Saturday, July 10, 2010

Again, With the Big Trucks

Twice again, I find myself walking in Georgia Avenue in front of the Aamco auto shop because people park their vehicles completely over the sidewalk. The new Firehouse restaurant should want people to feel welcome walking to their establishment, don’t you think? Instead, they will politely park your car for you, or you can shimmy between the UBTs (Unnecessarily Big Trucks) to get there without driving. I wouldn’t expect Firefighters to have to walk to a fire, but I think the owners of this restaurant should expect people to walk to the Firehouse. Why not do what you can to make that possible, convenient, and safe for everyone?

I think the owners of these properties have an bligation to keep the ROW in front clear for pedestrians. Is there a law against parking on the sidewalk, and how do I get it enforced???

Pedestrian SOL


  1. § 21-1003(c) - A person may not stop, stand, or park a vehicle on a sidewalk.

    § 21-1003(e) - A person may not stop, stand, or park a vehicle on a crosswalk.

    § 21-1003(dd) - A person may not stop, stand, or park a vehicle in front of a curb ramp designed for the use of individuals with disabilities.

    I'd suggest contacting the Montgomery County Police Department, District 3 of Silver Spring, at 301.565.7740. They're quite understaffed, but in my working with them I've often felt them to be as responsive as they can be given their shortage of manpower.

  2. I have tried contacting the Montgomery County Police at least twice before. I have never been satisfied with the response to sidewalk issues. The last time I contacted them, the officer was was little rude about it. I need another way.

  3. Do the Police not have eyes? Do they not drive by this location hundreds of times each day? Must I complain for the law to be enforced? Must there be some sort of conflict that involves me personally for this to be resolved? Should I go out there right now with my cell phone and call the police?

  4. Given the manpower shortage, I'd imagine that they won't do anything until a formal complaint is made. Most laws are only enforced when they're actually bothering people--like noise or light laws. I'd imagine that you'll make the complaint, they'll issue the drivers warning tickets (because it's gone on so long without complaint, the drivers would otherwise have a good argument in court if they were issued tickets now) and then if it happens again and you complain again, the drivers would receive tickets. Requiring complaints to be made before laws like that are enforced are how you manage limited time. If they can't see how anyone is being bothered, then they will focus on the areas where people are being bothered.

  5. You don't seem to understand that I have made these calls before, and I am telling you that the call doesn't work. I have made these calls when times were good, too - and the amount of officers on the force doesn't make a difference. The only difference to be made is in the approach to this situation, and other like it.

    Here I am, saying it again. I know people from government read this blog, so how about doing something about this situation? The situation is clear - and clearly wrong, I am not calling the police again because I don't think it will do any good, and I am not looking forward to a cross encounter with another officer who thinks I am crazy for complaining about something he feels is trivial and a waste of time.

    I can't imagine anyone else taking the time to do this, and I think it is really not helpful to suggest that I go out there and call. With peristance, I suppose I could eventually get this sitiation resolved, but it won't do anything to resolve the underlying situation - where pedestrians and disabled people are asked to fend for themselves, and no one will notice unless they are killed, injured, or scream lloudly enough.

  6. Hi William,

    I'm a fellow Silver Spring downtown resident and saw the Post article about your advocacy today. Just wanted to drop you a line to say thank you for everything you're doing to make our town more walkable and liveable. It's one of the best downtowns in the DC Metro area, but clearly there is a lot of progress still to be made!

  7. Hi Will,

    Perhaps you could start using a cane with a heavy steel end. As you're navigating your way around these cars, swing a bit (like 100x) harder than you normally would and start busting windows and denting fenders.

  8. Believe me, I have consider a lot of methods for communicating my displeasure with activities like this. Some are intricate and dastardly. I have to remind myself from time-to-time that most people are rude by omission. I am certain that most people who park over the sidewalk are oblivious to the consequences. People need to be made aware - reminded of their obligations. That's what government is for, right?

  9. I have called about sidewalk blocking at this loaction and at Sligo Ave - same reaction as WS encountered - indifference and no ticketing or towing.