Are DC’s RPP Restrictions Working?

by Nena Perry-Brown

Are DC's RPP Restrictions Working?: Figure 1
The Patterson Mansion on Dupont Circle will ban tenants from getting RPPs.

The District has come a long way in becoming a more multi-modal and less car-dependent city. However, the strides made in these areas have not quelled the concerns surrounding the effects that high-density development will have on the city’s limited street parking.

As developers of new mixed-use and residential developments in DC pitch these projects, a common request is relief from providing the number of parking spaces mandated by zoning regulations. Development teams often secure support and approvals for such relief by telling constituents that residents of the new building will be banned from obtaining residential parking permits (RPPs) that would allow them to park on neighboring streets.

However, a couple years after the RPP ban became a common proposal and as many of the buildings with these bans get set to deliver, it is unclear if the restrictions will actually work.

UrbanTurf spent the last couple months attempting to get an answer to this question, only to be bounced between the Department of Motor Vehicles and the District’s Department of Transportation (DDOT), each agency claiming that the other would have our answer.

Matt Orlins of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) recently explained that developers who commit to such bans are required to submit a plan detailing how the ban will be implemented and enforced. When asked in May, representatives from the Department of Motor Vehicles claimed no knowledge of such bans for the new buildings.

DDOT representatives have also previously claimed to be unaware of such bans, except in instances where people reside at addresses which are in otherwise commercial zones. However, a recent DDOT report submitted as part of a planned-unit development (PUD) application contained the following statement:

DDOT observes the applicant is proposing a Residential Permit Parking (RPP) restriction, which is not a strictly enforceable condition by the District and therefore the restriction may not realize its intended outcome.

UrbanTurf has reached out to DDOT for comment regarding this acknowledgment, and hopes to have a more clear answer regarding the bans in the coming days.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the_problem_with_prohibitions_on_rpps/11504


  1. DC225 said at 8:49 pm on Monday July 25, 2016:
    Not a shocker. I hope people wake up and realize that these "restrictions" are nothing more than developer welfare.
  1. SalMcGee said at 9:56 pm on Monday July 25, 2016:
    The enforcement of these agreements is like the 42nd most important problem with RPP. Start with dramatically shrinking the zones while separating themselves from political boundaries and dramatically increasing the price in high demand zones and then let's talk about this. $35/year to capture public space for my exclusive use is ridiculously cheap.
  1. DC225 said at 10:28 pm on Monday July 25, 2016:
    @SalMcGee - the problem with shrinking the boundaries is that many of us need to travel to a different neighborhood even for basic shopping needs. That's just a reality given that many neighborhoods don't the density to support a thriving "main street."
  1. FH said at 3:30 pm on Tuesday July 26, 2016:
    Residents in residential or mixed use buildings in commercial zones can petition to be eligible for RPPs, and a quick review of the RPP database on the DDOT web-site provides many examples of residential and mixed use buildings in commercial zones where the residents will be offered RPP when they register their vehicles. One exhibit (Exhibit 986) in the Zoning Commission review of the Zoning Rewrite (ZRR, ZC Case 08-06-A) provides details on one PUD in a commercial zone in Tenleytown that was added to the ZRR database while the building was under construction, even though there was a no-RPP condition in the zoning order and the location was in a commercial zone. E-mails are included in the exhibit that show that DDOT first denied that it was in the database, and then, after receiving a copy of the database with the address, was unwilling to explain the process by which it was added. Only then was it quietly removed from the database.
  1. MLD said at 3:46 pm on Tuesday July 26, 2016:
    "the problem with shrinking the boundaries is that many of us need to travel to a different neighborhood even for basic shopping needs." 1. Commercial zones don't have RPP 2. Do you need to park for more than 2 hours?

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