DC parking ticket, towing revenue on the decline

by Sean Riley


WTOP

Parking ticket and towing revenue collected through the Department of Public Works is on the decline in D.C., continuing a trend of fewer tickets going back about a decade.

While the District collected about $75 million in parking tickets and towing fees in the 2016 and 2017 budget years, that dropped to $69.4 million in the 2018 budget year ending Sept. 30.

In the first four months of the current budget year, from Oct. 1, 2018 to Jan. 30, 2019, the city has collected $21 million in parking tickets and fees, which would set a pace for another decline this fiscal year.

Parking tickets make up by far the largest part of that revenue, according to responses to oversight questions from the D.C. Council.

So far this budget year, DPW has issued 389,009 parking-related tickets. In each of the full 2017 and 2018 budget years, the department issued more than 1.3 million tickets.

The DPW web portal on paying parking tickets had 79,379 page views from Oct. 1, 2017 through Sept. 30, 2018 — second only to the page with the residential trash and recycling collection schedule.

DPW’s 244 parking enforcement officers and 6 booters enforce parking rules, while police are separately responsible for enforcing moving violations, such as speeding or running red lights. The moving violations are not included in this data.

The most common tickets are for failure to pay for parking or expired parking meters, followed by violations of residential parking rules or other parking signs.

Other common tickets include failure to have current license plates, warnings to out-of-state vehicles parked in the city overnight and violations of “No Standing Anytime” signs.

In past years, violation of parking rules for street cleaning have also been common tickets, but those tickets are more applicable over the spring and summer, when the rules are in effect across the city.

Some of the least-common tickets issued this year include one for a forged visitor parking pass, one for blocking a bus stop during rush hour, two for excessive idling and one for blocking one of D.C.’s few bus lanes.

DPW issued eight bus lane citations in the 2018 budget year and 21 in the 2017 budget year.

There have been 201 tickets written in the last few months for parking on the sidewalk, 181 for parking in a median, 155 for parking in a car share space, 61 for leaving a motor running unattended, 24 for failing to parallel park, and 15 for parking in electric vehicle spaces.

DPW issued 211 tickets for blocking the DC Streetcar and 11 for blocking a streetcar platform.

Still, in its responses to the D.C. Council’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment, DPW said it is addressing complaints about under-enforcement of parking in certain neighborhoods.

The department has officers assigned to geographic areas, but also responds to complaints about violations that are submitted by the public.

Some of those include regular complaints about cars and trucks stopped in bike lanes. The number of tickets for blocking bike lanes has been declining significantly though.

In the 2017 budget year, 3,218 citations were written for blocking bike lanes. That dropped to 1,723 in the 2018 budget year.

The number of cars booted in the District has declined significantly since 2017 when 9,292 cars had the punishment slapped on. In the last full budget year, 4,301 cars were booted. In the first few months of this budget year, 196 cars were booted.

See all the numbers.