SNOW reached the District of Columbia on Friday. Over the weekend, record snowfalls have led to parking spots being in extremely short supply. Among the parking spots filled with snow are parking spots strewn with folding chairs, construction cones, or whatever residents can place to preserve their parking spots. And one law official is reminds city residents of the District’s policy regarding parking
According to D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Cathy Lanier, placing items in parking spots to claim as your own is not permitted.
“No one owns a parking space. As tempting as it might be, once you pull out, that spot can be taken by someone else. We ask people to try and be as considerate of their neighbors as possible. There’s always a few disputes among people who are trying to save their spaces,” the chief announced at a press conference.
One resident on Keefer Street, NW (just off Georgia Ave) had placed a lawn chair in a spot to keep for himself. Another resident came along and moved the chair and parked. An hour later the resident returned and as he was entering his vehicle the squatter asked him why he parked in his spot.
“I told the guy that as best I understood D.C. law,” he said, “the spot I was parked in belonged to the city, and not to any particular resident. But then the guy said the spot belonged to him because he had spent a couple of hours shoveling the snow out of the area.”
The resident said he and the squatter went back and forth on who the spot belonged to, and the resident finally said if the gentleman could present some form of documentation that addresses this fact he would gladly apologize for taking his spot. The squatter could not produce any paperwork and finally said, “You’re about to leave anyway so go ahead and just leave it at that.”
Lanier also added squatters’ rights do not apply to parking space along any D.C. street. And if residents don’t know by now, it’s illegal to park along Snow Emergency routes while a Snow Emergency is in effect. A snow emergency has been effect in D.C. proper since Saturday afternoon. In response to this, the District’s Department of Public Works had written more than 2,800 tickets to drivers whose vehicles have been parked on Snow Emergency routes, and more than 400 vehicles also had to be towed.
The good news is Metro has reopened, but using a limited schedule. The Red Line is running between Medical Center and Glenmont, the Orange between Ballston and New Carrollton, and the Green from Fort Totten to Branch Avenue. Every Metro station in DC is now open except for the Benning Road on the Blue Line. Trains on the three operational lines are running every 20 to 25 minutes, while the Blue, Silver, and Yellow lines remain closed.