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Answering the questions on traffic policy - Q & A with the command

WNY Gate guard
NDW Police Officer Torronna Johnson checks the credentials of a commercial vehicle entering the Washington Navy Yard in late 2015. Under the new parking regulations, most contractors are not allowed to park on WNY with few exceptions. (U.S. Navy photo by Whitney Anderson)

01/07/16 12:00 AM

From Naval Support Activity Washington Public Affairs Office

Late last year NSAW introduced the new traffic policy that is intended to alleviate traffic and parking congestion on the Washington Navy Yard. The announcement of the new policy generated a lot of important questions from the employees on the yard. The following are questions we’ve received with the responses provided by the command.

Q: Are contractors allowed to park on base?
A: Beginning Jan. 1, 2016 contractors generally will not be allowed to park on the base. Exceptions include some food service, custodial and maintenance contractors.
Please refer to paragraph 1e(1)(g) of Chapter 3, which states: “Proof that the contractor works onboard NSAW as a construction, maintenance, food service, custodial, or public works department contractor. No other contractors are permitted to receive parking placards.”

The NSAW Traffic Code contains a provision that the only contractors permitted to obtain parking placards are those who support the installation and tenants in construction, maintenance, food service, and custodial positions. It’s important to remember that, while we don’t often think of it this way, parking spaces are real estate that costs the government money — that real estate is intended for use in providing a service to government employees (civilian and military). While NSAW values the support contractors provide to our tenants’ missions, general government policy is that contractors should not provide mission ESSENTIAL capabilities and contracting companies should also be covering the labor costs for their employees. Therefore, if there’s enough parking to go around, allowing contractors to use that real estate isn’t a big issue. But, if parking is in short supply, NSAW’s policy is that the parking resources should be provided to government employees first.

Q: Can I request a waiver to allow a contractor to park on base?
A: NSAW understands that there are contractors outside of that narrowly defined group who provide important services to the installation and our tenants. In those cases, NSAW is willing to consider waiver requests from tenant commands. Assuming we experience success in removing cars from the installation who do not belong here (e.g. people who use “free” Navy Yard parking to leave their car enroute to other workplaces in southeast D.C.), we will seek to provide parking services to as many contractors as possible without adversely impacting government employees.
NOTE: Individual requests will not be honored, but NSAW will accept memos for consideration signed “by direction” from a commander or director.

Q: I have a Metro Benefits subsidy. Do I qualify for a parking placard?
A: Individuals receiving mass transit subsidies do not qualify for a parking placard for their personal vehicle. However, you are allotted 5 temporary parking passes per month. These temporary passes are obtained at the VCC, and can be obtained in advance. Drivers must present the proper credentials including driver’s and registration to obtain their passes.

Q: Do I need a placard to park on the yard after hours or on weekends?
A: No. The placard is a means of reducing vehicle traffic on the yard during peak working hours.

Q: How many people do I need in my car every day to get a yellow parking space?
A: Membership needs to be 3 or more. The intent of the instruction is to have three people use one vehicle to access the base. It is NOT our intent to force the vehicle to always have three occupants.

Q: How will you ensure those who receive a yellow placard for carpool spaces are not dishonest?
A: Some unscrupulous person who wants to use a yellow space will not be able to recruit two transit riders to join them on their pass. If they did, we would identify the transit riders and those folks would either have to get off the carpool pass or surrender their Metro Benefit.

Q: Why add new ideas and rules if the real problem has been enforcement for the current policy? Couldn’t we immediately start enforcing to see how effective the current policy would be before moving on to more drastic action?
A: NSAWINST 5560.1B addresses a variety of issues that rendered the previously existing policy ineffective. First, and most basically, the old policy was reliant on enforcement via DoD decals that are no longer funded or authorized for use. Overall, our intent was to create conditions that support additional use of mass transit AND provide meaningful, responsible enforcement mechanisms that enhance service for those who are unable to take advantage of public transport. For example, we are now allowing personnel who turn in their placards for Transit Benefits to receive 5 passes per month from the VCC. This is authorized under the MTBP, but was never authorized by this command. Penalties under the old policy were not providing enough of a deterrent to change behavior in a way that enhanced compliance with the policy. The new Traffic Code also incorporates assistance provided by the DC U.S. Attorney’s Office, which is common on bases throughout CONUS, but until now has never existed at WNY.

Q: Will I be required to display my parking pass to enter the installation?
A: Yes, police officers at the gate will not allow your vehicle access to the yard without properly displaying your parking placard.

Q: How does a VIP or distinguished visitor with a CAC card arrange to get through the gate and for parking?
A: Distinguished visitors consist of flag officers (active or retired), service secretaries, political appointees, members of congress and members of the diplomatic corps. They will be granted access based on their CAC/IDs but will need to obtain a temporary parking placard through the VCC.