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Double Parking Doublespeak

Mayor Tony Williams, at his best, would decide what was right for the District of Columbia and go out and get it done.

Many people didn't like the pace or scope of development during Williams' two terms in office, but the mayor knew the city's tax base simply had to be rebuilt, so he just went ahead and did it. His belief in baseball as an economic development tool was unpopular in some quarters, but Williams just bulled through and he prevailed.

But in too many other cases, the mayor caved to public outcry over his ideas and actions. Early on, he proposed the interesting and potentially brilliant move of the University of the District of Columbia from its Connecticut Avenue NW campus to the St. Elizabeths Hospital grounds in Southeast--a dramatic transfer that would have freed up the Northwest site for badly-needed retail and residential development, while giving Anacostia just the boost it needed to draw private sector development dollars. But as soon as the predictable uproar was heard, Williams backed off. He hadn't done any of the necessary political groundwork before announcing his explosive idea.

Williams opposed building a new, expensive replacement for D.C. General Hospital, which he had wisely shuttered. When he closed the hospital, the mayor stood tall against intense community backlash. But when Howard University and the mayor's own administration moved to build a new hospital, the mayor, who was apparently never really on board with the idea, tried a classic politician's tactic: He appointed a task force to study the situation. In the hospital case, the mayor lucked out (or picked the right people for his task force.) The group came back saying that there was no medical reason to build a new hospital, that what the District desperately needed instead was more primary health care, which is exactly what Williams believed all along and exactly what he has now set out to accomplish.

But as well-played as that episode was, the mayor's most recent adventure in task forcing has now ended in a mess. Last spring, the Williams administration decided to deal with the volatile question of out-of-control parking by members of D.C. churches who live in the suburbs and drive in each Sunday to worship. At many city churches, congregants park willy-nilly around the neighborhoods, double and triple parking, blocking in residents' cars, turning some residents into prisoners in their own neighborhoods. Add the extra tensions created by the fact that most of the visiting church members are black suburbanites with roots in the city, and many of the parked-in residents are white newcomers to areas such as Shaw, Logan Circle and Capitol Hill, and you've got yourself a situation.

The mayor's staff decided to enforce the law. Despite a longstanding moratorium on enforcement of parking rules during services on Sundays, the city announced it would start ticketing and towing. People went nuts, both in favor and against. The mayor punted: He appointed, yes, another task force.

Now we have that task force's report, and it's a doozy--a mealy-mouthed mess. After blurting in a footnote that they didn't actually look at any new solutions to the problem ("Due to time constraints, we did not study any given technique, nor did we seek to create innovative techniques"), and after bland assurances that good people can come together to find solutions, the task force proceeds to come down squarely on both sides of the issue:

"We strongly recommend that double parking remain prohibited generally," the report says, noting that double parking is "inconsiderate" and poses "safety hazards." Sounds straightforward enough.

But wait: In the very next paragraph, the task force says "We do not reject the careful use of double parking in extraordinary situations." And it turns out those situations are not so very extraordinary at all: If banning double parking would be a hardship for a church or require it to spend a bunch of money to acquire sufficient parking spaces, then the task force is just fine with churchgoers parking-in neighborhood residents, so long as the church collects drivers' keys and has someone ready to move the cars.

In one sentence, the task force says the current moratorium on enforcing parking regulations around churches should end pronto, and just one sentence away, the same task force announces that double parking is fine with them an an "additional tool."

So under the guise of calling for tougher enforcement, the task force undermines any possible value in that enforcement by proposing to make the primary offense--double-parking--no longer an offense!

The ball is now back in the mayor's court. But time is running out--Williams has but a few more weeks in office and he's spending precious days in exotic lands. This week, South Africa, where he is no doubt studying their parking regulations. No study is necessary: There's still time for the mayor to shelve the task force report and get the tow trucks out on the streets. There's still time to enforce the law--without a cynical rewrite.

By Marc Fisher |  October 11, 2006; 7:58 AM ET
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Comments

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So they suggest that someone in the church collect keys and that residents must somehow find that magical keyholder (I'm assuming that would mean interrupting the actual churh service, which wouldn't go over too well) and wait indefinitely while they match the right key to the right car, move it, etc? What exactly do they plan to do when churches don't follow this idiotic plan? That 'solution' is just not workable.

