Hang on to your placards –the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has announced that the 2020 annual Visitor Parking Passes (VPP) will remain valid through the end of 2021.
**UPDATE, Jan. 15: DDOT announced that the VPP will remain valid through April 24, 2022.
The move is intended to allow more time for residents living on blocks that require Residential Permit Parking (RPP) permits to sign up for –and start managing– visitor parking permits through the new ParkDC Permits website, which went live District-side July 1.
ParkDC is a new, centralized digital system for DC residents and their visitors to manage visitor, temporary, home health aide and contractor parking permits via a single online portal. Residents must first register themselves on the system, entering their address and identification, usually a driver’s license. They can then issue permits to visitors, or approve permits requested by vistors online.
The new permits must be printed and displayed on vehicle dashboards, either by the resident or the visitor.
The website is intended to streamline services, making it more user-friendly and convenient to manage from home. But many residents say it is anything but.
“I’m not a technical wiz,” Hill Resident Norman Metzger told the Hill Rag. “But I’m on the computer a lot. I use a lot of different apps –and this just baffles me.”
First, the program did not recognize his address. Metzger alerted DDOT, and the correction was made. Then, the system didn’t recognize his block as a location eligible for VPP.
“I’ve tried to actually use the system, such as it’s called, and I gave up,” Metzger said. “It’s too complex, too many steps. It’s not well thought out.”
Eventually, Metzger just borrowed a 2020 VPP placard from a neighbor. DDOT’s decision makes that option available a little longer –the placards were set to expire Sept. 30.
In an August 18 letter to DDOT, Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen (D) said the fact that technology is required to access a parking pass –and to print it– was problematic. “First, and most importantly, not everyone has a printer at home, which raises real equity concerns,” Allen wrote. “Second, the ParkDC system, for those who, per my first point, can’t easily print a permit, makes it difficult for residents who need to provide a visitor pass for friends and family visiting on short notice.”
Allen asked the agency to extend the validity of the 2020 VPP placards to the end of the calendar year, and to offer an alternative for residents who are unable to navigate the system.
Before ParkDC, each DC resident was entitled to one annual VPP placard that could be placed on the dashboard of visiting vehicles, allowing them to park on blocks zoned for residential parking only. Residents could also get a short-term VPP for visitors or contractors, which were good for 15 days, by visiting a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) station.
Learn more about ParkDC or get information online at the ParkDC Permits website, the ParkDC Permits mobile app, by going to a DDOT kiosk, or by calling the 24-hour, 7-day call center at 202-671-2631. Application for permits can be made by telephone.