Office of Operations Freight Management and Operations

Urban Freight Case Studies - Washington, DC


Downtown Curb-Space Management Plan

DDOT partnered with the Downtown DC and Golden Triangle BIDs and DPW to develop the Downtown Curb-space Management Plan. The Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe) provided technical assistance in developing the Plan.

The goal of the Downtown Curb-space Management program is to reduce congestion in greater downtown D.C. through five initiatives:6

  • Reallocation of existing curb-space through regulatory signage,
  • Increase commercial vehicle loading space by lengthening loading zones from 40 feet to 100 feet wherever possible,
  • Introduction of new parking technology,
  • Establishment of metered loading zones, and
  • Enhanced parking enforcement.

Reallocation of Curb Space

Regulation of curb-space is a challenging process due to the ever-changing and growing demand for use of limited space. Often, curb-space is not utilized as efficiently as possible, and this produces congestion in adjacent travel lanes.

The Downtown DC and Golden Triangle BIDs compiled information on all curb-space signage for the 14 most highly congested downtown corridors and streets identified by DDOT and Volpe. Based on this information, block- face maps in a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) format were created. DDOT and BID staff also observed and analyzed conditions created by the regulations and developed new curb-space regulatory plans for each block face in the priority corridors. New signage has been installed on K and I Streets NW, between 12th and 21st Streets.

Longer Loading Zones

Developed by DDOT and BID staff, the new regulatory curb-space plans moved commercial loading zones to the approach end of each block wherever possible. This made parking at the curb easier and reduced double parking. The K Street, NW, loading zones also were extended to 100 feet in length wherever possible.

Multispace Meters

Multispace meters were installed along K Street NW, between 12th and 21st Streets, to better manage curb parking. Several of the benefits of multispace meters include:

  • The meters provide more potential space for vehicles,
  • The meters accept both credit cards and coins as payment,
  • The meters do not accept payment during hours when parking is illegal, and
  • Multispace meters provide more sidewalk space for pedestrians and improve the appearance of the streetscape.

In the future, multispace meters have the potential to offer congestion-based pricing or a rate structure that varies by time of day or length of stay.

Metered Loading Zones

DDOT observed a high incidence of commercial vans using loading zones for free all-day parking. In addition, DDOT noted that extended loading times for some delivery vehicles indicated that they should be using off-street loading areas, and the 15-minute limit for vehicles using a loading zone was generally disregarded. To encourage more efficient use of loading zones and vehicle turnover rates, metering of loading zones along K Street, NW, was introduced shortly after the installation of multispace meters. Commercial vehicles must now pay $1 per hour and are limited to two hours.

Enhanced Parking Enforcement

DPW increased its parking enforcement efforts on K Street, NW, between 12th and 21st Street in addition to other curb-space management strategies.

6 Discussion of the five initiatives is based largely on Ellen Jones, Arun Chatterjee, and Robert L. Marsili, "A Collaborative Plan for Curbside Freight Delivery in Washington, DC, USA," ITE Journal, May 2009.6

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