And I'm wondering if I get to do the same thing. Parking is very difficult around my house. Can I just arrange for someone to keep the key to my car and then I'm free to double park? After all, the person could I suppose go door to door looking for the magic keyholder.

Posted by: Hillman | October 11, 2006 9:11 AM

Someone with more money than I needs to just pony up and sue the city. Allowing only churches to double park would seem to be pretty blatant legal double standard. And, of course, it's only Christian Sunday churches. I'm betting this doesn't apply to those with services on Saturday (like Jews and Seventh Day Adventists), or on Muslim holy days, etc.

The bottom line is that these churches were originally built to serve neighborhood residents. Hence no massive parking lots surrounding them when they were built. And even back twenty years ago when you could afforded to buy the land for such lots churches chose not to. Now the congregations have moved to the burbs. Yet somehow they expect the actual taxpaying residents that are in the city to allow their cars to be double-parked in? I guarantee you that if any of us travelled to their neighborhood and double parked them in they'd have us towed within seconds.

Here's a thought. Maybe this is God telling these folks to sell their astonishingly expensive trophy church property. They could build a modern facility in the burbs for probably 1/4 the cost, and they could give the other 3/4 to the poor. You know, like Christ commanded. Unless, of course, maintaining an overly expensive church building in a certain location is a matter of selfish pride on their part.

Yes, I know people have fond memories of their church building. But the church is the people, not the building. And I shudder to think how many AIDS orphans in Africa could be helped with the sale of just one of these huge DC churches.

Posted by: Hillman | October 11, 2006 9:23 AM

Poor Tony, all of this nastiness is going to ruin some of his taxpayer funded vacation time. And why shouldn't I be able to drive into the City once a week from the suburbs and park wherever I want in the name of prayer? Those homeowners can just hush. Praise the lord, what's come over you all?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2006 9:34 AM

I go to Georgetown once a week to eat dinner with my wife, why shouldnt this apply to me? Parking in Georgetown is extraordinarily difficult. Why cant I just leave my car on a sidestreet, double parked, and come back when I want?

The double standard afforded the Christian base here sickens me. If Mayor Williams had any stones, he would stand up to them in his last weeks in office. I have a hard time believing no lawyers in these neighborhoods havent sued the city.

Posted by: jt malton | October 11, 2006 9:37 AM

As a taxpaying DC resident who is not directly affected by the issue of double parking, I find the double standard of catering to non-taxpaying citizens (most of the congregants are suburbanites and the churches are exempt on the prperty taxes), I find the whole situation deplorable.

I hate to think of what the taxpayers will have to shell out when an emergency service vehicle cannot pass through a street, resulting in the death of someone in need of help nearby.

Posted by: No dog in the fight | October 11, 2006 9:38 AM

Residents whose cars are blocked in by suburbanite church goers should stand outside these churches and remind these worshipers to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2006 9:52 AM

Should you expect any different in a city where some ministers of said churches criticize gays and lesbians with impunity and clergy have their own license plates?

It's past time for DC to resolve this fairly and firmly. I resent the fact that double parking is all right here if you have influence.

Posted by: dirrtysw | October 11, 2006 9:52 AM

I just don't understand - how could you knowingly park where you're blocking someone in? That thought would never cross my mind for a second. What if that residence had some type of emergency when the person blocking them in was in church and had to leave but couldn't. Blocking someone in like that is one of the most breathtakingly selfish things I can think of. If there is nowhere to park, then in the short term don't go to church that day or go to a different one. In the long term if it's a chronic problem for you then find a different church to belong to that can accomodate you. I thankfully don't have this problem but I can assure you if anyone ever blocks my driveway so they can go to church I'll start a new hobby of coming up with creative things to do that will make people reconsider whether it was worth it when they get back to their car.

Posted by: Rosslyn | October 11, 2006 9:54 AM

Here's the answer. If the city won't act, time for a little self-help. Let's triple park and block in these scofflaws and see how they like it when they can't high-tail it back to Maryland as quickly as they'd like after services.

We'll make sure "someone" has the keys.

While they're cooling their heels, they can stop off for a drink at BeBar.

Posted by: Meridian | October 11, 2006 10:04 AM

Why not force the churches to build underground parking garages? The garages would probably pay for themselves after just a few months of gouging the gentrifiers the other six and a half days of the week.

More importantly, I'd really like to see this issue brought up in the Maryland Senate race. I mean, most of the churchgoers are voting constituents, right? You'd think Cardin and Steele would care about their own people more.

