Sunday, April 23, 2006

Logan Circle Church Parking Rally Today

In case you were wondering what was going on in Logan Circle Park today, it appears that local clergymembers have organized an interdenominational rally to protest the District's new parking enforcement program, scheduled to begin in Logan Circle today. The Common Denominator's article on today's event can be viewed here.

By way of background, the District began seeking comments on its new parking proposal on March 15, and the proposed parking plan was originally scheduled to be implemented in Logan Circle on April 23, but, as reported by the Washington Times, now appears to be delayed until May 21 in Logan Circle and until July 1 city-wide. As the DCist reports, the delay is being blamed on weather-related delays that have prevented painting of the new spaces on the street.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

For those that missed it, it was a very interesting rally. I had no idea that enforcing laws on parking equated prohibiting religous freedom. Living right next to the Circle I wanted to exercise my right to a quiet Sunday afternoon and after hearing 30 minutes of amplified fire and brimstone I decided to take a drive over to Virginia but unfortunately my driveway was blocked and I couldn't get out. I guess those that won't walk a bit to get to church also don't want to park legally and walk a bit to a rally.

Anonymous said...

Very disgraceful displace of politics at its worse. The saying, "We shall Overcome" looks foolish when the issue is about double parking and not true civil rights issues.

Candidate Brown seemed to take this chance to cover almost every part of our community with his campaign signs. Great guy!

Anonymous said...

displace=display. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

As a Christian and local church goer (I take public transit or walk), I've always beleived that I should obey the law, especially when obeying the law preserves the rights of other law abiding citizens to access their cars or whatever. . . It's the right thing to do, the lawful thing to do, and more importantly, the Christian thing to do.

Aren't we to love our brothers and sisters as we love ourselves? How can we do that when we deny our neighbors their rights to park and tell the city we are above the law?

Dan said...

I fail to see their argument. Area churchgoers speaking at the rally said that to require them to obery laws would be to impinge upon their first amendment rights. Any help in understanding their angle?

Anonymous said...

I went to the rally today and found the entire event a bit off-putting. I don't mind freedom of expression but to do it in a way that is so invasive to others is just obnoxious and rude.
They placed these huge speekers on the Circle in a way that blasted their voices two or three blocks away from the circle.

Plus, I found the police presence interesting. Is the MPD going to have more cars and whatnot in our community now?

Anonymous said...

Interesting...another comment that was made indicated that the "white churchs" were not being equally represented...could that be due to the fact that THEY realize that all laws - God's AND man - are to be obyed and NOT broken?...go figure...here I try to live MY life as a law abiding citizen and then get slammed because I refuse to join THEIR agenda...don't put that on me "brother"

Mitch said...

The rally upsets me. The Logan Circle residents and churches have come together and now all the compromises are for not. The churches seemed to have made out like bandits. They got the extra parking and can still double park without fear of ticketing.

I feel the rally was more to show Logan residents that these churches hold the real power in this city. In fact, this is what one of the speakers said today. Unbelievable.

Sgt. Emerman said...

As for the police presence, whenever there is a large demonstration in the city, we generally send a unit or 2 or 3 to monitor it. Most often these units are from our Special Operations Division, but sometimes they are provided by the patrol Districts themselves. You see MPD units at IMF/World Bank protests, last weeks immigration rally, among others. We are there to make sure that traffic flows, and that those protesting are not wandering in the streets creating a great hazzard. By the time that I got down there, it was over, but it is my understanding that the officers assigned were monitoring just that. As for more police cars in the neighborhood, there is no plan in effect right now for any increase in the numbers of officers for the PSA, and we are hoping that most, if not all, of the traffic enforcement on Sunday will be covered by DPW, who will finally be deploying parking enforcement officers on Sundays.

Steve said...

Today as I was working in the garden in my front yard just steps from the rally I listened to speaker after speaker (men and women who proclaim themselves to be "of God") who made me feel unwelcome and unwanted in my own neighborhood. I've been here for years. When do I stop being a "newcomer and gentrifier"? The whole affair made me angry - especially since many of the speakers don't have any claim to Logan Circle at all - they don't work, live or even worship here.

