City Paper is not for tourists
From the pages of the Dupont Current: Dee-Dot is launching a trial program in Georgetown under which residents will be allowed to park their cars in front of their own driveways. The plan, of course, is part of a longrunning effort by Georgetowners to mitigate their longrunning parking crisis. So the idea here is that Dee-Dot will, like, issue special permits to driveway people and take the necessary precautions to guard against abuse of the program.
The biggest drawback of the program is that it essentially privatizes public space. One great thing about street parking is that whether you’re driving a Mercedes or a Hyundai, that open spot is a first-come, first-served proposition. Driveway-front parking adds a big element of privilege to what was once a level playing field—-especially in G’town, where those with driveway rights are likely to be pulling out with some pretty sweet rides. But there’s more than just egg-headed equality theories at work here: Consider a scenario in which a driveway person on a busy Saturday night hops in his Saab and prepares to pull out of her personal space. The brake lights will signal to other motorists that there’s a space opening up. As soon as the Saab pulls out, someone else will be lining up to take the spot. One of the following scenarios will result: (1) The person realizes it’s a driveway and moves on to seek another spot; (2) The person just says fuck it and takes the spot, setting up a possible towing situation; or (3) The Saab person gets out of the car and explains how this piece of public space is actually his.
According to the Current, however, one of the main objections from residents is that the program will end up diminishing the number of parking spots available in the neighborhood. The paper didn’t explain the reasoning behind this position, and it’s a bit hard to figure. Sure, some cars that get permitted for driveway-front parking could be longer than the width of the driveway, thus encroaching on other spaces. But that seems like a minor concern. Another possibility is that driveway people might buy another car because of the guaranteed space. Or they’d turn their driveway into a garden and park full-time in their guaranteed street spot. But those scenarios would simply result in a wash: One additional space, one additional car. Any thoughts out there on how you add parking spaces and diminish them at the same time?