Posted by: athea | October 11, 2006 10:23 AM

I love living in the burbs. This is another reason (like I needed another) why I will NEVER live in the District.

Sure, I'll come here and work but when the day ends, I'm out of here.

Posted by: Rockville | October 11, 2006 10:24 AM

I am a native Washingtonian, African American, and I resent suburbanites of whatever race, creed and/or religion that think it is okay to come into the city for religious services and double park, blocking residents in! This has been a problem years ago when I lived at 13th & R Sts. NW, near Metropolitan Baptist, I believe is the name of the offending church over there. Now this is a problem for me, living in NE DC near Capitol Hill. These congregations need to wake-up to the reality that they are not following Christian principles as I understand them. For starters, how about treating folks as you would like to be treated your self?!

This coming Sunday, I encourage any DC resident who gets blocked in by church goers to get creative and give these a**holes(yes, I am upset) reasons not to do it again, i.e., leave dog poop on or directly adjacent to the offending car(s), or even have the car towed, if you can afford it

Posted by: kmm88 | October 11, 2006 10:32 AM

A lifelong resident of the Peoples Republics of Alexandria and Arlington, I am always amused by the parking drama in D.C. Years ago I belonged to a predominantly Gay and Lesbian church that was required to build a certain number of parking spaces when erecting a new sanctuary. Making that deamnd of a predominantly heterosexual African-American church was and remains anathema. As for the whiners who bought into neighborhoods and got boxed in on Sundays, that'll teach you to buy somewhere without looking at the neighborhood at all hours on all days of the week!

....hehehe.... I like the dog poop idea! Very good on hot summer months when someone leaves their windows down, or just put it in the air intake!

Posted by: bigolpoofter | October 11, 2006 10:59 AM

I hate to advocate vandalizing their cars, but it's always worked for me.

Posted by: HST | October 11, 2006 10:59 AM

A question for people who live in areas where this double-parking is happening: From what it sounds like, the city is not enforcing parking rules on its own. But what happens if you call the police when you see your car is double parked. Will they then come ticket and tow? Or do they still refuse to do so? Obviously one shouldn't have to take such a step, the city should be doing it autmoatically. But still, I'm curious to know.

Posted by: arlington | October 11, 2006 11:19 AM

bigolpoofter wrote "As for the whiners who bought into neighborhoods and got boxed in on Sundays, that'll teach you to buy somewhere without looking at the neighborhood at all hours on all days of the week!"

I'm sorry. I can't agree with that statement. No matter where I look to live, I should expect the laws to be inforced. If there was a law saying "No double parking expect on Sunday" then I agree with you. But the law says "No double parking" and that law should be inforced. Period.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2006 11:28 AM

Couldn't these churches simply run shuttle buses from a suburban shopping center parking lot? Plenty of them are underused on Sunday mornings anyway, and it would also save a lot of gas vice everyone driving in their separate cars.

Posted by: Al | October 11, 2006 11:35 AM

didnt linda cropp say she brought these people together during her campaign- well clearly she forgot to talk to the task force

this is the silliest report i have ever seen- it says nothing- it is time to enforce parking regulations and maybe now that the campaign is over we can get the politicians to stop pandering to those churhes. If they threaten to move out to the suburbs where their parishioners are from maybe we can get some taxpaying businesses to buy their property and the city as a whole will benefit.

Posted by: concerned citizen | October 11, 2006 11:41 AM

Al: There is a church here on the Hill that does exactly that - they park somewhere else then use their own bus to get in. This, after having met with neighbors to figure out what to do. It was a terrific solution.

And this isn't a black/white issue entirely. A lot of longtime black residents have resented this double-parking behavior for years, but nobody ever paid any attention.

And let's not forget that these churches pay no tax. They pay no property tax, and very few of their parishioners pay DC tax. So they get police, fire, and infrastructure like road repaving for free. All the while those who they double=park in are paying taxes.

There really is no 'other side' to this debate. Parking rules are in place for a reason. Period. Every reasonable accomodation is already being made by the city and by residents, including allowing churchgoers (and everybody else) to park closer to intersections and such during weekends, trying to find alternative parking lots, etc.

