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THANKS TO Loose Lips for exposing the D.C. government’s addiction to ticket writing and how it drives away business from the city (8/9). I would add that it also makes doing research at the Library of Congress and the Folger Shakespeare Library very difficult and expensive. As you know, there is no public parking on Capitol Hill. The closest is an open lot near Union Station, a considerable schlep away, especially in bad weather. I can’t take the Metro from my home in P.G. County, because I feel that the nearest station, Anacostia, is not safe. I was told by a P.G. policeman that he personally wouldn’t park there himself. So I often have to park in the residential area on Capitol Hill, where parking is relatively easy to find because many people are apparently away at work during the day. Because there is plenty of parking, I don’t believe that I am depriving any of the residents of a parking place; particularly since I have to move my car every two hours. The only problem is the time wasted in walking back and forth between the libraries and my car about five times each day and in trying to remember where I left my car each time.
There are signs at each end of these blocks where I park: 2 Hour Parking 6:30 Am to 8:30 PM.
Naively, I assumed that the signs meant what they said: You may park up to two hours per day between each set of arrows. But once, after my two hours on one block were up, I parked my car around the corner between another set of arrows. To my surprise, I got a ticket, although I was in neither spot for more than two hours. Then I assumed that the signs were interpreted by the D.C. Parking Enforcement Agency to mean that you can’t park for more than two hours on any one square block per day. After that I was careful each day to move my car several blocks away from where I had parked the first time. Still I kept getting tickets, although I was never on any one block for more than two hours. So I separately asked two ticket writers on the street what the policy is about parking in these two-hour zones. Each said that they go around their area at the start of their shift and write down all the license plates without a local resident sticker. If they find any car with the same license plate anywhere in their area after two hours, they ticket it. “What is your area?” I asked. The woman replied, “I don’t know.” The man said, “All of Capitol Hill.” This means that the D.C. government is pulling a scam. Its parking signs say that you can park up to two hours between any two arrows on a block. But its unstated policy is that you can park for only two hours anywhere on Capitol Hill. If you breach its covert policy, which contradicts its own posted rules, you will get fined. Hurrah for the D.C. Parking Enforcement Agency! If only the rest of the D.C. government were as resourceful.
Silver Hill, Md.