With schools and government offices open today for the first time this week, the battle over savesies – blocking or reserving a street parking space that you dug out – is starting to get uglier in the Capitol Hill area.
Hill resident Nathan Bergman stoked the flames of the age-old savesies debate with a 96-word note he left on a spot in front of his home. In the note, Bergman explained the work he put in to clear the space and vowed to bury any space-stealers with the snow that he removed.
Responses to Bergman’s note were varied. Some pointed to Mayor Muriel Bowser and Police Chief Cathy Lanier’s comments that saving parking spaces is not allowed in the District. However, judging by the amount of lawn chairs and empty trash cans parked around the Capitol Hill area, a lot of people disagree with the law.
ANC 6B commissioner Denise Krepp shared a photo this morning of another sign in Hill East asking people not to park in a cleared spot. The sign was posted on a target practice sheet in a possible attempt to intimidate potential parkers. Krepp removed the sign and implored residents to dig out peacefully.
— Denise Rucker Krepp (@kdrkrepp) January 27, 2016
The debate isn’t only playing out on Capitol Hill streets – Washington City Paper ran a pro-savesies story today, arguing that District residents should respect “dibs.” The Washington Post took a more neutral approach, talking to residents whose dibs weren’t honored and noting that elsewhere on the East Coast, the battle over parking often gets much nastier than it is here.
Drivers aren’t the only people trying to return to normalcy as the snow melts, though. Capital Bikeshare crews have been working to clear stations around the Capitol Hill area and the rest of the District.
Who says you can't shovel with attitude? Another station cleared at 3rd & H NE, in style. pic.twitter.com/yOu8BeDuHf
— Capital Bikeshare (@bikeshare) January 27, 2016
DC Water is also attempting to make conditions better, or at least drier, for pedestrians by urging residents to clear catch basins and drains along streets so that melting snow and slush doesn’t pool along sidewalks.
Help us clear catch basins and rid yourself of slushy, wet feet. https://t.co/GNqKNg7EHj
— DC Water (@dcwater) January 27, 2016
However, there are still some areas around the Hill that haven’t been cleared at all. This morning, Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen tweeted that many parks on Capitol Hill are federal lands owned by the National Park Service. Allen said he has urged NPS to clear the parks multiple times with no response and is now asking the DC volunteer snow team if it can help.
— Charles Allen (@CharlesAllenW6) January 27, 2016
Schools, Government Offices Reopen Today, But Commute May Not Be Easy — The federal government and D.C. schools are reopening today, but roads still aren’t ready for a full-scale rush hour and not all buses are running. [Washington Post]
Capitol Hill Man Threatens to Bury Cars Parked in Spot He Cleared in Widely Shared Sign — Nathan Bergman of Capitol Hill spent five hours digging out his car after the weekend blizzard, and posted a sign promising to re-bury any car that took the spot while he was gone. The sign was widely shared on social media. [Washington Times]
Developer Struggles to Find Cafe Tenant in Hill East — The owner of a two-story rowhouse at 1247 E St. SE says he has struggled to find a coffee shop or cafe to occupy the space but hopes that will change as more residential projects are built in the area. [Washington Business Journal]
Three Capitol Hill Area Bars Among Districts Best Dives — The Pug (1234 H St. NE), Trusty’s Full-Serve Bar (1420 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) and Tune Inn (331 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) all made Thrillist’s list of the best dive bars in D.C. [Thrillist]
The snow emergency that was initiated on Friday morning is set to end at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Bowser said.
Those who parked along snow emergency routes during the snow emergency and were towed can pick up their cars, but the Department of Public Works warns that they might have to dig them out of the impound lot.
If you're going to DC impound lot to recover your car that was towed, bring a shovel. @DCDPW advises you'll have to dig your car out.
— Mark Segraves (@SegravesNBC4) January 26, 2016
Bowser also announced that DC Public Schools have been cleared and will be ready for classes to start tomorrow.
The District government will also begin issuing fines to businesses that have not cleared sidewalks in front of their properties. A new law this year allows the Department of Public Works to fine homeowners and business owners who do not remove snow and ice from sidewalks adjacent to their property.