Posted by: Hillman | October 11, 2006 11:46 AM

Interesting that nobody so far has weighed in in favor of illegal parking. Seems to me there is one very likely reason why: these people know that double parking is inconsiderate, dangerous, anti-social and illegal, yet they just don't give a crap. Makes you wonder what kind of (im)moral direction these congregations get from the sermons they're attending in the first place.

Posted by: jo in dc | October 11, 2006 11:53 AM

Suppose it's getting hard for me to find parking for my Friday night poker games. Should I get to just double park? No? I'd be more than willing to fill out some paperwork on the internets and get my poker group declared a spiritual gathering. Then could I do it?

This is actually a semi-serious question. If we start breaking safety and common courtesy rules for one group, where do we know where to draw the line? I'd argue that I get way more spirituality and comraderie out of my poker nights (especially if I win) then I would out of going to church.

So how about it? Once I declare myself Most August Reverend Bishop of Games of Chance, Reformed East Coast Chapter, can we then double park on my block on Friday nights?

Posted by: Hillman | October 11, 2006 11:59 AM

For anyone interested the New York Times has been running a multi-part series on all the special treatment churches are now getting. Some I knew about already, but some really surprised me.

In DC the big thing is going to become the prohibitions on liquor sales and other types of businesses within a set distance from a church. People seeking decent restaurants and such are going to become less and less thrilled by a suburban church congregation getting to decide that not only can they double park, they can also make sure you don't get any decent restaurants on the block.

The NYT series is showing another trend - churches opening businesses, like daycares, retirement villages, etc., then demanding that their businesses be tax exempt and be exempt from local zoning and inspection laws. But similar businesses not run by churches have to pay their taxes and have to abide by the current laws.

We need to enter the modern era and quit letting these groups dictate city policy to the detriment of local residents.

Posted by: Hillman | October 11, 2006 12:08 PM

I lived on cap hill for years and had three churches within easy walking distance of my house. As a result, I could never plan on using my car on Sunday unless it was well before 8 a.m. or well after 3 p.m.

I'm gone now but I think it is curious that this story appeared in the same week that the papers are examining the tax exempt status of religious organizations, including their community centers, retirement homes and the like. What ever happened to the government being neutral toward religion?

Posted by: ex cap girl | October 11, 2006 12:08 PM

The reason there seems to be no opposing view is because this is a conversation of what Fisher calls "newcomers" talking to themselves.

Posted by: WC | October 11, 2006 12:49 PM

The reason there seems to be no opposing view is because this is a conversation of what Fisher calls "newcomers" talking to themselves.

Posted by: WC | October 11, 2006 12:51 PM

I considered parking illegally on Yom Kippur. I figured that if I got a ticket, I'd just sue the city for religious discrimination. I'd be happy to if it would get the city to stop people from parking willy nilly all over my neighborhood on Sundays. But then I realized it would be inconsiderate and dangerous to block people in and keep emergency vehicles from getting through. How come the Sunday parkers aren't worried about other people?

Posted by: A DC resident | October 11, 2006 12:53 PM

It is time for civil disobedience again. The city has refused to enforce this law and many others.

Churches that have implored their congregants NOT to park illegally can earn some sort of seal of approval from the good citizen corps.

Posted by: Petworth | October 11, 2006 1:21 PM

None of the neighbors thought to start a towing business? Cause I can guaran-darn-tee you if my car got blocked in every week, those people would be walking home from church every week until they figured out blocking my driveway was a bad idea.

Posted by: Just wondering... | October 11, 2006 1:26 PM

As a Logan resident who lives one block from one of the largest congregations in the city, I can attest that it is not just double-parking that is the issue, but dangerous parking. Alleys are made impassable by parked cars, causing some motorists to have to back nearly an entire city block to avoid jams or oncoming traffic. Vision around corners is impossible - a very scary thing with so many families and children crossing the streets to get to services. Additionally, fire hydrants and crosswalks are blocked by parked cars. To add to the frustration, at least one church illegally "reserves" parking spaces starting on Saturday afternoon . I can also attest that this is not just a Sunday problem. Churchgoers park inconsiderately and illegally during weekday evening events.

I hear that congregants held vigil in Logan Circle when DC first decided to enforce the parking laws. They said it was an infringment on their freedom to assemble. Are DC's rush hour and residential parking restirctions interfering with the rights of the hundreds of thousands of people who commute to work downtown every day?

