.... and the council hearing on Tommy Wells's Performance Parking plan
has just ended.
You guys owe me. (Though at least I'm home in my fuzzy slippers watching the telecast.)
But despite there being more than six hours of testimony (which I need to admit here I missed the 90 minutes of, since it wasn't broadcast), I don't really see a lot of new headlines, especially if you've been following along
as I've posted on this bill over the past six weeks or so. Here's my impressions of the 4 1/1 hours I did see (I'm guessing the part I missed was a tutorial on the basics of Performance Parking, which I've now seen three times):
* The vast majority of the witnesses who testified were in support
of this plan to regulate curbside parking in areas near the ballpark. Residents, business owners, smart growth advocates, and others expressed concerns
about certain aspects of the bill
, but there were only two people (unless I dozed off somewhere) that came out completely against it. Five ANC 6D commissioners testified (Litsky, Sobelsohn, Hamilton, McBee, and Siegel, and Moffatt was supposed to but wasn't there).
* DDOT director Emeka Moneme says that his agency expects to release specifics on the bill (streets, enforcement hours, meter prices) by the end of next week (so, Feb. 8ish).
* What parking is going to be like on Opening Day
was not addressed during the portion of the hearing I saw, which at this point is probably as pressing as any other issue. You can see my report from last week's town hall
on Opening Day parking information that filtered out during that session. This may be part of what DDOT is releasing next week.
* Enforcement, enforcement, enforcement. Witness after witness hammered on this point, that all the plans and fines in the world won't work if there isn't strict enforcement of whatever rules are put into effect. Tommy Wells did mention that more enforcement can be handled by the same number of workers under this new plan, since with printed receipts from kiosk meters a parking attendant only needs to check a vehicle once to see if it's within it's legal time limit, rather than showing up once to inventory the cars that are parked in a zone and then return hours later to see which ones are still there and parked illegally. Jim Graham seemed a tad bewildered that Ward 6 residents want *more* enforcement, when so many of his Ward 1 constituents complain about too much enforcement. His comments about lack of resources at DPW and "only so much of the pie" didn't go over too well. Moneme said that he has assurances from DPW that "the resources will be there."
* The desire for strong community involvement in not only the setting of rates but in determining the success of the plan was another theme hit on repeatedly by witnesses who fear that the draft version of the bill gives all power to the mayor and the executive branch without any sort of community input or council oversight. Wells, Moneme, and Jim Graham all seemed to get religion on this point, pledging to make sure that some sort of mechanism is in place to involve the ANCs and get feedback from businesses and residents.
* Guest passes are still a thorny subject, especially whether people will try to copy them (they're going to have holograms) or create a hot black market by selling them. Church parking is equally delicate, though Tommy mentioned the possibility of starting Sunday enforcement of parking laws at 1 pm, to better accommodate churches but prevent all day parking by baseball fans.
* Moneme mentioned a number a times the idea of being able to pay for your parking via your cellphone (which could also send you an alert when your meter was about to expire), although this raised the hackles of witnesses who envisioned Nats fans and Capitol Hill workers repeatedly "feeding the meter" from their seats in section 401 or their desks in the HOBs. (Tommy said that this could probably be addressed.)
* Michael Stevens of the Capitol Riverfront BID
testified in support of the plan, but said that the BID feels there should be no on-street parking at all on game days in the blocks north of M
between New Jersey and South Capitol, because of the likelihood of traffic congestion. He also asked for the plan to be expanded south to cover Buzzards Point, and mentioned that future revenues from the parking plan should go to amenities such as streetscape improvements and Canal Park
I believe they will attempt to get this passed at the Feb. 5 city council legislative meeting as emergency legislation, though I don't have that confirmed.
If you want to watch the hearing, you'll be able to do so at your leisure
, once it's posted and when you have 25 percent of a day to spare. I'll be checking it out when to see the first portion that I missed, and will update if there's additional news.