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Frequently Asked Questions for Applicants
System Overview:
Development Review:
Construction/Rental Permits:
Parking/Occupancy Permits:
Emergency Work:
Oversize and Overweight Vehicles:
Public Space Rental/Annual Permits:
Work on Streetcar Corridor:
Answer to all questions above
Q: What is TOPS and what services will it provide?
TOPS is the District Department of Transportation's online permit system that allows you to apply for a Public Space Occupancy, Construction, Excavation or Annual Rental Permit required for use of the public space within the District of Columbia. You can be a home owner, tenant, or business needing to occupy metered or unmetered curbside parking, sidewalk, alley or travel lane areas for your activity or construction related work. Once registered, the system makes it easy for you to log into your account any time to apply for a permit, edit your application, upload plans electronically, or check the status of your application. It even allows you to pay for the permit online and then print your permit and reserved parking or emergency no parking signs at any of the DDOT kiosks.
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Q: Will I need a "User Name" and "Password" to access TOPS?
Yes, if you are a first-time Applicant and reached the TOPS welcome page, just click on "Register" to establish a user name and password. A red asterisk "*" identifies required fields that must be filled in to register and use the system. Remember this user name and password in order to log into your TOPS account in the future to edit your personal profile, change your password, update a saved application, view your permit status or pay for your permit – all from your home or office computer or from any of the DDOT kiosks.
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Q: What if I forget my password?
You will be able to click "Forgot Password" on the login screen and be prompted for the answer to one of your secret questions which you chose during your login registration.
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Q: What if I forget my username?
We suggest that you use your email address as your username. To make it easy to do this during the registration process, TOPS auto-fills the username box with your email address by default. Please contact Public Space Permit Office at 202-442-4670 for further assistance.
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Q: What are the 4 headings I see after logging into my account and which one do I choose to apply for my public space permit?
Depending on the type of permit you want, one heading is labeled Parking/Occupancy Permits and is used when reserved parking spaces for a moving truck, moving container or one-day non-recurring events such as weddings or funerals. This is also the correct heading when applying for the temporary occupancy of public space during construction or excavation related activities. The heading labeled Construction/Rental Permits is used when applying for any construction, paving or excavation work in public space. This is also the correct heading when applying for a public space rental or certain annual permits required by DC Regulations. The Emergency Work heading may only be used by utility companies or plumbers to provide notification to DDOT of pending emergency excavation in public space. The Personal Information heading topics are used to edit your personal profile or edit company registration information.
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Q: How do I determine whether I should apply for an address or a block range?
One reason this may happen is if someone else has applied for a public space permit on your block. A public space technician can determine if the actual spaces you want are available. It's also possible that you are applying for a date that is not far enough in the future to allow a public space review or to allow for the posting of the reserved or no parking signs. District law requires that signs be posted 24 hours in advance at metered spaces and 72 hours in advance at non-metered spaces.
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Q: What if I start my online application, but need to stop and do something else?
You can save your application for later any time during the TOPS online application process by clicking on the "Save and come back later" button. You can log back into your account later for the type of permit you want and select the "View/Edit Application" button to edit resume or and view any of all the public space applications ion your account. Just select the one you want for editing or uploading electronic documents.
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Q: What if I don't have the required plans or other documentation in electronic form to upload to TOPS?
When TOPS prompts you for plans or other required documentation, you will have the option to upload electronic documentation or to deliver paper copies in person to public space permit staff at the Permit Center on the 2nd floor of 1100 4th Street SW. TOPS will still allow you to submit the electronic application without uploading the electronic documentation, but your application will not be reviewed until the additional non-electronic paper documentation is received by public space staff
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Q: How do I determine what plans or documents need to be uploaded with my application?
It is best to apply using the "Address" option if the work or temporary occupancy is associated with a specific street address, such as for the construction of a driveway, or the reservation of parking space for a moving container or moving truck. The “Block Range” option is usually reserved for work or temporary occupancy that is not specific to a single address or affects a series of blocks, such as for utility excavation. The intersection option is also reserved for utility or other work at a specific street intersection.