Posted by: Logan Resident | October 11, 2006 1:28 PM

To answer Arlington's question, nothing happens when you call the police. I once called in frustration after spending a half hour weaving around dangerously parked cars before being able to park in my own neighborhood, a neighborhood where I pay an annual fee to DMV obtain a residential parking permit. The person who answered was less than thrilled to take my call, and no cars were ticketed or towed that evening - not the ones blocking the alley entrance, the ones in front of hydrants, or the ones jutting into intersections.

Posted by: Logan Resident | October 11, 2006 1:38 PM

We were told last night at a PSA meeting that when officers enforce the law on a politically-sensitive infraction, they risk disciplinary action. So many of them won't do it. We were discussing a different issue, but I'm sure it applies here, too.

Posted by: GJ | October 11, 2006 1:57 PM

It's my understanding that in DC you must have a vehicle ticketed either by MPD or parking enforcement before it can be legally towed (even, astonishingly, if it's on your own private property). Parking enforcement has been point blank told not to ticket on Sunday (and they have only a small crew out anyway), and DC police have long understood that they are not to ticket churchgoers pretty much regardless of what they do.

So citizens simply calling tow trucks isn't an option. If it were, you'd see a much different attitude on the part of the illegal parkers.

Posted by: Hillman | October 11, 2006 2:06 PM

Eggs work better than poop; when they dry, they stick like shellac. Just don't START with the windshield....

And what if residents "parked" so that the end of their street was blocked, either before services start or after all the morons have double- and triple-parked? If all the residents know the cell phone number of the person who is the "parking monitor", they can call that person and ask them to move the car momentarily, to get in or out of the street.

Posted by: The Cosmic Avenger | October 11, 2006 2:42 PM

Sorry, if you're seeing this, the good news is I've fixed my problem with being unable to post using Firefox....

Posted by: Test | October 11, 2006 2:58 PM

Many years ago, perhaps 10 years ago, I was attending an event near Shiloh and found that cars and buses were TRIPLE parked, blocking 3 lanes of traffic. I called it in and was told point blank that churchgoers do not have to obey parking regulations because they're "going to church." I believe I sent an email in protest, but remember no response. It may be worth reminding people that similar rules existed in Bethesda for Synagogues during the High Holidays- around 1984 a friend of mine had his driveway blocked in and the cops did nothing and suggested we double park until they came back. True story.

Posted by: Bethesdan | October 11, 2006 3:26 PM

this is such a no-brainer. In my neighborhood, churchgoers regularly park under No Parking Anytime signs and cause massive backups when church lets out. I've often been tempted to put flyers on their windshields reading, "The sign says No Parking Anytime -- Are you blind, illiterate, or just plain inconsiderate?"

Posted by: ralph | October 11, 2006 3:27 PM

In other situations I've seen people use the large NO PARKING ANYTIME stickers. They are large but not large enough to obscure vision, and when stuck on a vehicle's winshield it takes about a half hour of constant scraping to get them off.

Posted by: Hillman | October 11, 2006 3:35 PM

If we all go triple park the cars and ensure that the churchgoers have some quality time to enjoy the City after their prayers (an idea that I just adore for its do undo others aspect), we must dress. Perhaps they avoid the tickets because they are wearing their Sunday best clothes. I support civil disobedience with a dress code. I don't like the idea of permanently vandalizing cars. However, a washable "sinner" message on the windshields wouldn't be inappropriate.

Posted by: Sunday best | October 11, 2006 3:56 PM

The churches should be forced to pay for underground parking structures out at the new
ballpark and bus all their churchgoers back to the churches.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2006 4:05 PM

Now is the best time to end this obvious injustice, since neither Tony nor his designated successor, Linda, has any remaining political need to stay on the good side of these churches.

Leaving it for Adrian would simply carry forward the problem and be unnecessarily divisive.

Do the right thing, Mr. Williams.

Posted by: Mark | October 11, 2006 4:09 PM

suburbanites coming and double parking in our neighborhoods to attend church is absolutely ridiculous. The obvious solution is not just enforrcement of laws against double parking but a strengthening of the zone parking system itself. That is, on street parking in residential neigborhoods should be exclusively for those with appropriate zone permits 24/7. Holders of zone permits should also be provided with a number of day and or week visitor permits for THEIR guests.

Unfortunately my bet is that if Tony or M-T-B Fenty really tried to crack down on the sunday parkers, congress would step in and stop it becuase Steny or some other Suburban Rep would throw a fit due to constituent complaints.

