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District planning major changes in street parking

Watch for mid-January changes in how much to pay and when to pay while parking on D.C. streets.

Drivers will notice three developments:
-- The District will complete the premium parking program, under which most of the city's nearly 17,000 meters charge $2 per hour and a couple of thousand charge 75 cents per hour.
-- Parkers will have to pay on Saturdays.
-- Nighttime parking enforcement hours downtown will be extended to 10:30 p.m. 10 p.m. [DDOT modified its original statement on the time.]

The District Department of Transportation plans to carry out the parking policy changes approved by the D.C. Council over the past year and wants to get it done all at once. The program involves changes to 100,000 street signs and parking meter faces, and it wouldn't make sense to stretch this out in phases.

The District government will make more money from these changes, but it has some other goals, including these:
-- Encourage turnover in metered spaces to stimulate commerce in the business districts.
-- Ease traffic congestion by shifting some of the parkers off the streets and into parking garages and by encouraging turnover so that drives don't wander endlessly seeking an open space.

Any change as big as this is bound to cause confusion when it gets started. Drivers will have to pay close attention to the signs at the place where they park. Around the middle of January, if things go according to this plan, they'll want to check those signs each time they park, even if they think they are familiar with the rules for the spot. The payment or the timing might have changed.

Carry lots of quarters. Neither the old style single space meters nor the new green multi-space meters give change.

By Robert Thomson  |  December 29, 2009; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Driving  | Tags: D.C. parking, District Department of Transportation, Dr. Gridlock, parking enforcement  
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What do the ymean by "downtown"? Is there any kind of map available as to where "dowtown" starts or ends?

Posted by: EricS2 | December 29, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

The multi-space (or "pay and display") meters also accept credit cards, which reduces the need for carrying a pile of quarters.

Posted by: 1995hoo | December 29, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Sure, the meters can accept credit cards but they won't take cash (bills)!

Posted by: tradervic1313 | December 29, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Since the rate downtown is going up to $2.00 an hour, it would be great if the city would add dollar bill acceptors to the multi-space meters. Other cities I have been in have them and most people carry around dollar bills versus a lot of change.

Posted by: jdindc | December 29, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

tradervic1313, that's fine with me. Half the time vending machines reject $1 bills anyway. The US ought to scrap the silly $1 bill and use the coins. Machines don't reject those!

But anyway, I'd rather use a credit card at the parking meter. Every airmile adds up!

Posted by: 1995hoo | December 29, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I, for one, would be happy to pay higher fares IF the blasted mult-space meters actually worked! 9 times out of 10 I encounter ones that either don't work at all or don't take cards.

It is quite apparent that the city took the low bid on the meters, and as my grandmother was fond of saying, "You get what you pay for--if it sounds cheap, it probably is."

Posted by: redgrifn | December 29, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

DC ST ยง 50-2633.01:

" citation shall be issued for a parking meter fee violation at any time on a Saturday..."

So, I wonder, does the DC Government plan on changing DC code to allow charging drivers to park on a Saturday? Or will the Mayor just expand the list of "exempt streets" from subsection (c) to include every metered street in DC, upon approval from DC Council? If so, doesn't that defeat the purpose of the law, rendering it useless? Finally, if the Mayor did expand the list of exempt streets to include every metered street, I think it would be fair to include his involvement in this article.

Posted by: TubbyTy | December 29, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

DC can charge what it wants for parking, as long as metro can guarantee it won't kill me.

Posted by: 123cartoon | December 29, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I've also encountered many meters that refuse to take credit cards, or at least mine, anyway??

What's going on? Is it a case of buying from the lowest bidder?

Posted by: nchamber345 | December 29, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Aside from highway robbery (pun intended) via meters and vulture-like metermaid 'enforcers,' the REAL scandal is that DDOT / City Council apparently approves of the practice of VALETS downtown and elsewhere to park the cars they get ON THE STREETS. This is illegitimate and a really bad use of street spaces. It flies in the face of the Council's professed goal of more turnover for increased business downtown. Valets must be required to park in garages or lots, NOT on streets.

Posted by: DCcommentator | December 29, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

They need to make the meter rates higher than $2 per hour. It would be good to get some cars off the streets and into garages, so that you can always find a street space easily if you want one -- which I think is the point of what this change was trying to do. But $2 per hour won't be high enough to accomplish that, because it's still cheaper than most downtown garages.

Posted by: robwilli | December 29, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

As if it's not bad enough now.

It doesn't matter if you follow the rules. I've gotten ticketed at non-working meters (yes I call them in) and for going over 2 hours when I have definitely not. I contest the tickets; DC says tough-poop.

Then they send it right to collection and destroy your credit.

I never ever park on the street now, but I have to work Saturdays in the office sometimes, and lots downtown are not open.

Posted by: chunche | December 29, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

This is very interesting. Will all the public parking garages rush to change their hours to accommodate all these people that won't be able to park on the streets anymore? How will this ruling impact business that count on patrons who are more apt to park on the street? Yet another reason for me to refuse to conduct business in DC...

Posted by: DCtoBalto | December 29, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I hate trying to park in the city on weekends, but I have no other choice. Metro runs Orange line trains it seems like maybe once every 45 minutes, and half the station exits are closed because apparently it's too expensive to pay 2 fat union workers to sleep in the booths at both ends of the station instead of just one. I guarantee you the DC government discussed these price increases with Metro ahead of time -- each hand washes the other.

Posted by: zippyspeed | December 29, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Why don't the District just increase the parking fee to five (5) dollars an hour? That should turn over the parking spaces and make shopping downtown the most enjoyable experience available for five dollars.

Posted by: Jimof1913 | December 29, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Another thing I don't miss about DC is the parking. I know it galls my green friends but I go to Silver Spring and Bethesda more than DC because the county constructed garages and I know I can always get a spot and the cost will be reasonable. I'll go to DC if its on a Metro line but I accept the truth that the DC government doesn't want me (or my money) to come into the District.

Posted by: KS100H | December 29, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I have trouble finding a green multi-space meter that works downtown. It seems two out of three are broken.

Posted by: BaracksTeleprompter | December 29, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I think this was the last straw. I'm just going to sell my car and avoid dealing with parking issues all together. Of course, this means I'll be going out to eat, drink and shop a whole lot less. The people running this city are so darn bright!

Posted by: blk-ml | December 29, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

This just means that residents who have cars will have a tougher time on weekends finding places to park. They should also make the 2 hour rule in residential areas to Saturdays to make up for the fact that they won't be able to find parking in their neighborhood.

Everyone is going to end up losing when this starts.

Posted by: lawkat73 | December 29, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Three cheers for enforcing parking laws on Saturday! I hate how my neighborhood fills up with out-of-towners who aren't even visit the neighborhood, they're just using it as a parking lot and making it harder for everyone else to get where they need to go.

Posted by: tomveiltomveil | December 30, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

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