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The Issue: Should parents picking up their kids from a downtown after-school program be exempt from parking tickets? Strong John Thomson Elementary, at 1200 L St. NW, offers a popular after-school program that runs every school day until 6 p.m. Parents can leave their cars in the standing-only zone from 3 to 4 p.m. without being ticketed—but parents retrieving kiddies at the height of rush hour are at risk of getting slapped with a fine if they park.

Stop Ticketing Us: Some fed-up parents complain they’ve been ticketed for years; and although the school tried to distribute decals for parents to display on their windshields, the informal agreement did not dissuade parking enforcement administrators. Parent Andrea Brobgins, who has received two tickets, told City Desk: “They should at least have a safety zone. I’m so scared to get a ticket, I stay in my car. Luckily I have a high school student who can go get my kids, otherwise I don’t know what I’d do.”

It’s Rush Hour: According to a D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT) study on a nearby portion of L Street, “This section is experiencing congestion and numerous parking related problems…the major aggravator is illegal parking.” DDOT spokesman John Lisle says: “If we make an adjustment to the hours, there could be other impacts, like on rush hour traffic. It’s something we’d have to look into.”

Next Step: Pamela Johnson, another Thomson parent who has repeatedly contacted DDOT and the office of D.C. Council Chair Vincent Gray seeking relief, is on a crusade! Petition? Protest? Lisle says DDOT is looking into solutions such as extending the standing-only time until after 6. In the meantime, beware the meter maid.

Photo by Alicegop, Creative Commons Attribution License