How Easy Is It to Create Parking in DC?

  • June 4th 2013

by Shilpi Paul

How Easy Is It to Create Parking in DC?: Figure 1

As rowhouses are turned into condos and multi-family apartments pop up all over DC, the street parking situation is becoming ever more competitive. A reader recently reached out with a query about how feasible it is to add a parking space on the lot of a purchased home.

I am in the midst of a house hunt and have come across a few listings that do not include parking. However, their backyards back up to alleys that lead to neighbors’ parking spots/garages. I was wondering how feasible it is to add a parking spot to the back of a property/lot that you own. In searching online, I’ve come across only posts about obtaining curb cuts in front of a house (that decrease sidewalk space and are therefore very hard to obtain). I couldn’t find anything about the feasibility of adding a spot when it would not decrease sidewalk space and would rely on an existing alley. Therefore, I’m unsure how to evaluate how much the lack of parking should affect the listing price. It may depend on the neighborhood and I’m looking in neighborhoods where residential parking is the norm- e.g., 16th Street Heights, Palisades, Tenleytown — so maybe it’s easier in these neighborhoods compared to Dupont, Logan, etc.?

The question intrigued UrbanTurf, as we had been hearing more about the idea that utilizing the space behind a row house as parking rather than as a patio or backyard is something that should be encouraged.

According to this document from the city’s Department of Transportation, constructing a driveway or curb cut requires permitting, an inspection and several additional steps because it cuts into public space.

The situation described by the reader above, however, would use private land, and the new space would be accessed by an existing alley.

We reached out to DCRA to find out what is necessary in this scenario. The agency told us that a permit may be required to build the space depending on the zoning where the home is located. (A permit may also be required if new fencing will need to be constructed, though they didn’t go into great detail.) We have reached out to them for further information, and will add to this article when we receive it.

In the meantime, have any readers converted a portion of their property into a parking space? How easy was it, and what was the permitting process like, if there was one?

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This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/can_parking_in_the_alley_alleviate_the_street_parking_crush/7151.

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