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Q: What electronic file formats of the documents or plans may be uploaded to TOPS?
TOPS will accept electronic documents and plans in either a PDF or TIFF file format.
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Q: What happens after I submit my electronic public space application?
Many of the applications may be approved automatically, and once the permit fee is paid, the permit and any reserved or no parking signs may be printed out at any of the DDOT kiosks. Those applications that are not approved automatically will be assigned to a public space permit technician for review. Those applications that are submitted, but require additional non-electronic documentation to be submitted to public space permit staff in person will not be reviewed until the additional documentation is submitted.
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Q: If the completed permit application requires additional review, how can I determine when it has been approved?
If your application requires additional review, you just log into your TOPS account from your home or office computer or from any of the DDOT kiosks and select the "View Permit Status" option.
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Q: If I want to pay for my public space permit online, what credit cards are accepted?
Only Visa or MasterCard are accepted online by TOPS. If you want to pay for your public space permit in person at 1100 4th Street SW, checks or money orders should be made payable to the DC Treasurer or you may pay with Discover, Visa or MasterCard.
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Q: What is the 10% Technology Fee that was added to my permit fee?
The "Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Support Act of 2010" authorizes the collection of a 10% technology surcharge to provide funding for city-wide technology enhancements over the coming years. The 10% technology surcharge has been effective since October 1, 2010, and is computed on the base permit fee total. The base permit fee does not include restoration deposits, inspection fees, public inconvenience fees, or parking meter fees.
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Q: Once my permit is paid for, can I print it from my home or office computer?
Yes, it may be printed from your home or office computer. If Reserved Parking or No Parking signs are needed, they may be printed at any of the eight DDOT kiosk locations within the District by logging into their TOPS account and clicking on the View/Edit option to access your issued permit.
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Q: Where are the DDOT kiosks located where I can print my public space permit or signs?
Two DDOT kiosks are located on the second floor of 1100 4th Street SW just outside the Permit Center. There is also a DDOT kiosk at each of the 6 main Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) district stations. The main district station locations are as follows:
Second District: 3320 Idaho Ave., NW, Phone: (202) 715-7300
Third District: 1620 V St., NW, Phone: (202) 673-6815
Fourth District: 6001 Georgia Ave., NW, Phone: (202) 715-7400
Fifth District: 1805 Bladensburg Rd., NE, Phone: (202) 698-0150
Sixth District: 100 42nd St., NE, Phone: (202) 698-0880
Seventh District: 2455 Alabama Ave., SE, Phone: (202) 698-1500
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Q: What if I need additional information?
For additional public space permitting information, please visit our web site at www.ddot.dc.gov and follow the "Public Space Management" and "permit" related links. You may also contact our main office at 202-442-4670.
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Q: Where can i get more information for CD and Bonds?
You can find more information from the following documents.
Deposit Regulation
Bond Requirements
Letter of Credit Requirements
Sample Bond
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Q: What types of public space permits are included in this group?
Construction permits include excavation in public space for plumbing, utility or sheeting and shoring work. Additionally, it includes the construction of fences, retaining walls, driveways, or any other paving in public space as well as the permanent installation of public art, a sign, a flag pole, a bench, or other fixture. Annual permits are required for certain commercial uses of public space that require liability insurance and indemnification for the District Government. Public space rental permits are required for certain long term uses of public space such as for sidewalk cafes, valet parking, the public space portion of parking lots, and subsurface vaults.
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Q: What electronic file formats of the documents or plans may be uploaded to TOPS?
TOPS will accept electronic documents and plans in either a PDF or TIFF format.
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Q: If I am performing construction or excavation on public space, how long will the permit last and will renewals be required?
The construction or excavation permit will generally be issued once with an expiration date of up to one year. Provided the work is started prior to the permit expiration date, no renewal will be required.
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Q: If I apply to do construction or excavation in public space, will I also need a separate public space permit to occupy public space during the construction or excavation work?
Yes, if there is a construction entrance, if the sidewalk, roadway or alley is being used for construction staging or if pedestrian traffic will be impeded or vehicular parking or travel will be impeded, both public space permits will be required. If only doing work in the area of public space commonly referred to as the yard area and no additional occupancy of the alley, sidewalk or a roadway lane is needed, no public space occupancy permit will be required.
