Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Church to DC DOT: Give Us Back Our Parking!

This isn't really a story about Washington's Nats, but it does involve the continuing saga about the new stringent parking restrictions imposed by the District Department of Transportation around Nationals Park in Southeast D.C.

Granted, the new rules are designed to make sure that fans don't completely take over all the curbside parking in the neighborhood. But the DOT regs are so draconian that they're discouraging congregants from attending Ebenezer United Methodist Church, says Rev. John Blanchard.

Five weeks ago, the parking restrictions in front of Ebenezer, at 4th and D Streets SE, were changed by the city to restrict Sunday parking to two-hour periods, starting at 7 a.m. -- not just on game days, but every Sunday of the year. Because it has no parking lot, Ebenezer's members traditionally have parked out front, usually starting at 9: 30 a.m. when Sunday school commences -- followed by worship at 11 a.m. -- to 1 p.m.

The result so far: some tickets have been issued, including to the church secretary's vehicle. More ominous: Tow trucks have been seen circling the block on some Sundays.

The solution presented to Ebenezer by DOT officials was parking passes for church-goer's cars, said Blanchard. But that doesn't work well, he said. Which regulars-- who range in age from mid-60s to early 90s (the average age is in the 70s, the pastor said)-- get a pass? What about visitors?

If the Nats only have 13 home games on Sundays this season, why not just enforce the two-hour parking restriction only on game days? Or since all the Sunday games start after 1 p.m., why not enforce the restriction only after 1 p.m.? "All we simply want them to do is change the sign," Blanchard said. "Do the enforcement, but do it after 1 p.m. But DOT wants to do what DOT wants to do. They got hard heads."

On Blanchard's side are the Downtown Cluster of Congregations, headed by Terry Lynch, and DC Council Member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6). But DC DOT spokeswoman Karyn LeBlanc said the department considers the issue resolved. "We've issued them visitor [parking] passes and they can disperse them as they see fit," LeBlanc said. "Frankly, there won't be a lot of enforcement in the morning because we recognize the church is there."

Since the signs went up about a week before Easter, Sunday attendance has dropped by about half, Blanchard said, adding, "The effects are pretty striking to us."

By Sylvia Moreno  |  April 22, 2008; 6:59 AM ET
Categories:  City Life , Nationals  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: D.C. Schools Rally Students for High-Stakes Testing
Next: A Clinton Superdelegate in Obama Country


They put up the signs the week before Easter?? The DOT is evil.

Posted by: Annoyed on 5th Street | April 23, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

How about purchasing a church shuttle? Church's take up ALOT of real estate in the District and the District only has so much land. I remember days when church folks double parked without reservation. Not very Christian-like to break the law to go worship, but I digress.

Much like I don't wan't Nat fans to take up all the parking spots in front of my house, I also don't want CHURCH FOLKS to take them up EVERY Sunday either. Heaven Forbid there be a revival with a popular rock-star bible thumper on the stage.

Church's are a business. They can pay for accomodations for their elderly flock. It is not the city's responsibility to to cater to their demands for more parking spaces.

Although I do agree that stadium parking all they way up to the Naval Barracks at 8th Street is a BIT excessive. It is 7 Days a week metered. Who, in reality, is going to walk that far to the stadium and why is the restrictions 7 days per week. Doesn't that force traffic up into the neighborhoods?

Go Figure.

Posted by: CapHillRes | April 23, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company