Anonymous said...

Sgt. Emerman,

Thanks for the information. So who is issueing the warnings? The MPD or DPW? Also when are they going out? Wasn't it suppose to start today? I am confused.

Anonymous said...

Sgt. - I was there when the police cruisers and motorcycles arrived with lights a flashin' and sirens a wailin'. It was a nice show but a tad after the fact since much prior to their arrival the church vans were stopping and letting their imported protestors off right in the traffic lanes of the circle. I watched as they blocked traffic, put their passengers in physical danger by discharging them in the flow of traffic and then proceeded to ignore the traffic signals that govern traffic movement around the circle. I imagine getting the timing down right is tricky but by arriving late it was hard to read what MPD's presence was all about.

Anonymous said...

Reading the comments and I had a thought about the buses and such. If the churches say shuttling people to and from the Metro would be so expensive, where do they get the money to put on a production like the one on Sunday? I know its a one time thing, but that was just too much. Plus these church goers still parked illegally to go to a damn rally. Cross walks were blocked, no parking areas were parked in (Dee Hunter), and, of course, double parking occurred.

Great to see they can piss on Logan Residents and ask that we kiss their a-ses.

Anonymous said...

Just watched Fox News 10 o'clock news and saw that the church leaders are saying residents want to "push the churches out."

What a load of crap! What we want is parking laws to be enforced equally. Church goers should be able to come and go just like everyone else. They should have any less parking right or more.

Anonymous said...

Those cop cars were part of Tony William's entourage. Sweet of our lame duck mayor to finally show his face in our hood only to announce to the crowd that he's delaying the enforcement of the parking rules till further study can been done. Yeah Tony, delaying till when hell freezes over, right? Thanks for visiting but don't let the door hit you on the way out. District gov't is a joke and what's worse is that we put up with it.

Anonymous said...

This is a freaking shame that the clergy has made double parking is now a matter of infringing upon their right to "freedom of worship". Excuse me but could somebody please tell them NOBODY CARES what they do inside their church! This is about their members not respecting the rights of the community. In fact I would say they are infriging upon the residents of Logan Circle freedom of religion-just suppose one of the residents wanted to attend a church, synagogue, temple, mosque, hall or whatever someplace else? They can't because this holier than thou church is just too damn inconsiderate. I say the hell with ticketing and start calling every car tow facility in the DC, MD, VA area. I say call everyone you know and have them park their cars there during their service. Park your car so far from the curb they can't block you in. Line the streets with yellow & orange cones and make your own NO PARKING ZONE-since it appears D.C. gov't doesn't want to do it.

Mitch said...

I think by the churches and city taking this course that Logan residents will look to taking a legal course or protest by blocking these people in on Sunday. What are the cops going to do only ticket residents and not out-of-state people?

Yeah, that will look really good on the 6'o'clock news. City officials in DC are idoits.

Anonymous said...

I say we organize a park-in! Everyone in the neighborhood with a car or a friend with a car meet in the streets around Logan before the offenders show up and double park!

As a resident of Logan, I have tried to stay out of the fray (I park in a garage), but the comments from our "representative politicians" this weekend really enraged me. Now Williams, Brown and Cropp are all taking sides with the churches, who don't vote and don't pay DC taxes. Though I don't park on the street, I have had trouble waking my dog when cars are on the sidewalks and blocking sidewalks. This is getting outrageous. I am all for compromise and amicable solutions, but when people are being blocked in their own driveways, this is unacceptable.

Please, someone, tell us what we as individual citizens can do about this. Obviously, the comments to the DC government had no influence. Oh, and by the way, notice that Williams' representative who made the announcement that illegal parking would still not be enforced is aligned with the churches!

"The moratorium was announced yesterday at a lively Logan Circle rally by the chairman of the mayor's interfaith council, Bishop Michael Kelsey of New Samaritan Baptist Church." Wash. Post.

Anonymous said...

