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Is a Parking Lot the Solution To Logan Circle’s Parking Woes?

by Shilpi Paul

image
Parking on R Street NW

At ANC meetings all over DC, parking has been a hot topic of discussion lately. Multi-family residential projects have been increasing the density of cars per neighborhood right along with the population. Additionally, the expanding bar and restaurant scenes on corridors around the city are putting additional stress on the street parking system.

Though the city has tried to mitigate the problem through initiatives like dedicating one side of the street to residential parking only, the measures have been more of a band-aid than a long-term solution. New efforts are necessary, and some neighborhood groups and city officials have been brainstorming.

ANC 2F, which covers Logan Circle, a neighborhood that is particularly burdened by the parking issue, is in the midst of a series of targeted discussions on the topic. At the most recent forum, Sherri Kimbel, the Director of Constituent Services for Jack Evans’ office, mentioned that the city was exploring the idea of using a parking lot to take some cars off the streets in Logan.

“There has been discussion of putting a parking facility somewhere in the Logan area,” Kimbel told UrbanTurf. Though the District itself can’t build a lot, she said, they are looking at a couple existing and planned lots in the area. “There is a bus parking lot on S Street between 13th and 14th, and there has been talk of using that for parking,” she told us. “More immediate help may come from the O Street Market, which is supposed to have nearly 500 spaces for cars.”

Other solutions we have heard include encouraging rowhouse dwellers to use the parking space behind their homes, rather than taking a street spot, and metering all street spots in congested areas, with residential parking permits exempting residents from paying.

Readers, what do you think about these ideas? Can you come up with any others?

See other articles related to: parking, logan circle

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/is_a_parking_lot_the_solution_to_logan_circles_parking_woes/6903

19 Comments

  1. Marie said at 4:13 pm on Tuesday April 9, 2013:

    Metering the spaces and exempting RPP holders is the way to go. I live on Irving ST NW steps away from the Target shopping center and people park on Irving rather than pay the $1.50 an hour in the 1,000 spaces DCUSA has. They take a chance on getting a parking ticket rather than pay the @$1.50.There is no shortage of parking spaces in Columbia Heights because of the 1,000 spaces in DCUSA’s garage.  People need to use them instead of trying to park for free on the street.

  1. Alexa said at 4:47 pm on Tuesday April 9, 2013:

    Agreed on the metered spaces. I lived in Logan Circle for three years and parking was challenging day to day and next to impossible on Sunday late morning and afternoon (church and brunchgoers?) and weekend nights. Since Zone 2 covers such a wide expanse of neighborhoods, it gives residents of other neighborhoods a freebie to park and local residents a huge headache.

  1. Justin S said at 4:48 pm on Tuesday April 9, 2013:

    Areas that have fantastic walkability and good metro access don’t technically need parking. I’m all for letting parking access shrinkage! ...and I say this as a downtown homeowner with a car & no private parking spot. Less car access will encourage more walkers/metro riders/bikers… and all of those types of commuters encourage the kinds of small businesses I wish were more prevalent in my neighborhood.

  1. JOHN HINES said at 6:52 pm on Tuesday April 9, 2013:

    This is what will happen all over the city if it reduces the parking minimums as it is considering doing.  Essentially, if we reduce the number if required parking spaces, residents won’t be able to park.  You can try resident parking zones, but that does not really solve the problem.  Using the buss lot on S street seems like a very good idea.

  1. jag said at 10:34 pm on Tuesday April 9, 2013:

    “This is what will happen all over the city if it reduces the parking minimums as it is considering doing.  Essentially, if we reduce the number if required parking spaces, residents won’t be able to park.”

    John, that’s exactly the point. As Justin alludes to, people don’t live in the city because they have easy access to a three car garage; they live there because they want a walkable, vibrant neighborhood. Parking lots and inducing demand for driving are about as far from that goal as it gets.

  1. JM said at 2:35 am on Wednesday April 10, 2013:

    Jag - while minimizing the use of cars is certainly a worthwhile goal, the fact remains that the majority of DC residents have at least one car.  And for good reason - despite living one block from the metro I find numerous reasons to drive each week.  Trips to the store to stock up on heavy items, hardware from Home Depot, trips to the vet with the cat carrier… etc.  Sure everyone could use Zip car, but then again where would you store all the Zip cars?

