Drivers in Sheridan-Kalorama will begin seeing “resident-only” parking on their neighborhood streets as soon as this weekend — a rare step that responds to recent security-related parking pressures associated with the area’s new high-profile residents: the Obamas and Ivanka Trump.
Resident-only parking reserves one side of each residential street for vehicles registered in the same zone, while keeping the conventional two-hour grace period for all cars on the other side of the street. In Sheridan-Kalorama, any vehicle registered in Zone 2 (roughly corresponding to Ward 2) with a Residential Parking Permit sticker will be able to use the new resident-only parking. Even so, proponents are optimistic that it will cut down on the commuters and taxi drivers who frequently fill many local streets.
“I think it’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened,” said Sherri Kimbel, constituent services director for Ward 2 D.C. Council member Jack Evans, whose office helped lobby for the new Sheridan-Kalorama rules.
Kimbel lives in Logan Circle, which already has the restrictions, as does most of Ward 1. “Coming home and driving around for hours and hours if you’ve worked hard all day is awful,” she said. “There will be some adjustments — there will be some questions and maybe some tweaking — but speaking as a resident, I support it.”
Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2D (Sheridan-Kalorama) has been requesting a solution to its parking pressures for the past five years, and unanimously supported the resident-only plan at its meeting on Monday. Evian Patterson of the D.C. Department of Transportation said at the meeting that the stricter rule will apply on the north and west side of the streets in most cases, from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The side can swap on a case-by-case basis — for instance, if there are residences on the south side of a block but not the north, Patterson said. And any residential street that currently has parking available on only one side will get the new resident-only restrictions.
Other neighborhoods across the city have also requested to join the resident-only parking program, but most changes have been on hold as the Transportation Department finalizes its eligibility guidelines. “We’re building a process for the rest of the public to solicit the agency for resident-only parking,” Patterson told The Current.
Patterson said he hopes this program will be offered citywide by the end of the year, and it will likely adhere closely to a draft proposal released last summer. Under that framework, an advisory neighborhood commission would be able to request the resident-only restrictions throughout its boundaries, at which point the Transportation Department would conduct a traffic study to confirm that parking pressures in the area merit that approach.
Sheridan-Kalorama was able to move forward faster because of the neighborhood’s new and unique issues, according to Patterson. In January, the Obama family moved into a house on Belmont Road NW, closing the block between Tracy Place and Kalorama Circle. At the same time, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner moved into a Tracy Place house around the corner, and Secret Service vehicles snapped up several more coveted parking spaces outside it.
“There were special circumstances impacting the parking in the area,” Patterson said. “When you have these protectees come in, this is not people coming who are commuters — this is actual removal of parking. We found it to be enough of an impact, coupling that with the impact of proximity to Dupont and other places, that it became a good test case for us.”
At Monday’s ANC 2D meeting, some residents expressed skepticism that the new policies would have much effect, saying the Department of Public Works hasn’t consistently ticketed cars that overstay the existing two-hour grace period. Patterson replied that the resident-only restrictions are easier to enforce because tickets can be issued instantly.
“DPW loves these signs they call ‘no-tolerance,’” said Patterson. “Instead of having to come back every two hours, they’re looking for cars that are parked on the resident-only side.”
Patterson also said the Transportation Department will evaluate any requests to change the enforcement hours after the restrictions have gone into effect. The new signs are scheduled to be installed starting this weekend and continuing until June 9, he said.
ANC 2D will also have the chance to opt into the city’s formal system for visitor parking passes, through which any eligible household can request one pass that’s valid for one year. Patterson said an ANC 2D resolution to join the program would allow Sheridan-Kalorama residents to begin receiving passes within a matter of days, but the commission has historically opposed the program’s implementation there due to concerns about improper use of the passes. For now, the residents must still collect temporary visitor passes from the Metropolitan Police Department.