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D.C. details upcoming changes in street parking

The District Department of Transportation has released more details on the major changes scheduled for this month in the parking payment and enforcement system.

Crews will begin immediately to update more than 100,000 parking regulation signs and nearly 17,000 meters to reflect changes in District law regarding street parking. These are the changes you need to be aware of:
-- The District is completing the conversion of meters to the approved higher rates. ($2 per hour at most meters.)
-- Payments will be required on Saturdays at all metered spaces.
-- Payments will be required till 10 p.m. in many of the city's high-demand areas.
-- The conversion of all the signs and meters to reflect the new rules should be done by Jan. 19. But its very important that you look at the sign and the meter when you park. That's what you go by to make the payment. Doesn't matter if it's Jan. 16 or Jan. 21, go by the rules posted for the block where you're parking.

Read on for more details.

Parking zones
The fee you pay reflects the type of zone in which you are parking. There are two types of zones in the city.
-- Premium demand zone: Parking costs $2 per hour. These are in the busiest commercial districts. Those are also the sections of the city in which you're most likely to find parking meters, so the vast majority of the city's parking meters will charge this rate.
-- Normal demand zone. Parking costs 75 cents an hour. There are a couple thousand of these meters in areas where the demand for street parking is less intense than in the premium zones.

Nighttime enforcement
Nighttime enforcement of the payment rules is being extended to 10 p.m. in these premium demand zones:
-- Adams Morgan
-- Georgetown Historic District
-- Penn Quarter/Chinatown
-- U Street NW corridor
-- Downtown Central Business District
-- Maine Avenue and Water Street SW
-- The National Mall
-- Wisconsin Avenue NW from Van Ness Street to Western Avenue

Sports fans and others familiar with the city's night life know that meters in Georgetown and around the Verizon Center already require evening payments.

Saturday payments
There was a moratorium on this in most parts of the city. That's going away now. The problem, according to the District Department of Transportation, was that people were staying for a long time at these free spaces on Saturdays, so local businesses were not getting the benefit of turnover, allowing more shoppers to come into the blocks. So the District government has lifted the moratorium to encourage drivers to move on so others can come in and park. (Remember, the parking enforcement officers won't let you extend your stay, even if you come out and feed the meter again. You've got to move the car.)

I continue to invite your comments on these very significant changes. Nobody's going to want to pay more and nobody is looking forward to hauling around more quarters. But do you think the city is justified in doing this for the additional revenue, to match what some other big cities are charging and to encourage drivers to move on so others get a crack at those spaces? What adjustments in the city's street parking system would you like to see in light of these changes?

By Robert Thomson  |  January 5, 2010; 11:57 AM ET
Categories:  Driving  | Tags: District Department of Transportation, Dr. Gridlock, parking enforcement  
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Comments

Dr. Gridlock -- I think you meant to say Maine Avenue SW and Water Street SW, around the wharf and waterfront.

Posted by: jcbcmb68 | January 5, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I don't mind the $2 per hour cost for street parking as it's still cheaper than most of the garages downtown. However, the District needs to convert all the metered spaces to pay-to-park machines. NO ONE carries around tons of coins these days. Let us pay with paper or plastic like everywhere else!

Posted by: thinktankjp | January 5, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: Thanks for spotting that geographic error on my part, jcbcmb68. I'm making the fix right now.

Posted by: Robert Thomson | January 5, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for posting this information! I posted the question about this in your chat yesterday!

Posted by: yell53 | January 5, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

And no consideration for downtown workers with night shifts?

Posted by: thewrittenword | January 5, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

The DC government needs to follow this up with better protection for residential parking areas close to these commercial strips. We are already inundated with out-of-towners taking every available residential space. This will make it even worse, as many would rather take the chance of getting a ticket for parking on a residential street, over paying $2 for a metered space.

And on Saturdays? Now they will just find a legal residential space to avoid the $2 (restrictions on residential parking are lifted on weekends).

We need to make one side of each residential street in high demand areas resident parking only.

Many areas in the burbs make BOTH sides of the street resident only parking, with no 'grace period' like DC offers.

It's time we started offering more protection for residents trying to park in their own neighborhoods.

Posted by: Hillman1 | January 5, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

So now in the evening on Saturday if I'm comign down for a Caps game I have to either take and once every 20-30 minute train, hope I can find a space on the Mall itself, or prak in a garage. Great. if they really want people to come down and spend money they shouldn't make it such a pain.

Posted by: EricS2 | January 5, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Re new "up til 10:00 PM" parking regulations at DC meters, how is one supposed to park in time to go to a movie or the theatre and see the full performance, without being over-time at one's meter?? The entire process is inevitably well over two hours. Even a leisurely restaurant meal often takes longer than two hours. This is a counter-productive change that will hurt local businesses and their customers.