The problem for me is, Sunday is also a day to do errands. I can't go to the grocery store or anyplace else because the car gets blocked in for hours on end. Recently, we were unable to take out of town guests to the airport for their return flight because we were blocked in and ended up calling them a taxi. I don't understand why people can't take the Metro and then walk to church. It is just a few blocks away.

Anonymous said...

By the way, according to the Post article, the NAACP is now involved. Maybe we should enlist the ACLU. They seldom back away from a church v. state fight.

And another thing, has anyone noticed that one can walk just a couple of blocks away from a church and find plenty of parking? I had a guest over two Sundays ago and was concerned we would never find her a spot. Well, within five minutes we found a street with three empty spaces, and only about two blocks from the double parkers. This is just foolish.

Anonymous said...

iI posted this observation over on DCist, but would be interested in seeing the take here. The committee that was put together that came up ultimately with the solution was a sanctioned committee by the ANC. Does the city's actions decrease the legitimacy of the ANC? I admit, I wanted the residents to go direct to the council and mayor's office but was corrected on the appropiate steps in the DC governmental process. Now that the churches did not get what they want, they run directly to the council and mayor's office with the mayor bending to their pressure. What does this say for future issues that residents try to resolve within the context of the ANC?
JCH

Mitch said...

Last Anonymous post,

That is a great idea and I am going to write the ACLU about this issue. Actually just talked to them over at 1400 20th Street NW and they said this is an issue that they would be interested.

Anonymous said...

My humble suggestion: All of you who have cars and live and park in the Logan area -- especially those of you who tend to get blocked in during services -- organize yourselves and pick a date to get up early and move your cars. Go do errands or something. Then, at the peak of church time, come back home and block in the cars of churchgoers who will undoubtedly have taken the space that you vacated. If they demand that you move, tell them the laws aren't very strictly enforced around here, so too bad.

I don't have a car, otherwise I'd happily join in.

Mitch said...

The only way to get the city to do what i right is through legal action and some kind of citizen protest. Thi issue isn't going away.

Anonymous said...

Throughout mankind's history people have risked life and liberty to worship the way they choose. If walking a few blocks would deter someone from attending services than I have to question their commitment to their church and their understanding of the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made in their name. If I were Pastor of one of these churches I would be ashamed.

Sgt. Emerman said...

The issue of warning notices is not being handled by the MPD. It is my understanding that it is a combination of DDOT and DPW, but I can look into it. As for the issues this weekend, it was my understanding that as a result of the new pavement markings, there were no "DOUBLE PARKING" issues on Vermont Ave. I think that as soon as they stripe 11th street this week, the issue there will disappear as well. The continued problem will be vehicles parked in No Parking Zones, and those in crosswalks, fire hydrants, etc. This is the issue that I believe will be addressed by the parking enforcement.

Anonymous said...

Jack Evans is a joke. He needs to be voted out of office. His office basically said they don't have to invovle themselves in this issue. Taking a stand for the residents is what what the people elect officials to do. Its something that DC politicans don't do. Evans lost my vote on this issue and I hope others see him for the weak pathetic politican that he is.

Mitch said...

Sgt. Emerman,

Thanks again for the information, but I have to disagree with some of your points. First there was still double parking issues in Logan Circle on Sunday. If the MPD or whoever is in charge of ticketing/ warnings would have come between 10:00 and 1:00 they would have seen the same double parking that goes on every Sunday. Instead, the MPD showed up for the rally at 2:00 (actually most came 15 mins late).

Next, I don't think the parking issue will disappear when the 11th street part of the angle parking plan is finished. Basically it comes down to church goers being lazy. They don't want to walk anymore than half a block to get to church. The reason I know this you might ask? I, along with another resident and an ANC commissioner, walked around the Logan Circle community on one Sunday to conduct a survey of the parking situation. We found that if church goers would just walk 3 to 5 mins. they would find parking.

Finally, there will be no parking enforcement because the Mayor placed a hold on that (I called the Third District and they confired this). A taskforce is being established (I guess the Logan Circle parking commission means nothing) so we will still have double parking in the community.

Sgt. Emerman said...