The irony being that african american suburbanites would then be exacerbating colonial rule in a city that is still 70% african american.

In terms of civil disobedience I wouldn't advocate commiting property crimes but may an organized "park in" blocking in the churgoers from say sunday at 9 am until midnight would be a place to start.

Posted by: ben | October 11, 2006 4:55 PM

A bit off topic, but when is the Mayor's office going to deal with valet companies that are allowed to park cars on public streets and charge residents $10 to do it! I would love to have a business model that allows me to use public resources for my own gain. If you run a valet service, you should have to have a private lot or garage.

Posted by: MLMF | October 11, 2006 5:18 PM

Ben:

There was a Mayors Task Force on Parking back in 2003 that suggested something similar to what you suggest. It said that at a bare minimum in certain areas where parking is taken by commuters and tourists that we designate one side of the street for zoned residential parking 24/7, and the other side would remain as is, but with automatic enforcement (parkers would use the mid-block machines to get their 2 hour parking stub, making it much easier for parking enforcement to actually ticket them).

It's always struck me as odd how lenient our parking laws are, considering the fact that the ones that suffer are the actual taxpaying residents. Try parking in NYC or Philadelphia if you don't live there. They don't take this sort of thing lightly.

If the city really wants to reach it's goal of 100,000 new residents, they need to tackle the parking problem. We need to start acting like a real city. Making at least one side of the street resident parking only 24/7 would be immensely popular and would go at least partway toward solving one of our biggest quality of life problems.

Posted by: Hillman | October 11, 2006 5:19 PM

The problem was with the composition of the Parking Task Force and the fact that Williams didn't want to stir the pot for Cropp. The Task Force was comprised of several city employees hoping not to make any waves, a couple of ministers interested in protecting their turf, and a couple of so called community types who have learned to smile, nod and do nothing. Is anyone surprised the result was this mess? At least the Task Force members will add their membership to this farce to their resume.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2006 8:20 PM

"Let's triple park and block in these scofflaws"

I like. I like a lot! My plan is: the residents would need to roll out of bed early enough to drive their vehicles somewhere else before the churchgoers come in to park. Let them park in the legal parking spaces and then the residents come home, they could double/triple park and block the churchgoers in. Ok, here's the tricky part. Flaten one tire of each of the residents cars (someone needs to rent an air comperssor and store it out of sight). When the churchgoers comes out of church, tell them you can't move your vehicle because all the double/triple parked cars each has a flat tire. Tell them "see what happens when you illegally park?" Let them stew all damn day!! Late in the afternoon, you can then pump the flat tires back up and finally let the churchgoers go home. Fun for all!

Posted by: Revenge is sweet | October 11, 2006 8:29 PM

This is a shame on both parts and represents our country and where we are today as a Society.

Instead of coming up with ways of breaking a DC tradition (blocking churchgoers in, slashing tires, placing dog poo on the cars),which is wrong and illegal on bother sides. How about the two parties coming together to put pressure on our city leaders to come up with a solution to the problem.

Diplomacy has gone out the window.

It's tradition vs. progression, and there is a solution but we must be human about dealing with it.

Thank you.

Posted by: Frankey | October 12, 2006 10:41 AM

It's not up to the city to come up with a "solution". Separation of Church and State. Remember? What the city and police needs to do is issue tickets and tow double and triple parked cars. Period. The city should not show partiality to these particular churchgoers. If partiality is allowed, can members of all churches located in city limits be allowed to park illegally when they please? And why limit it to Sunday mornings? Some churches have services on Saturdays while others worship throughout the week. Illegal parking is illegal. Period. It is up the the church to come up with a solution. Not the city.

Posted by: Truth | October 12, 2006 11:22 AM

it shouldn't be the city's responsibility to solve the churchs' problems.

It's the churchs' responsibility to not abet their members' flouting of the law.

Posted by: rockvillebeth | October 12, 2006 11:27 AM

To Truth & Rockvillebeth:(Beth you don't count anyway, you're from MD)

You continue to pretend. How many other maybe more important things go on regarding the separation of Church and State, oh please spare me. Your morality is unjustified....fine, ticket, tow, simply because its breaking the law.

Give me a break, let's talk about our President, stating, he spoke with God about going to war. How about the Christian Rights influence (and you know its there), in the White House, and how they (of all people)allow the President to cut programs for the needy (hello, we're talking about "Godly" people).

