of affairs that is D.C. parking. The city makes, I must assume, vast sums of money from parking meters and tickets, which is the only way to explain policies that are unfriendly to, well…everyone (except commercial garages). Businesspeople, tourists, local residents, you name it—nobody has a fair shot at finding convenient spaces, or using them in the manner they are needed at any given time.
I would guess there are 15 percent more spaces lurking out there, in the form of no-parking zones reserved in front of buildings (which nobody uses—people just stop in the middle of the street), spaces at the ends of blocks (no parking within 25 feet of a stop sign or 40 feet of an intersection), and assorted other areas where parking is not allowed because of mercurial local activities.
Meters and zone systems that limit the time allowed for parkers are extremely unhelpful to people who have legitimate business, on occasion, for more than one or two hours. No parking between 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. makes sense on roads that are truly busy during rush hour, but there are plenty of streets that would not suffer if full-time parking were allowed. Then, of course, there is the loss of spaces because of construction, which seems to be rampant, and uncoordinated, throughout the city.
These days, I try to take Metro when I go downtown, but sometimes I must drive—and inevitably it is just those times when I really need to park for four hours, or need to park within a half-mile of my destination. When is this madness going to end?
Silver Spring, Md.