WASHINGTON — Are you driving to the Nationals game on July 4th? You won’t need to feed the meters outside the ballpark after the D.C. Department of Transportation decided to suspend the normal game-day rules.
On Memorial Day, DDOT required drivers to pay for parking outside Nationals Park at the multi-space meters. Under D.C. law, game-day events supersede federal holiday parking rules, so dozens of drivers were ticketed or towed for parking illegally.
However, due to all the confusion the policy caused among drivers, DDOT says it will suspend the game-day event rules on July 4th. Several drivers complained to WTOP Ticketbuster.
“Some of the things that we’ve heard, and of course we’ve heard this from your reports as well, is that the signs were not clear enough or not positioned well,” says DDOT spokesman Reggie Sanders.
“So we want to take a real hard good look at that, and usually the summer months we have a chance to do that.”
The multi-space meters were another source of confusion. The instructions next to the credit-card slot tell drivers the rates for stadium events on the left side, but also read on the right side, “No Fees on Sunday or Holidays.”
“We’re going to look at all these issues, top to bottom. We’ll look at the signs and the meters and we’ll continue to put all of this information out via social media and ask people what they think,” says Sanders.
The emergency no-parking signs that have been put up on M and N Streets, however, are still in force. (WTOP/Ari Ashe)
DDOT will still enforce new emergency no-parking rules that have been put up on M Street and N Street between Nationals Park and the Navy Yard. These signs read, “Tow Away, Emergency No Parking on Game Day Events: 11am-7pm, July 4, 5, 6, 20 and 5pm-11pm on July 7, 8, 18, 19, 31.”
“The main thing you need to know is if you park in an emergency no-parking zone, you will be ticketed; you will be towed. So don’t take a chance on that. Read those signs as carefully as you can and adhere to them,” says Sanders.
DDOT will also enforce residential parking restrictions, particularly west of South Capitol Street near the ballpark.
“If there is any question in your mind if you should park there, you probably shouldn’t park there,” says Sanders.
A final decision has not been made about whether meters will be turned off on future federal holidays or Sundays.