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D.C. Backtracks On Parking Pass Policy

Visitor passes will be sent out en masse as before, for those hoping to avoid parking tickets in the District.
Wayan Vota: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dcmetroblogger/2857625215/
Visitor passes will be sent out en masse as before, for those hoping to avoid parking tickets in the District.

The District is sticking with its current visitor parking pass policy, scrapping plans to overhaul the system by making the coveted passes on-demand only.

"DDOT will automatically mail the pass to those residents who received the pass last year. It will continue to be free of charge. It will continue to be only one pass per household," says Monica Hernandez at the District Department of Transportation.

The District has considered revamping the policy by allowing any household where residential parking restrictions are in effect to request a free visitor parking pass starting Oct 1. But after a public outcry led the D.C. Council to pass legislation to put the new program on hold, DDOT decided to return to the existing policy of mailing the passes to all eligible households.

"The current pass expires Sept. 30 and we will be extending the expiration date for an additional 90-day period," Hernandez says.

Residents complained that the new system would have been abused, making parking in neighborhoods with a scarcity of spaces even more difficult.

They also said the same parking policy should not be imposed across the entire District. Instead, denser areas with scarcer parking should be able to craft more restrictive parking policies to ensure that the visitor passes are not sold or used improperly.

Hernandez said one reason planners drafted a new system was to combat fraud. She said parking enforcement will remain on the lookout for residents abusing or selling their visitor passes.

"We will continue to ensure that the mechanisms that we've had in place will be enforced," Hernandez says. "For example, each pass has a designated area associated with it where that pass is only permitted to be used. As part of our enforcement, officers will look at that to make sure passes are used in their designated areas."

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