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Q: When should I apply for my separate public space permit to occupy public space during the construction or excavation work?
The application for the temporary occupancy permit for the work zone may be submitted at the same time as the application for the construction or excavation work or it may be applied for later when you are actually ready to start the work. Both permits will be required to be posted on-site during the construction or excavation.
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Q: If I apply to do construction or excavation in public space, will I need to pay a public space restoration deposit?
Except for the installation of a residential fence or other small fixture, a public space deposit will be collected prior to the start of the construction or excavation work. After the work is complete, you will need to call the phone number printed on your permit to schedule a final inspection so that a public space inspector can release your deposit.
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Q: If I apply to do construction or excavation in public space, will I need to pay for a public space inspection?
Except for the installation of a residential fence or other small fixtures, a public space inspection fee will usually be charged. If you only receive a copy of the real permit, no work may start until you call the phone number printed on your permit to schedule a pre-inspection. The public space inspector will deliver the real permit and talk over any construction issues with your contractor.
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Q: If I am using Steel Plates to cover an excavation, do I need a separate public space permit for temporary occupancy for the Steel Plates?
Yes. A separate temporary occupancy permit for the steel plates is required for any steel plates deployed on the roadway to cover excavations. The permit will be auto-approved by the TOPS system by entering the tracking number for a pending application or a current valid permit. TOPS will not accept a tracking number for an expired permit, or if the “status” is revoked, rejected, canceled/withdrawn, revised & resubmit, or lapsed
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Q: What types of public space permits are included in this group?
The reserved parking permits and the associated signs are generally for non-recurring events lasting less than one day, with the exception of permits for residential moving trucks which may be issued for up to 2 days and for residential moving containers which may be issued for up to 5 days. Public space permits for the temporary occupancy of public space for a trash container (dumpster™) or construction related staging of materials or equipment are typically issued for up to one month, but may be issued for up to 6 months. A permit for a Farmer’s Market may also be applied for here, as can the temporary occupancy of public space by various pieces of equipment or fixtures associated with a special event.
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Q: When should I post my Reserved Parking or Emergency No Parking signs?
District law requires that signs be posted 24 hours in advance at metered spaces and 72 hours in advance at non-metered spaces.
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Q: Why are there both Reserved Parking and Emergency No Parking signs?
The Reserved Parking signs are used to reserve parking for certain non-recurring events lasting less than one day. These signs are saying that you may park here but others may not. A copy of the permit should be displayed on the passenger side dashboard of the vehicle. In addition to signs issued by DDOT or MPD to prohibit parking at a special event, protest, march, or demonstration, the Emergency No Parking signs are used to prohibit parking for debris containers, moving containers or moving trucks, and to prohibit parking within construction related work zones. Except for a moving truck having the permit posted on the dashboard, any motor vehicle parked within the zone delineated by the Emergency No Parking signs will be ticketed.
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Q: What if I want a permit for a moving truck, moving container or other public space occupancy, but TOPS already has some of the days blocked off as unavailable?
One reason this may happen is if someone else has applied for a public space permit on your block. Public space staff can determine if the actual spaces you want are available. It's also possible that you are applying for a date that is not far enough in the future to allow a public space review or to allow for the posting of the reserved or no parking signs, as required by District law.
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Q: If I need to park my moving truck or place moving containers at parking meters, how do I know which ones to choose?
During the application process TOPS may ask if you will need metered or unmetered parking spaces. If you choose metered spaces, TOPS will provide a list of parking meter numbers for meters on your block. The odd numbered parking meters will be on one side of the street and the even numbers will be on the other. Please select the ones that most closely match the street address number that you want to be in near.
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Q: Why did TOPS let me choose a traffic control typical for a moving container or moving truck, but then indicated that my application would require additional review?
