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D.C. requests more parking enforcement officers

Thursday - 5/23/2013, 5:59am  ET

WASHINGTON - Prospects appear strong that the nation's capital will hire more ticket writers in the fall.

"I've requested 10 new control officers -- those are the people who help out at intersections -- but I've also requested 30 new parking enforcement officers," says Mary Cheh, D.C. Council member and chair of the Committee on Transportation and the Environment.

Phil Mendelson, D.C. Council chairman, supports the request.

Last year, the city wrote 1.8 million tickets that generated $92.5 million in revenue. As of May 21, 535,570 parking tickets had been issued this year.

Cheh, who represents the city's Ward 3, says all of the tickets were written by a parking enforcement team that is short-staffed. The team has been reduced by 30 employees since 2010.

Most parking violations in the District occur in residential neighborhoods, where restrictions are meant to ensure adequate spaces for those who live in the area.

"(The Department of Public Works) tells me they have 3,000 calls a month from residents complaining about people parking in areas they're not supposed to park and that generally they don't have enough staff to cover all of the areas," Cheh says.

In the downtown business district, one goal is to keep traffic moving.

"Thirty percent of the congestion in the downtown area is attributed to people circling around, looking for a parking space," Cheh says.

Commuters complain that they get stuck with the lion's share of city parking tickets. An analysis by AAA Mid-Atlantic shows that 71.3 percent of last year's parking tickets were issued to Maryland and Virginia drivers.

But Cheh offers little sympathy.

"When people come into the District, they have to abide by the laws just like the rest of us, and so they can avoid paying us anything if they abide by the laws," Cheh says. "They could go to a parking garage, for heaven's sake."

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