A Residential Permit Parking District, or RPPD, is a program designed to help residents address parking problems in their neighborhoods. Through the process, signs prohibiting parking by non-residents may be installed in designated blocks. Such districts normally are created near high schools, colleges, and transit stations, locations that often are in residentially zoned areas where overflow parking creates a serious problem for residents accessing their homes and driveways. Other areas may qualify if there is a minimum of 100 contiguous parking spaces, 75 percent of those spaces are occupied, and 50 percent of those are non-resident vehicles (not registered to an address in that area).
The process to designate an RPPD is complex, but not complicated. A request, indicating the road for review, is made to the district supervisor by a civic or homeowner’s association. The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) reviews the road for eligibility, issues an area map and petition for affected residents to sign and pay a $10 fee for each home. If the signatures gathered verify at least 60 percent support for the restrictions from the affected area, and more than 50 percent support in each block face (the actual blocks that will have the restricted signs posted), FCDOT will ask the Board of Supervisors to conduct a public hearing on the proposed restrictions. Community members are notified about the hearing and, if the proposal is approved by the Board after the testimony, FCDOT installs “No Parking Except by Permit” signs approximately every 200 feet. Residents are given a couple of weeks to apply for RPPD permits (free) for their vehicles, and they also receive one guest pass (also free). Police enforcement begins approximately two weeks after the signs are installed.
There are many reasons why a neighborhood petitions for an RPPD. In older areas, some houses do not have a driveway, or the driveway is too short to allow more than one car to park. Many Mason District homes were built in the 1950s and early 60s, when families had just one vehicle. Today, Mom and Dad often have one car each, and perhaps a sport vehicle for the weekend, and each child of driving age may have a vehicle, too. Nearby multi-family apartment complexes or condominiums built years ago may not have enough parking in their lots to accommodate today’s demand for parking, and residents seek out spots close to their apartments, which might be in front of someone’s house. Couple that with guests and friends visiting all along the street, and you have parking purgatory. Sometimes an RPPD addresses the community issues; other times it just moves the parking a little farther away, causing those neighbors to request an RPPD because the problem now is theirs. Even in an economic downturn, car dealers have done a wonderful job of selling their product. Unfortunately, none of the auto accessories include a parking space!
Don’t forget the 17th Annual Mason District Holiday Town Gathering, tonight at 7 p.m. at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. See you there!