It may mean that you are asking to park a truck or place a container on or near a busy street and public space staff will need to determine if the traffic control typical you chose is appropriate for your site conditions and if any time or placement restrictions will apply. Please allow at least 2 weeks for your review if a traffic control typical is required.
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Q: When will a public space occupancy permit and a Traffic Control Plan (TCP) be required for construction on private property?
If there is a construction entrance, if the sidewalk, roadway or alley is being used for construction staging or if pedestrian traffic will be impeded or vehicular parking or travel will be impeded, a public space occupancy permit and a TCP for the work zone will be required.
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Q: What will be my Traffic Control Plan (TCP) requirements, if I am applying for a construction or excavation related workzone?
The TCP requirements vary with the size and complexity of the work zone. For very simple residential applications, a public space work zone technician may be able to assist, but in most cases you will need to have a qualified person on your staff prepare the TCP for DDOT approval or else hire a certified 3rd party traffic control technician to prepare your TCP. The TCP should generally conform with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), but guidelines specific to D.C. may be found in the Temporary Traffic Control Manual on the DDOT web site at: http://ddot.dc.gov/DC/DDOT/
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Q: Is this where I apply for a permit for a block party, parade or other special event?
Yes. The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) manages the public space permitting process for neighborhood block parties. Apply online on TOPS, the DDOT online Permitting System, at ddot.dc.gov.
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Q: Who can apply for a Block Party Permit?
Applicant must be an adult resident (21 years or older) of the block being closed.
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Q: What are the requirements for having a Block Party?
The following criteria governing street closures for Neighborhood Block Parties will remain in effect:
  • Applicant must be an adult resident (21 years or older) of the block being closed
  • Area must not exceed two intersecting streets (i.e., must be limited to one block)
  • Street must be reopened no later than 10:00 p.m
  • Applicant must obtain consent of 51% of households on the block
  • Vending is prohibited. No sales, fees, or donations shall be solicited or accepted at the event
  • No sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages allowed
  • Accessibility for emergency equipment via an unobstructed 20-foot emergency access lane must be maintained at all times
  • Posting of street closure/no parking signs must be completed no less than 72 hours prior to date of event
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Q: Can I submit an Emergency Work Request (EWR) here?
Yes. An EWR must be applied for prior to any emergency work by clicking on the "Apply for Emergency Work Request (EWR)" button in your account. There is no cost for the EWR and it will be auto-approved by the TOPS system. The PSI manager on duty may call you for more details and may revoke or reject your Emergency Work Authorization if your work is found to be for a non-emergency.
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Q: My EWR was approved, how long do I have before my EWR must be converted to a public space permit?
The EWR must be converted to a public space application within 3 business days following your application for the EWR by clicking on the "Apply for Permit from / View/Edit Emergency Work Request" button in your account. Failure to do so will result in a Notification of Violation.
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Q: Do I need a permit to move an oversize or overweight vehicle or load within the District?
Yes for:
  • Any vehicle exceeding the District axle and gross weight limitations( 21,000 for single axle, 34,000 for tandem axle, see Chapter 25 of Title 18, DCMR)
  • Any vehicle wider than 8 feet – 6 inches (including load)
  • Any vehicle, other than a bus, over 40 feet long.
  • A vehicle with a combined overall length of over 55 feet
  • A bus longer than 60 feet or wider than 8 feet – 6 inches
  • A vehicle higher than 13 feet – 6 inches (including load)
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Q: How do I apply for this permit?
Apply online on TOPS, the DDOT online Permitting System, at tops.ddot.dc.gov, visit the DDOT website at ddot.dc.gov or call (202) 442-4670 for assistance.
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Q: Do I need to register as a user on TOPS first?
Yes. Once at the TOPS online site, there are a variety of registration options, including as an "Individual" or as a "Business/Organization". You may register as an "Individual", but most likely, you will register your company using the "Business/Organization" option.
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Q: How do I register my company?
You will need the following information to register your company on TOPS:
  • The company name, Tax ID number, company street address, and phone number.
  • An identified company administrator who will have exclusive rights to approve other TOPS registered users to apply for permits on the company account.
    • This person will provide his or her name, email address, and phone number(s).
    • The registered administrator will pick a user name and password.
  • There is optional information that the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) collects from all users when registering to comply with Title VI and other federal nondiscrimination laws.
    • This information is optional and is not required to complete the registration process.

