While walking the dog recently I saw a note on a car windshield. The note is directed towards "Officer Ward" and implores that the officer stop ticketing her car. The ticket is "Failure To Secure DC Tags" which is a $100 fine, and is issued under the ROSA program.
The victim here has Louisiana tags and said they are attending Catholic University. This car was parked on an unzoned block. There are no parking restrictions. The next morning, there was a ticket on her windshield, shown in the second picture.
ROSA stands for "registration of out of state automobiles." It is one of DC's many anti-visitor polices, and as far as I know, is a form of extortion unique to DC. While many local governments love to extort money from visitors in the form of tolls and speed traps, only in DC do we have a rule that lets the police ticket your cars while they are legally parked.
If a policeman or "meter maid" believes that you are a resident of DC who has not changed their tags, or alternatively is a little short on their quota for the month, they can issue a legally parked car a one hundred dollar ticket, every single day. From DMV's web site:
The Metropolitan Police Department monitors residential areas for the presence of automobiles not in compliance with DC registration requirements. If an automobile has been observed a second time within a thirty-day period, a warning notice may be issued...
After that, it's ticket time.
So basically, this law means that if you do not have DC tags, and you legally park in DC more than once in a one-month period, you can be ticketed. Good luck visiting your boyfriend/girlfriend. Good luck being a regular service provider like a cleaning person. Good luck having friends who live somewhere other than DC (like, say, Maryland or Virginia) who want to visit you more than once a month. Good luck having a job in DC somewhere that has ample street parking, but few or no private parking options -- like at the Bancroft School, and a nursing home, in Mt. Pleasant. Where, ironically, ANC Commissioner Jack McKay tried to set up a registration program for daytime workers to actually pay for monthly permits so they could legally park near the school. Then - suddenly and unceremoniously -- the program, which was about to actually be enacted, was killed.
Apparently, DC's stranglehold on parking -- even in residential areas, during daytime hours only, when there is loads of parking available -- is more important than being able to provide a legal option for people who work in the city.
So, only way to avoid getting insanely expensive tickets when you park your out-of-state vehicle in DC is to obtain a reciprocity permit of which there are a mind-boggling array here. These include special permits for "students, military, and elected officials," "health care provider permit (60 days)," "visitor parking permit for guests (15 days)," and yes, even a "rental car parking permit (15 days)."
I guess "boyfriend/girlfriend" would fall under "visitor permit for guests (15 days)." To obtain one of these, you need:
- The name and address of the resident
- The name and address of the visitor using the permit
- The license tag number, and issuing state of the visitor's vehicle
The upshot: If you want to park in DC then you need to prove you don't live here... even if you are parked legally, on an unzoned street, or during hours that parking restrictions do not apply.
Sometimes I am amazed that anyone comes here at all. I love this city. But it's laws like this that make DC seem like Hazzard County, where we're just waiting for Bo and Luke Duke to cross the county line so we can kick out their taillight and then arrest them for driving with a broken taillight.
There is no other place on earth that I am aware of where you can get a parking ticket while parked legally. Maybe that's because most places actually want people to come visit their city and spend their money. Too bad we are so shortsighted that we think extortion makes more economic sense than friendlieness. Someone up there needs to learn that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.