Posted by: JanetJim | January 5, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I have no issue with raising parking fee and extension on Saturday - other cities have adopted similar policies with success.
Have city officials considered the impact these policies will have on residential parking? This will put even more pressure on residentially zoned areas. Is the DMV prepared to aggressively enforce residential zone parking? We pay for zone priveledges that seemingly are ignored.

Posted by: andrew_jdy | January 5, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Couriers and Delivery people are just going to love this!

Posted by: unseenmirage | January 5, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I like the extension of nighttime enforcement for parking meters in the premium zones- I hope the city also plans to extend the hours of enforcement (and include Saturdays) in the residential parking zones around these areas to offset a potential increase in parking in these neighborhood side streets instead of on the main streets.

Posted by: rebeccamun | January 5, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I heartily agree with the poster that called for this 1930's way of collecting parking revenue to be replaced with modern centralized parking machines on each block, allowing parkers to pay with bills, credit cards, and debit cards. They have them all over the world, and the ones that print tickets you stick on your dash even have the exact time of day the spot expires, making it very easy to get into your head when you need to be back. It seems like less to maintain, as well. Will the District ever get on board with this?

It's worth noting, too, that E-Z pass is capable of being used to pay for parking. Now that would really be slick.

Posted by: tcfenstermaker | January 5, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Enforcement on Saturday? Noone's working. On the Mall at 10PM?? The museums are closed; it is a deserted wasteland!

So why do it? To be able to hire some more incomptent meter maids and on the backs of the citizens of this city, give them a job they couldn't hold otherwise. Did any Washingtonian have a say in this arrogant policy, civilian, businessmen, entertainment? Who made this decision then? Was it done in private or public?

NO, this was a DIKTAT from a supreme dictatorship. It was a Police Coup. It is just another way Washington has discovered that it can HOLD-UP its citizens.

Posted by: wjc1va | January 5, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

My favorite parking was t the ellipse when they would let us park there. Now, I never drive into the District and buy very little. I just visit the Mall and Union Station and eat. I would shop if they would let me drive in. But why bother if I can not park?

Posted by: gary4books | January 5, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I have a different take on this issue. I think DC should discard the "residential parking" sticker. I am not aware of other major cities that have so much protection for persons living near metro stations. In fact, I think it is discriminatory. I pay taxes for the entire city and I pay the same rate for my parking permit, even though it does not come with a "residential parking" sticker due to my neighborhood. These increased fees in hot areas will only serve to discriminate against residents in other areas of the city who pay taxes. I hope a civic/civil rights group will take up this issue because more affluent neighborhoods continue to benefit.

Posted by: mjf32 | January 5, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

I have a different take on this issue. I think DC should discard the "residential parking" sticker. I am not aware of other major cities that have so much protection for persons living near metro stations. In fact, I think it is discriminatory. I pay taxes for the entire city and I pay the same rate for my parking permit, even though it does not come with a "residential parking" sticker due to my neighborhood. These increased fees in hot areas will only serve to discriminate against residents in other areas of the city who pay taxes. I hope a civic/civil rights group will take up this issue because more affluent neighborhoods continue to benefit.

Posted by: mjf32 | January 5, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that parking would not have to be raised if all the streets had meters. For instance around GWU only 1 side of the street has meters and the other side has 2 hr parking only signs. This pollicy could extend to the residential parking areas as well. I believe the meters on Constitution Ave stop at 21st street with the rest of the avenue signed 2 hour parking only. In addition, the District should seek authority from Congress to put meters along the tidal basis area AND the Mall. The Mall is a National Park, and it is the only National Park that does not charge for parking. As it is the Mall and the areas around the Tidal Basin are used by commuters who are rarely ticketed, since some of the areas are so remote. Revenue could be split 50/50. 50% for care and upkeep of the mall and the other 50% to the city. I sent this suggestion to the Mayor many months ago, but never heard a word or thank you for your suggestion.

Posted by: no5chanel | January 5, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

I am appalled at this massive disincentive that will drive away business by nickel and dimeing customers.

Not only do I not carry around a bucket of quarters for the meter, but the extension of hours is outrageous. They are targeting areas were there is no alternative for parking. For example, Maine Ave and Water Street SW. I have been a 35 year subscriber to Arena Stage. They are moving back in the Fall. Now it will be impossible to park for the theatre with a 2-hour limit (even if I can cough up the 16 quarters). Where can I and the rest of the audience park? I am serious considering canceling my subscription. Metro is not an option as I cannot get home after the play.

This also affects restaurants and movies. Unless you plan on a short dinner or a short movie, but not both -- it's out to the suburbs. I hope DC appreciates all the tax revenue they will lose from me in the future.

What a short sited ill conceived plan.

Posted by: johninBethesda1 | January 6, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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