AU commuters beware: street parking near campus is now significantly more complicated.
Despite student protests, the Residential Parking Protection Act (RPPA) was passed on Aug. 2. The law, geared specifically at AU, requires students to register their cars in D.C. to park in certain residential zones. Reciprocity permits are a thing of the past; AU students now have to claim a D.C. permanent address and endure the chaos of the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles if they wish to park on the street.
The Eagle’s main concern is the quiet manner in which D.C. council enacted the law. RPPA passed en-masse with other pieces of legislation, almost as if it was snuck in to avoid controversy. Minimal attention was given to the publicity of RPPA in the AU community. Also, Aug. 2 coincides with summer break, when most AU students are outside of the district. Students won’t know to change their plates until they get slammed with expensive parking tickets just as they’re returning to school.
On top of the silence, the law itself is confusing. Although signs will be posted on the streets the RPPA law applies to, students are entering this school year blind because no maps or outside communication have been made so far to warn students.
Residents of the AU area want to discourage AU students from parking on the streets. The Eagle acknowledges that local street parking is a problem. AU student cars take up space. But since students have every right to park on those streets, how is it right to instate a solution without considering their previously voiced opinions?
The logistics for students to get to the DMV and to change over to D.C. residency seems annoying enough without all of the complications. But, with this, many students go home during the summer months and need to legally park in their state. Also, students use their home as their permanent address so bills or other important documents can be sent there. This law could take that necessity away.
A positive side to the law is making parking on its face more affordable to students. The reciprocity permits cost $338 per year and parking as a D.C. resident is much cheaper. However, the process is where the problem lies. Many steps have to be taken to switch one’s license plate. Although campus parking is available, spots run out and the cost is higher than the previously allowed permits.
This law is not a solution. Something needs to be done, but the resolution should consider the demographic this law impacts most: the students.