Councilmember Graham -
Is the city of DC required to give notice of changes to parking restrictions beyond simply changing the signs? In particular, is there a process for notifying residents that an un-zoned street is becoming zoned?
I ask because I received two tickets that I do not think I deserved, and I would like to know the law before I contest them.
I moved to the 1400 block of Harvard Street in February. This block was not zoned when I registered my car. Sometime in the last few weeks, our block became Zone 1. I received no notification. I do not make a habit of checking the parking signs every time I park on my block to make sure they have not changed.
The first notification I received about the change was a parking ticket last Wednesday the 15th of August. I looked at the signs, and sure enough, they had been changed. The DMV was already closed for the day, so there was no way to fix this situation, and I do not have off-street parking.
I left a note on the car for the parking enforcement officials, explaining the situation. I told them that I was a resident of the block, that I had just discovered the change in zoning, and that I was going to the DMV that day. Then I thanked them for their understanding.
When I returned home after work to apply my new zone 1 parking permit, less than 24 hours after the first ticket, I had another, sitting just above the note I had left.
I know the DMV has a helpful online form for requesting a new parking permit. Had I known even a few weeks in advance of the change, I would have paid for my new permit online, saving my time, and saving the District’s time. But because I wasn’t given the courtesy of any notice, I had to take two hours out of my day to go to the DMV. And I have to take some of your time, and some of the court’s time as I contest these tickets. From various sources at DDOT and the DMV, I have heard varying measures for zoning a street - anywhere from 15 signatures to 90% of the residents on the street. My downstairs neighbor was approached about having our street zoned, but no one asked me. No one informed me it was in progress.
I have been driving for thirteen years. In that time, I have received six parking tickets. Five of those have been in the District in the last year and a half. Four have been in the last four months while my car was parked within fifty feet of my front door. I understand that we have parking restrictions for a reason, and parking tickets are the way these restrictions are enforced. But these restrictions were not put in place to persecute District residents.
I appreciate your attention to this matter.