Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Will the Broken Glass Theory work for Parking too?

Every urban planner knows about the broken glass theory. The basic concept is that if there is a broken window in a neighborhood and it is left broken, then eventually there will be more broken windows. More broken windows leas to the spiral down the slippery slope of blight. Therefore the reverse is also true. If there is a broken window and you fix it, crime will in general go down. The theory rest on the fact that criminals will avoid the neighborhoods that continually fix the windows because the community cares and they will attract to neighborhoods with broken windows because no one cares. Now... I'm hoping this will work with parking.

Fairfax Village is made up of several smaller villages. Each smaller village has it's own parking lot. The annoying thing about the lots is the alley from main road, in between the parking spaces, and the garages is all public space. The wonderful laws of the District require that a ticket be issued before the vehicle can be towed.

As a Village IV resident we have complained extensively about the parking situation in our lot. Any given night you'll find cars parking in the fire lane, in front of the dumpster, and blocking the garages. As a garage owner, I have been blocked in on more than one occasion. Me being the neighborly person that I am, had them ticketed and towed. Even if I can slightly get my car out, I still at least have them ticketed. It's just plain rude.

I will give MPD their props. Any time that I have called, they respond in about 10-15 minutes. However, when they arrive they will only ticket the car blocking my garage, while all the other violators get off scot free. Rather than fight this battle alone, it's time Village Four to fight back (sorry can't speak for the other villages on this issue). One of my neighbors and I have drafted a new parking policy to be implemented in two phases. The goal of the policy is to bring order to the parking lot and maybe it's wishful thinking, but I also hope this will help with reducing crime. Granted, crime isn't that bad, but we do have incidents of armed robbery.

We are presenting to the board this Saturday. Wish us luck.


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