Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen is introducing legislation that will give school communities the opportunity to prioritize outdoor playground or field spaces for children over on-site parking.
Current regulations require schools to set aside a minimum amount of space for staff parking – leaving many students with limited play space on school grounds, and without really meeting the needs of teachers who drive to work. Councilmember Allen’s legislation, the Daytime School Parking Zone Amendment Act of 2017, would give the Mayor the ability to create “School Parking Zones,” allowing DCPS and public charter school staff to apply for a permit to park legally during the day in the surrounding neighborhood. And for schools with a School Parking Zone, the bill creates a higher standard than current zoning regulations—no required on-site parking.
“Across the city, a lot of schools are going through once-in-a-generation modernizations. Too often these school communities are forced to sacrifice already-limited space for parking in their new designs. We should be building playgrounds or athletic fields for the students instead of parking lots,” said Councilmember Allen. “The last thing we should want is to build a beautiful new school and then force our kids to walk a few blocks away to have recess outside just so we can be sure we meet the parking regulations.”
The process would require the Mayor to seek input from local Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and hold a public hearing, since each neighborhood might have different amounts of daytime parking available.
Councilmember Allen continued, “Why are we spending so much taxpayer money on parking, at the expense of outdoor play space for our students? I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting this bill as a cost-effective solution.”
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