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Posted at 7:22 PM ET, 07/ 7/2010

More parking near the Mall

By editors

By Don Dilworth,
Silver Spring

With all due respect for the luminaries who shared their ideas about an expanded and improved Mall [Sunday Opinion, Topic A, July 4], none of these dreams will improve a visitor’s experience until we solve the area’s parking problem, and the answer is right under our feet.

Some years ago, I was driving a rental car up and down a broad avenue in Barcelona, fruitlessly searching for a parking space, until I realized that every two or three blocks I’d been passing entrances to underground parking. In fact, the entire avenue was the roof of one huge parking garage.

Since we now have similar parking technology at countless shopping malls and hotels, why not put a parking garage under the entire central portion of the Mall between, say, Third and 14th streets? No improvement to the Mall would be more appreciated by visitors than access to secure, nearby, out-of-sight parking.

By editors  | July 7, 2010; 7:22 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, National Mall, parks, real estate, traffic, transportation  
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Don, the parking garage might be underground, but the thousands of extra cars flocking to downtown everyday would not as they contribute to tearing up the city streets. That is why we have Metro, and why there is a stop even in Silver Spring that gets you down to the Mall quite easily.

Posted by: NikolasM | July 8, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

This is actually a great idea! Only rather than building one big parking garage beneath the Mall, we should build a series of parking garages. And rather than under the Mall, we could distribute them throughout the suburbs. And then we could build some sort of subterranean "People Moving" system to bring the parkers the last few miles from the garages into downtown areas.

We'll call it the "Tube", or "Subway" if you will.

Posted by: ibc0 | July 8, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

As someone who has used underground parking garages in Europe as a tourist, I think this is a great idea. It would help prevent tourists from doing the "Mall circle" looking for scarce parking. Also, it would be convenient place to stash all the tour buses and prevent their drivers from idling the buses in order to run the A/C.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | July 8, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

PS: Here's a link to the world's coolest underground parking garage:

And NikolasM, the fact that there's more parking downtown doesn't prevent YOU from taking the Metro. It simply increases the choices available to everyone.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | July 8, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

This is a wonderful idea. Let me know when you figure out how to prevent terrorists from parking explosive-filled vehicles in it. Why do you think all the underground garages that used be in DC are now gone?

Posted by: cjmark | July 8, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Disregard the metro shills. They promote the use of metro so they have less competition on the road. Once metro runs properly and has working AC/Heating we can bring up this discussion again. Till then DC is in need of some good parking spots.

Posted by: gotpaint32 | July 8, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

cjmark: And what's to prevent an explosive-laden "tour bus" from parking in front of the National Gallery of Art or or explosive-laden suicide bombers from getting onto a crowded Metro train at the Smithsonian station?

Posted by: WashingtonDame | July 8, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Why disregard the Metro shills? DC will get more parking when hell freezes over.

You all sound so important, supporting a ridiculous fantasy. What's more, times are changing, making such a stupid suggestion even less likely every. Dinosaurs.

Posted by: Wallenstein | July 8, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

How about actually watering the Mall?

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | July 9, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Why on earth would we build things to improve the VISITOR experience (e.g. parking lots at the national mall, that we residents will likely never use), that will consequently make our own experience worse by adding more traffic on all the roads in the city?

This is the first time I've ever heard anyone arguing that we need to coddle the visitors who will spend two days here.

Last I heard they all loved metro and they fill it up on weekends when we aren't using it. This is a solution in search of a problem.

Posted by: jamietre | July 14, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

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