The issue that I am referring to as being solved by the traffic changes is the issue of DOUBLE PARKING. I did not get down to the area until well after the rally had ended, but it was my understanding from folks on the street that i spoke with that there was no double parking on Vermont Ave. I can't figure out how people would have double parked without shutting down the entire street as a result of the new parking configurations. did this happen? do you know if anyone called. I would like to check out our response to any of those calls. let me know, thanks.

mitch said...

Sgt. Emerman,

Double parking occurred during church services on street without angled parking. On Vermont Ave., south of Logan Circle for instance.

Plus, the MPD was not in Logan Circle until 2:15 and only was patrolling the Circle (well, one car sat there a few more road around the circle and one horse patrol stood on the cirlce). Oh, the mayor came riding by ... that was fun. Anyhow, the outlinging streets were not patrolled because if they had been the police would have seen the illegal parking.

I can personal tell you that people parked in cross walks and in no parking spots during the rally on Vermont Ave., south of Logan Circle. I did call 311 and started telling the lady about the illegal parked cars but she hung up. After that I wanted to get to the rally to hear the people so I left my house.

Sgt. Emerman said...

Thanks for the update. The issue south of the circle has not been addressed with any parking changes, so I understand your concern. It is obvious that there is still a long way to go. As for the rally in the circle, it is my understanding that the officer assigned to the rally was from our special operations division. I did send an evening officer down there, and there was only one daywork officer from 3D who was told to monitor the rally occasionally. as for the officers patrolling area streets, they were. The issue is that we are still not ticketing for double parking, and are only ticketing for the safety violations, ie: hydrants, crosswalks and intersections. as for your call to 311, if the dispcatcher hung up on you, i suggest that you file a complaint with the communications division supervisor, and i would be happy to provide you with their phone number.

Mitch said...

Sgt. Emerman,

Again, you show your value to this community. Don't know what we would do without you. Thanks! Too bad your higher ups (city pols) don't act like you and actually respect us. Anyhow, I have called 311 many times and have had no problems with them so I will just let this one go. Its not a big deal but thank you.

I would like to express my concern that illegal ticketing (non-double parked cars) isn't going on as much in the Logan area as needed. Its funny I actually saw a police car parked in a non parking area last night. The reason I mention this is because its a hazard for people walking. I am talking about the area on the corner of Vermont when you turn towards 13ths street right near Logan Circle. People park there all the time and I have had a few close calls with cars not seeing me cross that walk way because a car is blocking their view. Just a FYI.

Sgt. Emerman said...

Our officers are advised to park their cars legally, and the only exception that our policy allows is if they are responding to an emergency assignment and looking for a legal spot would delay their response. In this case, the officer is directed to relocate their car to a legal spot as soon as the situation is under control, and they are able to leave the scene to do so. The main problem with parking enforcement, or its apparent lack thereof, is that it is not a priority for the police department. Our officers and resources are pulled in so many directions that we are forced to skimp a little on some areas. That is why the Parking Enforcement Branch of DPW was created. This way, the parking issues would be addressed, but not at the expense of removing police from the street. One of the outcomes of the Logan Circle parking committee was that DPW would deploy ticket writers city wide, on Sundays, which they currently do not. I hope that they step up and handle the enforcement aspect, as the MPD does not have the concentrated resources that DPW has for that specific task.

Anonymous said...

Sgt. Emerman,

I would like to get your comments on this (you can find it on the DCist website):

...more than 50 legal Sunday-only spaces recently provided along the median of Rhode Island Avenue ... a mere two blocks away from these churches ... remain completely vacant and unused (i.e., not one car is parked there) [at 11:00 a.m., after church services had begun)]...The situation is exacerbated by the fact that Dee Hunter, a neighboring ANC commissioner, parked his car (DC license plate 338) on a striped, no parking zone (right below a large no-parking sign) at the corner of 12th Street and Vermont Avenue and then placed an "Official Government Business" sign in his window before going to church services!

Sgt. Emerman said...

