DC Parking Explained!

    No Parking at Any Time. No Parking Monday through Friday, 7-9:30 a.m. 4-6:30 p.m. Pay to Park Monday through Friday 2:30-4 p.m. 6:30-10 p.m.

    All of these separate signs exist on the same post at the same spot in DC. Add time restrictions, zoning restrictions, missing signs, contradictory enforcement priorities and more and it’s no wonder parking in DC is second only to DC traffic as a source of frustration for many District residents, commuters, and visitors.

    So what do you need to know in order to better understand parking in our city? Here are some tips to help you navigate this aspect of DC living.

    1. Watch out for midday. This is the time of day when you may find it most difficult to get clarity on the guidelines for parking. That’s because much of the signage addresses parking restrictions during rush hour, but signs are scarce defining midday parking guidelines. Local businesses, food trucks, and other commercial parking may have precedence in an area, so if you are downtown at lunchtime, double check the signs.
    2. Get the Parkmobile and ParkingPanda apps. More than 60% of drivers in the District have the Parkmobile app, and in many cases it can greatly simplify your parking struggles. Signage located on signposts or meters will give a parking zone which you will then use to register and pay for your parking. With ParkingPanda you can reserve and prepay your parking, so you know you’ll have a spot when you arrive–especially good when you are running late.
    3. Know the ticketing hotspots. Downtown, Capitol HIll, Dupont Circle, and pricey residential neighborhoods in the Upper Northwest and Eastern parts of town near Maryland are more likely to result in tickets if you don’t follow the signs, according to a recent study. This could be because these areas are more restrictive or it could be because enforcement is more active in these areas. Either way, know that it’s not just commercial centers you have to watch out for.
    4. Check out the Residential Permit Parking (RPP) program. Started in the 1970s, the RPP program ensures that area residents are able to park near their homes by zoning many residential blocks as permitted parking zones. This limits the time non-permitted vehicles can spend on the street and helps preserve parking options for area residents. Don’t live in an RPP street? You can petition to have your block designated so that you can ensure better access for you and your neighbors.
    5. Be aware of the regulations for Towing and Booting. Once a vehicle has been ticketed, it can be towed for any violation. It can also be towed if it is parked along a snow emergency route or if it is impeding the flow of traffic. The Secret Service or Metropolitan Police can also tow vehicles in the event of a Presidential motorcade. Booting can occur once a vehicle has two or more parking or camera-enforcement tickets more than 60 days old. License plate recognition is used to find scofflaws and vehicles are then booted and, subsequently towed. After 28 days they are sold at auction.
    6. If you are wrongly ticketed or cited, challenge it! The most important part of challenging an incorrect citation is submitting proof with your initial challenge. It’s not enough to say “I didn’t do it” or “I wasn’t there.” You need to provide proof that your vehicle was elsewhere, that the regulation was not posted, or whatever else your claim hinges on. If your vehicle was improperly ticketed due to an error in the recording of the license plate number, you need to submit a copy of your registration along with your challenge–just notifying the authorities of the error is not enough.

    Parking is a challenge in any big city and DC is no exception. But thinking ahead, understanding the regulations, and double-checking when necessary should help you steer clear of tickets and fines. Looking for a building with designated parking or walking distance from the office? Let us help! Sign in and let your Eng Garcia Grant Realtor begin a custom search to help you find the right place for you, no matter where you want to be in DC.

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