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Metro adding reserved parking

Dear Dr. Gridlock:
I was shocked this morning when I went to park in the Vienna Metro south side surface parking lot and noticed a host of signs erected over the weekend for additional reserved spaces in what had been first-come, first-served spaces.

I was unaware that a proliferation of additional reserved spaces at this station were part of Metro's financial revamp. Like those already reserved, I bet that some of these will go unused until freed up at 10 a.m.

Metro tried this once before but ultimately thought better of it and left the lot as is (i.e. some reserved spots but retaining adequate open parking for early arrivals). Still, the surface lot is usually full by 7:30 a.m.)

As if daily rush hour commuters weren't being gouged enough with rises in general and peak-of-the-peak fares and a parking increase, now early arrivals must fight for spaces while avoiding reserved spots that may or may not be occupied?

The added monthly revenue from the reserved spots would hardly make a dent in the shortfall and would presumably be easily covered by the 50-cent daily increase. I am a Metro supporter, but this seems both unfair and an additional inconvenience for those of us soon to pay upwards of $13 for the daily commute.

-- Jim Engelhardt

DG: The recent addition of some reserved parking spaces at Vienna isn't specifically a part of the budget-balancing plan now under debate by the Metro board. That plan could possibly include an increase in the cost of daily parking -- though I think it won't. And very likely it will include an increase in the cost of reserved parking,

But those issues are yet to be resolved. Meanwhile, said Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel, it is standard practice for Metro to add or remove reserved parking signs as the number of permit holders at a station increases or decreases.

"We just recently added additional reserved parking signs because the number of permits sold has increased at Vienna," Taubenkibel said in an e-mail. "The spaces reserved for permit holders are spread out between both surface lots and parking garages at the station."

As of this month, Metro has 767 reserved permit holders for Vienna. Reserved parking at the station is closing in on the 15 percent limit of total spaces. Metro's experience with Vienna parking is that reserved spaces rarely go unused even before 10 a.m., Taubenkibel said Because of enforcement concerns at Vienna, reserved parking signs were recently revised to prohibit a vehicle standing in a reserved parking space without a permit displayed.

By Robert Thomson  |  May 3, 2010; 4:45 PM ET
Categories:  Metro  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail, Orange Line  
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