There is supposed to be information disseminated within the churches advising the parishioners that there is parking available on Rhode Island Ave. I do not know if this has happened. One of the recommendations made regarding the added parking spaces, was to make a small map of the area to give out at services, showing where the new spots are, and giving a reality to how close they actually are. the issue with this is that the issue is city wide, so ddot nor dpw would make these maps, and it would be left to the churches or the local (anc) government. As for the illegal parking of an ANC vehicle, Title 40, Chapter 7 Section 703 of the DC Code allows for members of Congress to use any available curb space to park their vehicles, except for fire hyrdants, fire house, loading stations or loading platforms. MPD written policy (General Orders) extends this courtesy to elected city officials. I hope that clears this up for you.

Ellen said...

Personlly, I'd rather have MPD focusing on actual crime (i.e. felonys, and serious misdemeanors) in our neighborhood and leave the parking enforcement to the enforcement branch of DPW. Sgt. Emerman and our 307 officers have better things to do with their time.

Smart Idea Guy said...

Sounds good Ellen. Lets not have anyone enforce parking laws on the weekends and let everyone park anywhere they want. I actually would like that idea because then it gives the Logan residents the same rights as non-residents.

Anonymous said...

According to the new signs, we can no longer park in front of our home at 11th & Vermont - ever. They have taken the parking away for good and posted no parking signs. Of course, I'm sure this will be waived on Sundays for people who don't live in the area. Meanwhile, we now can no longer legally park outside of the home in which we live. Bravo.

Chris said...

Sgt. Emerson,

I definitely agree that officers should focus on felonies, etc., but correct me if I'm wrong, aren't Sunday mornings the most quiet times all week? Since most criminals seem to be passed out from Saturday night's activities, wouldn't that give the police a little more time on Sunday mornings to ticket illegally parked motorists?

Sgt. Emerman said...

Not necessarily. Unfortunately, criminals work all hours of the day, every day of the week, regardless of the weather. They don't ever seem to "be passed out from Saturday night's activities." They break into your cars during the wee hours of the night, burglarize homes under construction on the weekends when the crew is gone for days, and steal cars parked in front of your home while you are out of town for the weekend. We tend to see all types of crimes throughout the weekend, as well as some of the more b.s. calls, like the people who got too drunk the night before and now can't find their car, which is probably just parked around the corner and not stolen like they think. We also get alot of calls for lost property from people who wake up to find that they dropped their wallet in a bar somewhere the night before. Although statistically Sundays may be SLIGHTLY lower in crime, the other thing to realize is that Sunday is generally the least staffed with officers.

LCPP said...

Well, the MPD would not have to worry about taking time to issue so many tickets after the church goers get a week or two of tickets. Hitting the walet of these drivers is always the best way to prevent illegal behavior.

Sgt. Emerman said...

I don't disagree with you there. Enforcement is an effective deterrent. However, I am just a small fish in this big pond.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the earlier poster who said that MPD should deal with crime. DPW Parking Enforcement should be writing tickets. Our District resources are spread thinnly enough without requiring MPD to take on another agency's job!!!!

Sgt. Emerman said...

And I say thank you to you too.

LCPP said...

Wasn't DPW or some city department going to start issuing tickets on Sunday?

Ahhh, I guess it doesn't matter since they can't issue tickets for illegal parking by churchgoers.

Sgt. Emerman said...

The plan for enforcement included DPW assigning a squad of enforcement officers to work the entire city on Sundays. It is still my understanding that when everything kicks into motion, that will still occur.

Mike said...

to take a drive over to Virginia but unfortunately my driveway was blocked and I couldn't get out. I guess those

Anonymous said...

This may seem minor to some folks, especially who live in the immediate area, but with the back-in parking having been restriped on 11th St. recently it has created a much more hazardous situation for the cyclsits who tend to use that street to reach upper Columbia Heights/Petworth area due to its less traffic and lesser grade of hill north of Florida Ave. This went against DDOT's re-striping plan, and will be a disconnect between bike lanes further north and south once they are striped.

All this disruption to the neighborhood for people who don't and haven't lived there. Changing the city infrustracture to accomadate a small group of public land users for one day, while the rest of us get screwed the rest of the week as a result just doesn't seem fair.