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Vol. LXIV, No. 24
November 23, 2012

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lot of cars in NIH Parking
Have a question about some aspect of working at NIH? You can post anonymous queries at (click on the Feedback icon) and we’ll try to provide answers.

Feedback: Does anyone know why there are NIH buses parked in lot 41? They have been parked at the end of 3 different, adjacent rows for many months now. The problem is that they are longer than the length of 2 cars, so although they are parked in the equivalent of 2 parking spaces, they hang out into the aisle causing a dangerous congestion point. The NIH shuttle cannot fit down that aisle anymore so they have to take a more circuitous route through the parking lot, going down a narrower aisle with tighter turns and clearances around parked cars. Also those who reach the end of the aisle and want to turn cannot see around the buses to see if there is cross traffic. I’m surprised there hasn’t been a nasty accident because of the impaired sight line. These buses should be parked in a location where they do not interfere with driving through lot 41, especially considering how often they are used (they haven’t moved in months). And also, when did lot 41 become a dumping ground for unused vehicles and equipment?

Response from the Office of Research Services: The three NIH buses in question are government vehicles that need to be on campus for situations where the need arises, such as taking children from the Children’s Inn to camp, for special events and for emergency situations that necessitate a mass evacuation.

The buses were originally parked at the far end of lot 41, but were moved to the location in question because they were impeding the ability for shuttle buses to make turns within the lot. ORS looked at the situation further and moved the buses again. Now, the buses are parallel parked along the fence line in designated “NIH Government Bus” spaces in the upper right corner of the lot. This location should no longer impede any traffic.

As to the issue of lot 41 being a “dumping ground,” although it may be unsightly at times, this lot is NIH property and is a necessary location to store NIH equipment temporarily until it is surplused. NIH continues to monitor the area and will work diligently to advance this equipment through the disposal process.

Feedback: Your response about “red permit preferential parking” in the Feb. 3, 2012 NIH Record did not answer the question regarding cars with preferential (red) permits parking in general parking spaces.

You referenced the NIH Policy Manual 1410, Parking Policy (Release date 6/2/09); Section F (Procedures), no. 4 (Types of NIH Parking Permits), f. Preferential (Red) states: Preferential (red) parking permits are valid in parking areas posted “NIH Red Parking Permit Holders Only.” In the event these areas are filled, the preferential (red) parking permits are also valid in the areas posted “NIH Parking Permit Holders Only” and after 9:30 a.m. in parking areas posted “CP Spaces Reserved Until 9:30 a.m.”

My point was that some individuals with red permits are disregarding the rule and parking wherever they please. Again, this results in less general parking being available while unnumbered red parking spaces remain vacant.

I strongly suggest someone from the Division of Amenities and Transportation Services walk through the various parking lots and garages two times a week—particularly the multi-level garage behind Bldgs. 31 and 33—preferably no later than 10 a.m., to count the number of cars with red parking permits parked in general spots. Also count the number of vacant unnumbered red spaces at that time. It will become instantly obvious that the current policy isn’t working.

Your response also stated, “The preferred parking spaces have not increased and have remained the same for over 20 years.” While that may be true, anecdotal evidence suggests that the number of general parking spaces (not reserved for red permits, handicapped spaces or other reserved parking) has been reduced in that time period. Can you please comment?

Response from ORS: Although an exception, the Manual Chapter 1410 – “Parking,” does allow for vehicles with red permits to park in general parking spaces, even when space may be available in red permit holder areas. However, we do strongly encourage red permit holders to park in red spaces first and park only in other areas if the red locations are full. The NIH Parking Policy is reviewed periodically and the Division of Amenities and Transportation Services will definitely consider these questions and concerns.

Feedback: What is NIH’s policy about riding bicycles on the sidewalk? I have seen cyclists traveling at high speed forcing pedestrians off the sidewalk so they can pass.

Response from ORS: There is no regulation against bicycles using sidewalks on the Bethesda campus. However, cyclists must always obey the rules of the road whether using roadways or sidewalks.

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