Once you have submitted your company registration:
  • DDOT will review the registration and confirm that the company is registered. This will take no more than one business day. An email notification will be sent confirming the acceptance of your company registration.
  • Only the company administrator will be able to authorize additional TOPS registered users to apply for permits on the company account.
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Q: How long will the permit application process take?
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Q: Is a police escort required when moving an oversized or overweight load?
Yes for:
  • Any vehicle and load that is 75 feet in total length or longer
  • Any vehicle and load 12 feet wide or wider
  • Any vehicle and load exceeding 13 feet – 6 inches in height
  • Any vehicle with a total gross weight of 120,000 or more
  • Any vehicle carrying any Class 1 Explosives - Division 1.1, 1.2 or 1.3
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Q: How much will the permit cost?
  • Single Trip: $30.00 one way or $50.00 roundtrip
  • Tractor Trailer: $85.00 per year
    Restriction: A Single Trip permit will be required instead of an annual tag if:
    • Total length (including tractor, trailer, and load) is over 70 feet long
    • Total Height (including load) is over 13 feet – 6 inches tall
    • Total width (including load) is over 8 feet - 6 inches wide
  • Truck Crane or Concrete Pump Truck: $85.00 per year
    Restriction:A Single Trip permit will be required instead of an annual tag if:
    • The total width is greater than 11 feet
    • The gross vehicle weight exceeds 120,000 pounds
  • Dump Truck, Cement Mixer & Trash Truck up to 65, 000 pounds: $1,193.00 per year
    Restriction:A Single Trip permit will be required if:
    • The total gross weight exceeds 65,000 pounds.
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Q: How can I pay for and receive the permit or tag?
1. Once the on-line application is approved, payment can be made on-line using MasterCard or Visa - or by mailing a check or money order made payable to "DC Treasurer." The DC Treasurer is located at 1100 4th Street, SW in Washington, DC.
2. Once payment has been received by DDOT, permits may be printed by the Applicant from their TOPS account by clicking on the appropriate "View/Edit" option and then clicking on "Print Permit".
3. Tags can be mailed (by registered mail) for a small fee by clicking on this option during the application process.
4. Tags or permits may also be picked up at the permit office at 1100 4th Street, SW, 2nd floor, in Washington, DC.
5. Those requiring assistance with the on-line application may go to the permit office to apply, pay, and receive their permit or tag (best to make appointment (202) 442-4670).
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Q: What will I be required to do?
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Q: What if I need additional information?
Please call the Public Space Permit Office at (202) 442-4670 for assistance.
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Q: Will the single haul permit system auto route me to my destination in the District of Columbia?
Yes, click on this link https://routeplanner.ddot.dc.gov/routeplanner to view the tutorial. Then use the Guest Access and select “Help’ to see the PDF document. When you have finished reading, please close the document and then close the route planner map.
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Q: Who needs to get a Permit?
Bricks and mortar businesses (e.g. museums, halls available for rent) providing valet parking on an occasional basis must apply for an annual Event Venue Valet Parking Permit.
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Q: How do I apply for a Permit?
Complete a Valet Parking Permit Application, provide photos of the public space where cars will be picked up and dropped off (Valet Staging Zone), pay a non-refundable Application Fee of $50 and submit your application to DDOT. Through August 2009 Valet Parking Permit applications will be handled through an expedited process. In the future, this process will be handled through the regular DDOT permit process.
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Q: What information is needed to complete the application?
You will be asked to provide the proposed hours and days of valet operation; the location and proposed size of the Valet Staging Zone (e.g. three or four parking spaces); the existing regulatory signs posted in the area of the Valet Staging Zone (e.g. Loading Zone; No Parking 4:00 to 6:30 PM); parking meter numbers if any; identify other fixtures in the area (trees, fire hydrants, etc.) and copies of specific business documents.
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Q: How long will the application process take?
The application will be reviewed for vehicle and pedestrian safety and sidewalk management issues. Application reviews will take up to thirty (30) business days. If issues arise during the review, DDOT will contact the Applicant and work to resolve these issues. Final approval of all applications will be made by the Public Space Committee (PSC) in a special meeting to be held in September. In the future Valet Parking Permit applications will be handled by the PSC at their regular monthly meeting.
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Q: When will I get my permit?
After approval by the PSC, you must pick up the permit and Emergency No Parking signs.
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Q: What else do I need to do?
You must notify DDOT and post Emergency No Parking signs at least 72 hours in advance of use of the Valet Staging Zone. In addition you must pay the cost of renting the space which will be reserved for your exclusive use as a valet staging zone. The cost will be 50 cents per hour, per parking space (20 feet) that valet services will be provided. In addition, if parking meters are in operation during the hours you are providing valet parking you must pay for taking those meter out of service. DDOT will provide an online form for notification of use of the Valet Staging Zone. It will bill you periodically for actual use of the Valet Staging Zone.