  1. jag said at 3:02 am on Wednesday April 10, 2013:

    I’m not advocating for the removal of all street and off-street parking nor trying to say local governments don’t need to address the issue, e.g. tweaking permitting policies. However, there are inherent pros and cons to catering to/inducing demand for single occupancy vehicles.

    “Essentially, if we reduce the number if required parking spaces, residents won’t be able to park.” - that’s a-okay in my book to force fewer drivers to live in/visit my neighborhood because I find the pros to outweigh the cons. Others think the cons outweigh the pros and that’s fine, especially when we’re talking about different neighborhoods as, rightfully, not all neighborhoods are built the same and not all parking policies should be the same.

    That said, having a surface parking lot in Logan Circle is flat absurd as is the notion it’d solve the parking situation. It’d simply induce someone to buy a car, or a car owner to move into the neighborhood, or a car owner to drive in from VA for dinner until the lot becomes full and the exact same issue rises again. Except now you have the issue + a dead lot that won’t go anywhere for a generation since the neighborhood has adapted and learned to rely upon it.

  1. Steven said at 8:49 am on Wednesday April 10, 2013:

    Land is scare and valuable in dense, developed urban areas.  The cost of parking usually reflects that.  In DC, deeded, garaged parking spaces can cost $25,000 or more (plus monthly fees for maintenance).  Private spaces (in garages though there are some lots left) cost $150-200+ per month to rent.  How about one’s own yard (if you’re lucky enough to have one)?  It’s hard to value the value of a yard vs. a parking space, let’s say you need about 100 sq. ft. to store a car.  At, say, about $250/sq. ft. (low for central DC), that space is ‘worth’ $25,000.

    On the other hand, if you’re a DC resident, you can get a residential parking sticker for $35 a *year*.  That’s a fraction of the market rate.  So it’s no wonder people would rather park their cars on their street.  Furthermore, the usage of cars has externalities that owners don’t directly pay for (pollution and traffic being the main one) that impact the quality of life of people in the city, whether they drive or not. 

    So—is well below market-rate parking the best way to use the valuable land in our city?  Should DC provide this parking cheaply (thereby incentivizing/subsidizing auto use)  or encourage alternate modes of transportation?  I personally think that DC should encourage people to get around in ways other than driving.  (And I have a car.)

  1. Logan Resident said at 10:19 am on Wednesday April 10, 2013:

    Upping the fees to park in and around 14th st would help discourage people from driving in which would be huge. Most of the parking problems are not from the number of people who live in the area, but from all the non-DC people who drive in. I am not saying they shouldnt, but if we charge more you could discourage some.

    As for residents, we have to up RPP cost. Most of my neighbors have off street parking but park on street due to convience if a spot is free, but if you charged a few hundred dollars for an RPP I am sure some of them would give up their RPP.

    As a resident who lives just off Logan Circle, other than Friday and Saturday nights after about 7pm, I never have an issue parking. A lot of the complaints I think are from people who want to be able to park with in 2 blocks of their house at all hours, which just isnt realistic.

  1. EP Sato- Logan Resident said at 10:26 am on Wednesday April 10, 2013:

    Adding a parking lot won’t cut down on parking congestion in Logan’s ONE BIT.  It’ll encourage more locals to keep their cars.  If there are more cars in the lot, more tourists will park on the street.  This is NOT a winning solution.

    “Resident only” parking policies are working extremely well.  Just ask residents of Capitol Hill and Columbia Heights.  There’s nothing “temporary” about that solution. 


    Unless folks have noticed, city leaders are trying to REDUCE the reliance on cars in DC.  Why?  Because we live in a city with a tax base of 600,000 residents, an 18th century designed infrastructure and more than a million cars driving through every day. 

    As a Logan’s Circle resident, I’m 100% opposed to this ludicrous parking lot idea.  Get out of your cars and take the metro, or get a Vespa if you live downtown.  Living downtown is supposed to require a few sacrifices.  “Creature comforts” and “easy access to parking” are for people who live in Ashburn.

  1. JB said at 10:37 am on Wednesday April 10, 2013:

    I like my car, I will keep my car, and any policies will not discourage me from having my car.  A parking lot is the way to go, people need cars.

