I took a tour last week in the performance parking district (PDF). I was looking for blocks where the street signs posted do not match the proposed pilot area map (PDF). I’ll be putting up observations on a map as I go on. Green is free or unenforced parking, blue is paid parking.
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The thing that really struck me was that there is basically no enforcement at meters in this parking district. All along K Street SE from South Capitol Street to First Street SE, as well as on Half Street from K to I Street, and on first from I to L Streets SE, there are performance parking meters, which are supposed to be charging a price based on occupancy. The only problem is, not a single one of the cars observed there was showing a pay-and-display receipt to prove that the fee had been paid. The few cars I did see with a receipt were displaying a receipt that had expired by days. To ensure that this was not because the meter was broken, I purchased a quarter’s worth of parking from meter 011001SE and got a receipt. This was the only area I specifically was looking to see if P&D receipts were being shown. If I looked elsewhere it's likely that I'd see the same thing.
I could have written tickets all day long, at least 30 or 40 in the short time I was there. I think that if DC wanted to start writing tickets right now, it would be more humane to give warnings for a week, but on the other hand, people know what parking meters are and that you generally have to pay for parking at a meter. I’m guessing that since no one had a receipt at all, the word had gotten out over a period of at least a few weeks with no enforcement.
Based on 100% occupancy at meters on K St SE, you would think that the price is too low and should be raised in order to reach the 80-90% target occupancy goal. However, with absolutely no enforcement, it’s hard to make that conclusion.
DDOT has told me that a contractor will be helping with an occupancy study to set meter rates appropriately. If DC wants accurate data for the performance parking district, then meter and parking restriction enforcement have to be made more consistent. Otherwise the data collected is not going to be worth much.