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At what point did it become OK to disable a neighbor’s car over a parking space?

A Capitol Hill resident sent City Paper a pic of a sign she found on the 1200 block of I Street NE that threatens just that. Attached to a recycling container, the signage apparently is meant to reserve a snow-free parking spot the writer likely killed himself (like the rest of us) to dig out. “Park here and you better have a good spare. You’ll need it! Promise,” warns the text.

Though Snowmageddon is technically over, streets are still burdened with enough white stuff to make parking scarce. That’s why some residents, like the signmaker, have resorted to staking out parking space with objects or signs or both. Of course, spot-marking isn’t legal in D.C.  Answering a question about the practice on a Metropolitian Police Department listserv post, First District Commander David Kamperin lets residents know they should feel free to take their neighborhoods back from spot hogs.

“Items placed on public space should be moved. I hope residents can assist with this- if we [the police] do this we will have to likely seize items of value left on public space, do a report and place it on our property book. If necessary we will but instead of pulling officers off the street I would suggest residents put them up on curb space or call 311 and have DPW/DDOT pick up as abandoned.”

Abandoned chairs! Abandoned garbage cans! Abandoned orange cones?

Contacted for followup, Kamperin makes clear the reports he’s received of parking space monopolization don’t really fall under MPD’s purview: “All those complaints have been directed to contact DDOT and DPW as appropriate to enforce and remove abandoned property left on the street.”

DPW spokesperson Nancee Lyons recognizes the city is up against a difficult situation: “I think this is becoming a big problem because people are threatening other people. They’re doing it on my neighborhood listserv and folks have been bickering back and forth all week over people reserving parking spaces.” Despite the growing tumult, though, Lyons says that she knows of no violations issued by DPW or DDOT to anyone for bogarting a parking space.

“I guess the assumption is that it is a short-term problem that we hope will quickly work itself out, ” she says.