However, Bowser said that given the severity of the recent storm, fines will not be issued to homeowners or residential properties.
D.C. Public Schools and government offices will all be open tomorrow. The D.C. Public Charter School Board is updating the status of charter schools throughout the District online.
Though the District government will be open, trash collection will still be on hold until Thursday at the earliest. DPW announced that it will attempt to reach every regular route with pickup scheduled for Thursday or Friday. Regular trash collection service will resume on Monday.
Photo via Twitter/ Mayor Muriel Bowser
By the end of June, parking meter enforcement on Maine Avenue and Water Street SW is expected to happen from 7 a.m. to midnight every day except Sunday, when meters aren’t monitored, WTOP reported this afternoon.
The two streets are among eight “premium demand zones,” which have longer hours of parking enforcement and more costly meters than most other parts of the District.
The zones, which also include the National Mall and Adams Morgan, have meters that charge $2 per hour. Outside of the areas, meters charge 75 cents per hour and operate from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
As more than 850,000 locals leave the D.C.-area this Labor Day weekend, residents who stay behind can look forward to a free concert at the U.S. Capitol and their last chance to go swimming before all the Capitol Hill-area public pools close for the season.
The National Symphony Orchestra will play its annual free Labor Day concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Sunday at 8 p.m. The concert will feature classic patriotic tunes, some Aaron Copland classics and several other well-known songs.
On the eastern side of the Hill, the Rosedale Pool at 1701 Gales St. NE, the last pool open in the Capitol Hill area, will be open all weekend and close for the season at 6 p.m. Monday.
Here is some other information for the holiday weekend:
- City Services: D.C. and federal government offices will be closed Monday. Trash and recycling collection will be pushed back one day for the whole week. There will be no street sweeping on Monday, but the schedule for the rest of the week will not change. Parking meters and restrictions only will be enforced in the neighborhoods surrounding Nationals Park and along the H Street NE streetcar route.
- Roads: All roads will be open throughout the weekend, as construction-related projects are ordered to take place off of streets until Tuesday.
- Riding Metro: On Monday, Metro trains and buses will operate on Sunday schedules, with scheduled work on the Red, Orange, Silver and Blue lines.
Photo via Kennedy-Center.org
Sona Creamery Near Eastern Market Finally Making Cheese — Sona Creamery this weekend will sell their first batch of homemade cheese after a long regulatory battle to open the creamery near Eastern Market. [Washington City Paper]
Longer Parking Meter Hours Coming to Southwest — Parking meter enforcement along Maine Avenue and Water streets SW will be extended to midnight beginning Oct. 1. [WTOP]
Buzzard Point Marina to Close in December — The Marina at Buzzard Point will be closed at the end of the year in anticipation of further development in Southwest. [Washington Post]
Government Watchdog Agency Questions Capitol Power Plant Transition to Natural Gas — The Government Accountability Office released a report on Thursday criticizing the ongoing effort to convert the U.S. Capitol power plant from part-coal to all natural gas. [Roll Call]
Councilman Charles Allen of Ward 6 is calling on Mayor Muriel Bowser to reconsider her decision to allow commercial buses serving Union Station to park on Buzzard Point in Southwest.
In an open letter to the mayor published on The Southwester’s website today, Allen said allowing the buses to park on Buzzard Point will place too much of a burden on Southwest residents. The councilman said Bowser should find a different location for the vehicles.
“Adding commercial bus parking to Buzzard Point will undoubtedly create additional pressures within these vibrant residential neighborhoods and negatively impact the community,” Allen said in his letter.
Bowser already has changed the location of the overflow bus parking before.
The group responsible for the restoration and construction at Union Station initially had sought to park the buses at the long-closed Alexander Crummell School in Ivy City, a move that was unpopular with residents of the Northeast community. At the beginning of August, Bowser assured Ivy City residents that their neighborhood would not house the buses, opting instead to park them on Buzzard Point and at other locations around D.C., The Washington Post reported.
But Allen said that moving the buses to Buzzard Point will “overburden” an area that is already home to several large-scale construction projects, including The Wharf.
“Neighborhood streets are already at capacity with construction traffic for the many projects underway,” Allen said, adding that “the combination of heavy commercial traffic seriously impacts pedestrian safety and the quality of life in Southwest.”