I could go on with this weak analogy of yours, but again I say...we have to find the human nature of this problem, tradition vs. progression.

God and State can and has worked together, so don't give me this lame excuse of Church and State, please (you have got to be joking!).

Posted by: Frankey | October 12, 2006 1:30 PM

Just a reminder...

Diplomacy has gone out the window

Posted by: Frankey | October 12, 2006 1:31 PM

Let's talk abortion....Church vs. Women an their freedom..vs.your President

Church has no influence over State or Federal...Please, wake up!!

Posted by: Frankey | October 12, 2006 1:34 PM

Let's talk abortion....Church vs. Women and their freedom..vs.your President

Church has no influence over State or Federal...Please, wake up!!

Posted by: Frankey | October 12, 2006 1:34 PM

I don't live in an area where this is a problem, but I drive through them quite often. There are several other problems with double-parking that are not addressed: 1) It prevents the flow of traffic-streets that are 3 lane in one direction become 1 lane causing backup as traffic merges; 2) Its a safety issue-drivers who double park often seem unlikely to use cross walks, and drivers trying to get through these already congested streets must be constantly aware of pedestrians darting out from behind parked cars; and 3) It prevents me from patronizing other businesses in that area that do not have a parking lot. I'm think particularly of Chinatown, where I want to go to lunch after attending my own church services (at a church that does have a parking lot in another part of the city). Often times, we're driving around looking for parking, but then give up in disgust when we can't find a spot and go patronize another location.

Posted by: Laura G in DC | October 12, 2006 2:42 PM

To Laura G,

Huh? You've got a lot going on, however if you live in the city what does parking have to do with anything.

Drive to a metro station and park, and plan your trip, it's as simple as that.

Accomadating "you" is not relevant, accomadating the people who are blocked in and the people who are trying to have praise..is important.

Posted by: Frankey | October 12, 2006 3:02 PM

One similar theme for both parties involved is convenience. The churches do not want to inconvenience their members who come in from outside of the city. If a member of a congregation has to take metro, the bus, or walk a couple of blocks to service, the churches are afraid that their membership will dwindle as the congregation looks to find a more convenient location. This dwindle in membership means a dwindling tithe plate. Residents on the otherhand, would appreciate the ability to get out to run errands or even the ability to go and worship outside of the city.

Mayor Williams inaction to enforce city law is disappointing - especially in an area where the churches and residents came together and implemented solutions with the understanding that the law would be enforced for both the safety and convenience of both residents and churchgoers.

Posted by: JCH | October 12, 2006 3:12 PM

I agree with the recent comment, however it can be done...there is no way, these intelligent, educated individuals both blocked in and church goer, our political leaders can't come up with a solution.

Just off the top of my head, since the church doesn't pay taxes, and to put the cost on DC residents is unfair, due to most of the church goers are from outside the city, how about the churches create a fund amoungst themselves that buses in its congregation. (Similar to what Dan Snyder does w/the Redskin fans)

To add bonus to the idea, the DC government will give some kind of nice
tax write off for those churches that participate in the new idea.

And, everybody's happy!

Posted by: Frankey | October 12, 2006 3:44 PM

I'm still amazed at the civility local residents have shown. I know plenty of neighborhoods where the double parkers' cars would have been vandalized long ago.

Posted by: Chris | October 12, 2006 3:47 PM

To Chris:

Let's get past the vandalizing assumptions and civility of residents which sounds like an Us vs. Them kinda thing.

Let's use our brains and hearts and submit idea's. Seriously, does anybody have "serious" suggestions.

Posted by: Frankey | October 12, 2006 4:08 PM

OK, here's an idea: how about the city enforces its laws without regard to religion and tows/tickets illegally parked cars? Why should Christian churches be afforded special treatment under the law that is not extended to other religions or non-religious institutions?

...and Frankey, your straw man arguments are downright laughable. Just what in the hell does abortion rights have to do with DC city government's refusal to enforce basic parking laws?

The fact of the matter is that double-parking is ILLEGAL whether you're Christian, Muslin, Buddhist or atheist. Just because DC government has a "tradition" of ignoring public safety by allowing illegal activity doesn't mean they should continue to do so. We're all equal under the law (even us evil gentrifiers!), and it's far past time that the city of DC started enforcing laws equally, regardless of race and religion.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 12, 2006 4:44 PM

To the last post, apparently you're insulting me means you didn't read the board, so i'll ignore your stupidity and insult.