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Q: Who will enforce Valet Staging Zone?
DDOT, DPW and MPD will share responsibility for enforcing violations of the Valet Staging Zone and the Valet Parking Permit. For more information call the Public Space Policy Branch at (202) 442-4670.
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Q: What is a Development Plan Review Meeting?
Development Review Plan Review Meetings assist in ensuring that projects are consistent with, and do not adversely impact DDOT’s multi-modal strategic objectives. The meetings form part of a structured review process for evaluating transportation impacts, provide and administer a policy framework, and provide consistent public space policy guidance.
Meetings are highly recommended at different stages of the project development as it progresses from zoning to public space. Developers should meet with DDOT plan reviewers at the initial project concept, 30%, 60%, and 90% of design completion.
Stakeholders for review meetings generally include the DDOT case coordinator and representatives from each of the main administrations such as Policy and Planning, Traffic Operations, Infrastructure Management, Public Space Regulations, and Transit. Other interagency stakeholders may be added at the discretion of the case coordinator.
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Q: What are the key steps an Applicant must take in order to complete the Development Review process?
a. Contact Development Review Branch and schedule an initial scoping meeting.
b. Receive Applicant Letter and Comprehensive Transportation Review (CTR) guidelines.
Please click here for CTR guidelines.
c. Submit scoping document deliverables and proposed scope of work.
d. Conduct scoping meeting at DDOT office.
e. Obtain DDOT approval for CTR scope of work.
f. Coordinate with assigned case manager regarding schedule, task, milestones, etc.
g. Submit final CTR Report at least 45 days before Development Review Case Hearing.
h. Receive final approval.
i. Obtain EIS/F approval.
j. Participate in the PDRM process and Public Space Committee process.
k. Apply for relevant permits.
l. Report on Performance Monitoring and Measurement.
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Q: When and where is the initial Applicant meeting and scoping meetings held?
Meetings are held during normal business hours at DDOT headquarters, 55 M Street, SE. Scoping meetings can be scheduled anytime, but are encouraged prior to filing for a hearing or shortly thereafter
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Q: How to schedule an initial meeting or scoping meeting?
Scoping meetings can be scheduled with the Development Review branch by using the Transportation Online Permit System (TOPS).
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Q: What is the Applicant is required to provide at the initial Applicant meeting?
Applicant will be asked to discuss the proposed development program (e.g. no. of units, SF of retail, etc.) as well as a general concept of how the Site will be utilized and how it may interact with the public space.
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Q: What is the Applicant is required to provide at the scoping meetings?
a. Proposed site plan and use(s);
b. Proposed travel demand/trip generation;
c. Proposed study area; and
d. Proposed data collection plan.
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Q: When and where are Zoning Hearings held?
Zoning Commission and Board of Zoning Adjustment cases are held 441 4th Street, NW, 2nd floor, adjacent to the Judiciary Square Metro Station 6. What does the DDOT Development Review Case Manager do?
a. Review the application for completeness.
b. Facilitate DDOT stakeholder review and input regarding the scope of an Applicant's CTR.
c. Analyze final CTR in accordance with the agreed-upon scope and with DDOT policy, DC regulations, and identified best practices.
d. Write a report to the respective zoning authority detailing the impacts of the Applicant's proposed development on the Districts transportation network. e. Provide testimony on behalf of DDOT in front of the Zoning Commission and Board of Zoning Adjustment.
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Q: How much does this review cost?
At this time, the review is done by DDOT at no cost to the Applicant.
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Q: Why do I need a review?
The CTR is the critical component in DDOT’s review of the site’s impact on the transportation network.
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Q: What are the triggers to initiate a CTR?
There are general guidelines that trigger a CTR. In addition, there are triggers within the CTR's ten key categories that detail the depth of analysis required. Please refer to the CTR Guidelines found here.
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Q: Where can I get more information?
More information on the development review process can be found here.
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Q: How do I request an Expedited Review of my application?
At this time, DDOT does not provide expedited reviews of Development Review Applications.
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Q: What are the current streetcar hours of operation?
The streetcar operates during the following hours:
  • Monday through Thursday: from 6AM to 12AM
  • Friday: from 6AM to 2AM
  • Saturday: from 8AM to 2AM
  • Sunday or Holidays: from 8AM to 10PM
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Q: What is the streetcar "zone of influence"?
The streetcar's zone of influence refers to the area necessary for the streetcar to move along the line without being obstructed by any object. The zone of influence also includes a buffer area of 10 feet around the Overhead Contact System (OCS) for safety reasons. For safety, you should always consider the OCS to be powered on at all times.