Photo via Google Maps
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon isn’t the only reason you might have to move your car this weekend — residential street sweeping starts Monday.
The Department of Public Works is advising drivers to check street signs for which days and hours parking is prohibited while the District sweeps streets. The mechanical sweeping initially scheduled for March 1 is set to start late because of the winter weather.
Fines for violating the street signs on sweeping cost $45 each.
The sweeping season will run through Oct. 31.
Image via DPW
Mayor Muriel Bowser declared an official end to the D.C. Snow Emergency at 2 p.m., which resumes regular parking rules and taxi fares. But dozens of drivers were ticketed for not moving their cars out of the paths of plows.
D.C. towed 132 vehicles that were illegally parked between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. on snow emergency routes, Bowser’s office announced. The tickets cost $350, plus a $20 per day storage fee, as the city warned drivers last night. Snow emergency routes on the Hill include Constitution Avenue, Independence Avenue and H Street.
The city impound lot is closed today because D.C. government is closed. To find your car, you can call 202-541-6083 or visit this website.
In other snow day news, Metro restored more bus service as of 1:30 p.m. Metro trains are still running on a Saturday schedule.
A plan seems to be inching along to improve parking near Eastern Market on weekends.
District Department of Transportation representatives will speak at a community meeting tomorrow night (Wednesday) about ideas to fix the weekend parking clog, reviving discussions that have gone on since at least 2011.
Fixing parking problems at Eastern Market — an area that, unlike much of the District, is less crowded on weekdays but inundated on weekends — has long been a priority for ANC 6B, transportation committee chair Kirsten Oldenburg said. The commission pushed for expanding performance-based parking, which allows the city to charge higher costs during times of peak demand. Such systems are already in place around Nationals Park and on the H Street Corridor.
However, DDOT failed to act on an expansion of performance-based parking, even as District Council members joined in support for the plan, Oldenburg said. The department told ANC 6B they could not expand the performance parking plan without additional review.
“It was a very frustrating process for all of us,” she said.
Still, Oldenburg said she looks forward to hearing what DDOT has to say and to start working toward a solution.
“[The meeting] will begin plans for the coming months,” she said.
The meeting will be held tomorrow at 7 p.m. in room 314 of the Hill Center, at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. The DDOT representatives expected to speak tomorrow night declined to discuss the presentation they’ll give.
Photo via NCinDC/Flickr
As many locals circle the neighborhood for precious parking spots, some Hill residents are paying top dollar for dedicated spaces.
The priciest parking spot on Capitol Hill this year sold for more than $95 per square foot. A 1,061-square foot garage built in 1920 was the most expensive space. The 314 13th St. NE real estate went for $101,500 in September, according to data from the real estate firm Redfin.
“People will invest for convenience,” Redfin Capitol Hill agent Michael Alderfer said. “If it’s a desirable location, someone will want to own it.”
The second-most expensive garage sold for $80,000. The brick structure behind 638 G St. SE boasts an automatic door and electricity, the listing says.
The third-most expensive space went for $40,000, in Capitol Hill Tower at 1000 New Jersey Ave. SE.
Parking spaces in the Capitol Hill Historic District are in particular demand, Yarmouth Management’s information manager, Tim Burr, said.
“[Spaces] are rare at the older buildings,” he said. “The places that do usually have parking are the newer buildings.”
Top prices for Hill parking spaces could be even higher than what’s officially listed. Many deals for spaces happen quietly, between neighbors, a Redfin spokeswoman said.
When someone is spending millions on a house, the price tag for a parking spaces doesn’t seem so high, Alderfer said.
“An extra hundred thousand is a great idea,” he said.
The 2013 permits that let residents’ guests park for more than two hours on RPP-zoned blocks will expire on Dec. 31, and applications for new permits are now being accepted, according to the District Department of Transportation.
One free pass is available to every household on a RPP-zoned block. The passes will be valid for the entire 2015 calendar year.
Applications can be made online. The permits should be received 7-10 days after they are approved, the DDOT site says.
Critics of the permitting system that was expanded in Aug. 2013 say the RPP program invites abuse on already-crowded streets.