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Posted at 11:40 AM ET, 09/10/2010

Gray isn't wrong on parking complaints

By David Alpert

Vince Gray has made some urbanists nervous with statements criticizing recent D.C. meter fee increases and about rolling back later parking meter hours. Actually, he's correct in recognizing the problems with recent parking policy changes, even if his recommendations don't yet include some of the nuances and language that would satisfy parking experts.

What are the problems? Gray has said he's hearing from small businesses that recent meter increases are keeping customers away. He's also hearing from residents that the requirement to pay at meters into the evening is forcing people to leave restaurants in the middle of the meal to add quarters, or to decide to skip dessert entirely, to the detriment of the restaurant.

These are fair criticisms. The last few rounds of parking rate increases were applied across the board in many neighborhoods without real regard for occupancy levels. Mayor Adrian Fenty's recommendation to raise rates to $3 an hour across most of Ward 2 was the worst, equally hitting areas where meters are nearly impossible to find at busy times, like M Street in Georgetown or U Street, and areas that aren't really so full, as well as charging the same at low-demand midday times as on the busiest Saturday nights.

Also, meters that require eight quarters for an hour are a huge hassle. Just look at the way people of all stripes complain about "7½ minutes for a quarter" but would find a $2 an hour parking garage an amazing steal. But having to keep stacks of quarters is a huge deterrent. To their credit, DDOT is aggressively testing new meter technology including credit card meters, pay by phone and pay by text message, but these aren't yet available everywhere.

[Continue reading David Alpert's post at Greater Greater Washington.]

David Alpert is founder and editor of Greater Greater Washington. The
Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By David Alpert  | September 10, 2010; 11:40 AM ET
Categories:  Adams Morgan, D.C., D.C. politics, Fenty, HotTopic, Local blog network, Mayor Fenty, traffic  
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You don't seem to get it, Mr. Alpert. We don't want any more stinkin' cars jammin' up city streets. If one wants to recreate downtown after dark, they can pay for garage parking, walk, bike, or take a cab or mass transit.

And if one is too poor or too unfit to manage any of the simple options above, then one has no business spending money downtown in the first place.

Stay home, save money, eat modestly and exercise.

Posted by: HenryPotter | September 10, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

The parking fees are impacting small businesses and working folks who would like to patronize the few businesses downtown and restaurants, without worrying about quarters. The high parking fees cause families to drive across the 14th street bridge to shop in va. Change it Mr. Gray when you are elected mayor.

Posted by: maserfentyaintnogood | September 11, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

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