Read the board and figure out why i said what i said.

Lastly, again this isn't about Us vs Them, it's about working together, which goes back to my original comment....

Us Americans just don't get it...and we have been so brain washed to forget about diplomacy and respect to our fellow man/woman.

As for your insult, look in the mirror...now thats laughable.

Blow!

Posted by: Frankey | October 12, 2006 4:55 PM

Wow...I called you out for presenting a straw man, and you perceived that as a personal attack. You then responded with a junior-high-level insult about looking in the mirror, and told me to "blow"...

Is that what passes for the "diplomacy" you keep harping on?

I read the board, and found your responses to other posters to be fraught with logical inconsistency and unrelated nonsense. Not much different from your inconsistet, extremely undiplomatic post to me about how important it is to be diplomatic (oh, the irony)!

The bottom line is that traffic laws need to be enforced equally for everyone. There need not be any "negotiation" on that subject, and nobody deserves special treatment under the law.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 12, 2006 5:10 PM

Oh please, wow!

Give me a break, you mention special treatment, there is no special treatment, there is a tradition.

You just want to get out the police sticks, and attack dogs...so it speaks for itself.

Talk about diplomacy, as i said, it's out the window.

As for you, good night, and again...look in the mirror Mr. or Ms. Perfect.

And i do mean that, Blow!!!

That's all you kind of peole are good for...

Posted by: Frankey | October 12, 2006 5:26 PM

Just for mention, my version of Blow is....Blow with the wind.

Not sure what your version would be...weirdo.

Posted by: Frankey | October 12, 2006 5:29 PM

...and Frankey, your straw man arguments are downright laughable. (there lies your insult)...

fact of the matter is that double-parking is ILLEGAL whether you're Christian, Muslin, Buddhist or atheist. Just because DC government has a "tradition" of ignoring public safety by allowing illegal activity doesn't mean they should continue to do so. We're all equal under the law...(OH NO WHERE NOT EQUAL...WAY FROM IT)...NOT SURE WHAT NEIGHBORHOOD YOU COME FROM BUT IT AIN'T DC

Posted by: Anonymous | October 12, 2006 5:32 PM

"Police sticks and attack dogs"!? Whoever said anything about that? FYI, that's another example of a straw man argument, which are often the refuge of total morons.

I don't know you from Adam, but based on your logical fallacies, your inability to spell, and your tendency toward ad hominem attacks, I'm clearly wasting my time.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 12, 2006 6:54 PM

Please, Frankey can't even think logically or consistently. Do you actually think he would know the meaning of "fallacies" and "ad hominem"? I doubt that this man graduated from high school let alone taken a college class. He probably talks to imaginary dogs and strikes up arguements with trees. Sadly, he must not be taking his medicine.

Posted by: Freud | October 12, 2006 8:23 PM

"I hate to advocate vandalizing their cars, but it's always worked for me."

I would give the world to catch someone vandalizing mine...just once, PLEASE!

Posted by: CEEAF | October 12, 2006 8:55 PM

If the both of you like to meet for a beer, let's...and see how good i can spell then...Freud???? (Must be a poker)

Posted by: Frankey | October 13, 2006 11:44 AM

So if these churchgoers get off scot-free for violating the law because of their religion, wouldn't I have a legal case for religious bias for ANY parking violation I got in the district as a non-religious person? I mean, they got out of obeying the law because they are religious. That's unfair to me when I get ticketed because I am doing something other than attending church and have (usually accidentally) violated the law. For example, I stayed 2 minutes over at a meter while paying my tab at breakfast, even while gesturing wildly to the cop that I was on my way to my car. No matter - got a ticket anyway. If I'd been in church, he would have let it slide. I should sue.

Posted by: logan | October 13, 2006 5:12 PM

Actually, Frankey, a number of citizens groups have tried to work with the churches. But the churches often start out by saying that they have an unlimited right to park anywhere they want, anytime, and that if you dare to question that you are anti-Christian.

Once you start from a position like that, there's really not a lot of room for compromise.

Several times citizen groups and city officials have worked out 'compromises' in specific instances, and every time the churchgoers have refused to live up to the agreements.

Why? Many of them really do appear to feel that they are special and are above the law.

Posted by: Hillman | October 17, 2006 3:09 PM

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