New rules in D.C. force removal of ‘no parking’ signs, even if they’re ‘legal’

When Calley Williams fell five feet to the ground on a sidewalk on her way to work, she thought she was going to die. What she had done was take down a “no parking” sign on a sidewalk that she had managed to walk for weeks, and leave a flat tire.

A woman walking out of an emergency room fell six feet in the same way on Thursday as Williams. When she came to, police said, the sidewalk that she had walked on had been gone. The normally busy sidewalk of Irving Street at a corner in Northwest Washington was a parking lot.

Washington’s Trash Patroller already has begun taking down more of the large signs that have disappeared, because new sidewalk rules that apply to all sidewalks now require an explanation of what the sign was supposed to mean — complete with a countdown to the proper time of day, or street time, for residents and employees to roll their vehicles back up to curb spaces.

Before, the signs could be seen for a long time, and often, without anybody doing anything.

But Williams and other residents and employees complained. And the signs are gone. Until Wednesday, a block away.

“I thought, how can that be?” said Williams, who has been plagued by the problem for months. “It seems like they’re going to be getting rid of all those signs. I guess they’re going to have to stop this, just because it’s dangerous.”

Longer signs can be legal.

Related Articles Wanderman Home & Garden: a favorite part of Point Pleasant is smaller and better “Parking signs in National Park and public infrastructure, such as the sidewalk on National Mall, remain just that, signs,” according to George Washington University law professor Steven M. Goldstein, who serves as the chief of staff at the National Park Service.

“The final decision regarding whether to remove them is made with extreme care to ensure public safety,” he said.

“But in National Park, all signs, including signs reading no parking, should clearly and frequently be visible, and should not block pedestrians from free passage over the sidewalk where possible.”

Williams is a maintenance worker in the Navy, who works in Quantico. She heard an announcement on the city’s radio system that alerted nearby employees about the signs that were coming down.

She told The Washington Post that the new rules are clearly confusing.

“They give some type of warning like 20 minutes. But on a busy street it’s not that clear. People are confused, and everyone should be,” she said.

“They should at least say, ‘Don’t touch the sign because there’s a 20-minute countdown.’ ”

Williams said a warning was much more appropriate.

“What do they expect us to do? Hang around and wait? I shouldn’t have to wait 20 minutes to leave my house.”

This article was written by Alison Whittaker from The Washington Post and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected]

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