Parking woes forcing churches to leave D.C.

WASHINGTON — Parking is at a premium on Sundays in D.C. — so much so that some churches are fleeing the District because of parking problems, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Parking is a key indicator of a city’s livability. Since 2010, D.C. has gained 31,000 new residents. But AAA says church parking continues to be a major issue for residents.

According to parking figures AAA released Thursday, D.C. has 400,000 parking spaces — 18,000 of them metered. Yet parishioners at D.C.’s places of worship find themselves having to circle the block to find adequate parking.

There’s also the ticketing, and parishioners and neighbors are at odds as the church parking spills out into the neighborhood. It’s a parking battle that has been happening for years, according to AAA.

Some congregations would rather pick up and leave.

On Sunday, Metropolitan Baptist Church held its first service at its new location in Largo, Maryland. Its growing congregation was one reason why the church chose to move, but it wasn’t the only reason.

Parishioners have been facing problems with neighbors over Sunday morning parking. Now at its new location, parishioners no longer worry about finding a place to park so they can attend church.

But AAA Mid-Atlantic says that even in light of the parking battles, some churches are holding on to their historic roots in the city.

Some churches have struck deals with local parking garages for Sunday parking. While other churches, such as the Foundry Methodist Church in Dupont Circle, warn congregants that there is no convenient parking available and encourage parishioners to hop on Metro.

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