WASHINGTON - Anyone who tries to park in Washington D.C. knows that parking signs are so confusing that you can miss out on important details and end up with tickets or even get towed.
Back in May, we reported on several locations around the city where people were getting ticketed and towed because of confusing signs. The city said it would look at the locations we profiled and fix them in a “reasonable time.”
But now, we have heard from more viewers about one particular block that has non-stop towing -- all because people can’t read the signs.
Dan Danner's desk overlooks 12th Street in Northwest D.C. Last May, he explained to us how he has watched car after car get towed. He said he just wants the city to fix the confusing parking signs that cause it.
So what has happened since our story exposed this problem seven months ago?
“Unfortunately, nothing has changed,” said Danner. “People are still getting towed regularly. The signs haven't changed a bit.”
Danner blames the D.C. government.
“They know that this is set up to catch people,” he said. “They know that and they have chosen to avoid it for whatever reason, so it’s just awful.”
Here is why everyone is getting ticketed and towed. When you drive up 12th Street, which is a one-way street, and find an open spot, you will find these parking signs on the street.
That is what Brian Walsh saw at 10 a.m. earlier this month.
“You look at the signs up there, you park, you pay your money and when you continue walking up the street, you would have no way of knowing unless you walk 50 yards back that there’s a little sign here saying you can't park there,” said Walsh.
Walsh is talking about one sign that says, “TOW AWAY | NO STANDING OR PARKING | MONDAY-FRIDAY | 7 AM-2:30 PM.”
It ended up costing Walsh. It was a $20 cab ride to reach the towing place in Northeast D.C. He paid $120 to the towing company. He also owes the city $50 for the parking ticket. And he paid almost $4 for the parking on the Parkmobile app.
“All told, it’s about $200 you’re in for when it’s all said and done,” he said. “It’s a complete scam.”
We observed this block on Tuesday and saw three vehicles get ticketed and towed in just one hour.
But an informal neighborhood watch of business people in this area has popped up to warn drivers. When we got to the street, Tony Byers warned us not to park here.
“I see the tow truck at least tow people ten or 15 times a day,” he said. “As soon as they get out of their car, it’s like he’s waiting around the corner for him, and everybody who works around here are always warning people because it’s just not right.”
The agency that handles the parking signs for the city is the District Department of Transportation (DDOT). We received an email back from them and they said that they are continuing to address the issues of conflicting signs in the District. They also are asking for you to report those kinds of parking signs by calling 311.
But there is also exciting news. In fact, it could be a "Christmas miracle or a Miracle on 12th Street." DDOT said their crews will remove the conflicting signs on 12th Street and put up new ones by the end of this week.
But rest assured, we will go down to make sure it's been done this time.
Email from the District Department of Transportation:
“Thanks for the follow-up. DDOT continues to work to address issues of conflicting signs in the District, and asks people to report conflicting parking signs by using our 311 Customer Service System. DDOT crews will remove the conflicting signs you referenced and install new ones by the end of this week. Thanks for your patience.”