  1. StringsAttached said at 12:09 pm on Wednesday April 10, 2013:

    Reading some of the “anti-vehicle” comments is quite hilarious. I wonder how many of these individuals were born and raised, heck forget born, just raised in DC? So if you want to go home, and home is close enough that you can drive, you want individuals to rent vehicles? There is where your problem lies, you will never get that to make sense to most people. Give them the parking and stop this “war on cars”. Cars were invented for a reason!! Your legs, bikes, Vespa’s, and Metro can only get you so far…

  1. JB said at 12:52 pm on Wednesday April 10, 2013:

    @ StringsAttached

    Exactly right.  This war on cars is insane.  Other means of transportation can only take you so far.

  1. kmere said at 1:49 pm on Wednesday April 10, 2013:

    Just to clarify, why can’t the district build a municipal lot or perhaps garage with w/in zone residential parking or RPP reduced rates at a public/private partnership garage?

    I am not sure that any of these would be a good idea, but I guess I don’t understand why it is automatically out of the question.

  1. Logan Resident said at 2:26 pm on Wednesday April 10, 2013:

    @JB- No one is talking about taking your car or my car. The discussion is about how best to allocate parking and resources, which in this case exclusively effects car owners… You can do what you want with your car, you will probably just have to pay more for it.

    @StringsAttached- Agreed that there will always be a need for cars, but to institute policies where those who can use other modes of transportation are encouraged to do so vs driving, benefits everyone. In this case, that means there is more parking for residents.

    If someone in the Logan/U St. area wants parking there are plenty of places they can pay for it. The key to this arguement is that they dont want to pay $200-300 a month for an off street spot. A garage is a bad idea for the Logan area and will just make traffic worse as it encourages people to drive, thus the logic behind the parking minimums.

  1. tlaw said at 2:34 pm on Wednesday April 10, 2013:

    I live on R Street right across from where this photo was taken.  It was great that they put up the resident only parking signs on the street a couple months ago.  But they don’t seem to work because every time I walk past that side of the street, every other parked car has a Maryland license plate…it’s not that they aren’t in the right zone, they don’t even pay taxes in the District!  Meanwhile, I have only seen an officer ticketing the area once!  I started applauding him, I was so happy, but it obviously isn’t happening enough to dissuade people from parking in incorrect spaces.  In the rare instances I drive to work, I have to circle around the block a dozen times to find a parking space around dinner time because every one is driving to go eat at Pearl Dive or Estadio.  But if I have a late night at the office and come later, any time after 9 there is a spot right in front of my house.  Maybe all the parking should be for residents only, considering this area has great access to public transit, between U Street, McPherson Square, Dupont Circle, Shaw, and the Circulator buses.

  1. rih said at 5:37 pm on Wednesday April 10, 2013:

    We need a parking lot as all of the new businesses open in Logan Circle.  There are no - or few - underground garages in this part of town.  At least downtown has a deep garage or four in every square block.  Why can’t Logan have one garage? The neighborhood deserves it.  The parking is horrible now because there are no alternatives to street parking.

  1. HotDamn said at 9:45 pm on Wednesday April 10, 2013:

    The out-of-towners (MD and VA’ers) that DO drive into the District help the economy here quite a bit. If you were to ask any of the businesses on 14th street, I think a good majority would agree they don’t mind VA and MD dollars.

    Less Parking = Fewer Spaces for Inbound Commuters w/Cash = Less Cash for Logan Businesses.

    Personally, I like the idea of restricting parking. It will push development into other areas (including my hood) that much faster.

  1. Chris Hamilton said at 9:35 am on Sunday April 14, 2013:

    The City should NOT build nor encourage the private building of more garages. Look what happened in Columbia Heights with the Target garage. It’s empty. Why should we city residents continue to subsidize an already over-subsidized and non-sustainable mode. While the majority of people in the city may own a vehicle, 40% do not and in the neighborhoods we’re talking about more don’t than do. If you need a car join Zipcar and Car2go. Both services rock. Join Capital Bikeshare. Get a bike. Get a bus pass too. The city should be re-purposing parking for more bike parking - which is very inadequate everywhere. The City should add more Capital Bikeshare and do more streetcar and faster please. And the idea that business depends upon car drivers is false. People come to these places because they are in walkable areas. Otherwise they’d drive to Tysons and Reston Town Center. Don’t suburbanize my DC!

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