As a rule of thumb, insure that all items remain completely out of the traffic lane the streetcar is operating in, as well as at least 10 feet away from the Overhead Contact System (OCS).

See the image below for an illustration of the streetcar zone of influence:
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Q: What additional requirements are necessary for permits along a streetcar line?
First, for any permit requests along a streetcar line, applicants must ensure that their permit details how their proposed activities will or will not impinge upon the streetcar’s zone of influence. The zone of influence is the area in which the streetcar operates as well as an area within 10ft of the Overhead Contact System (OCS) power supply. The streetcar utilizes a 750 volt power supply from the Overhead Contact System (OCS). All work within 10 feet of the OCS must have a lock-out tag in place while working. For safety, always consider the OCS to be powered on at all times.

If the permit request must utilize space within the streetcar zone of influence, the permit can still be approved provided that the applicant limit all activity in the zone of influence to outside of the streetcar hours of operation. (See TOPS FAQ for the daily operating schedule.)

If activities occur in the streetcar guideway, the applicant must coordinate with DDOT or the streetcar operator to ensure that adequate precautions are taken to protect the streetcar guideway and rails from damage. Additionally, the applicant must insure that all debris and trash associated with these operations are removed before the beginning of streetcar operations.

Second, applicants must attend a meeting of the weekly Track Allocation meeting prior to their permit being issued. These meetings are necessary to coordinate multiple occupancy and construction operations along the streetcar line. Track Allocation Meetings occur weekly at 12:00pm (Noon) EST at the RDMT office at 2600 Benning Rd NE (Benning Rd & 26th St NE; enter from the 26th St side and identify with the guard at the guard booth.) Applicants can contact RDMT at 202-299-5625 to schedule their attendance.

Third, applicants must meet with RDMT staff at the site of their permit request to discuss their operations and how they will work outside of the streetcar zone of influence, or how they will work outside of the streetcar operating hours and keep the track and guideway clean. Applicants can contact RDMT at 202-299-5625 to schedule their site visit.

Fourth, if workers will be occupying the green "ROW training boundary" during the course of their work, they will need to receive streetcar Right-of-Way training. This training will be provided by RDMT and can be scheduled either during the Track Allocation meeting mentioned above, or by calling RDMT at 202-299-5625. Workers will be issued a ROW certification card/badge which will need to be carried by the worker while they are working in the green ROW area.

Finally, applicants must agree, even with a permit or authorization, to contact DC Streetcar control center before starting any work. DC Streetcar control can be reached at: 202-299-5621
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Q: What safety rules must be followed around the streetcar Overhead Contact System (OCS)?
The Overhead Contact System (OCS) is the electric wire that the streetcar draws its power supply from. The contact wire is positioned between 14 and 19 feet above the street down the center of the streetcar line. This wire has 750 volts of DC running through it to power and operate the system.

For safety reasons, always consider the OCS to be powered on at all times. Any work to be done within 10 feet of the OCS must have a lock out tag in place.

The DC Streetcar Control Center can be reached at: 202-299-5621. The DC Streetcar Manager of Safety and Training can be reached at: 202-499-9977.
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Q: What additional safety rules must be followed around the streetcar line?
All workers that have the potential of being in the streetcar right-of-way (ROW) to complete their job duties must have successfully completed DC Streetcar right-of-way safety training. The ROW is defined as an area within fifteen (15) feet of the centerline of any track.

Any person or object within 4 feet of the outside rail of the nearest track is considered to be "fouling the track". Fouling will cause the streetcar to stop operations and disrupt the system until the offending person or object is clear of this 4 foot buffer. Fouling the track is not permitted unless expressly approved in your issued permit. Unauthorized fouling of the track may result in revocation of any issued permits at the discretion of DDOT staff.

Additionally, the following steps are important knowledge for anyone working in or around the streetcar line:
  • If streetcars are present, leave 10 feet when crossing in front of or behind them.
  • Stay clear of switches and all other rail equipment.
  • Always step over the rail - never step on the rail.
  • Cross the street in designated crosswalks whenever possible.
  • Workers must step off of a ladder if a streetcar approaches a work location in a station area or near the ROW.

The DC Streetcar Control Center can be reached at: 202-299-5621. The DC Streetcar Manager of Safety and Training can be reached at: 202-499-9977.
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