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Time Has Come for Metro Lot Parking

By Ron Shaffer
Sunday, March 27, 2005; Page C02

From time to time, readers ask for an update on what time Metro parking facilities fill up. Here is the status report for this month, provided by Metro.

It is interesting to note that parking at eight of the 35 stations does not fill up. That could allow some commuters to use these lots instead of searching for spots at more crowded parking facilities.

The stations with parking that does not fill up are: White Flint, Landover, Addison Road-Seat Pleasant, Morgan Boulevard, Largo Town Center and Prince George's Plaza in Maryland; Anacostia in the District; and West Falls Church-Virginia Tech-University of Virginia in Northern Virginia.

Most of those stations accommodate more than 1,000 vehicles, with parking for more than 2,000 at Largo and West Falls Church.

Here are the approximate times that other Metro parking facilities become full:

Montgomery County: Rockville, 7 a.m.; Glenmont, 7:30 a.m.; Forest Glen, 8 a.m.; Grosvenor-Strathmore, Shady Grove and Wheaton, 10 a.m.; and Twinbrook, 11 a.m.

Prince George's County: New Carrollton, Cheverly and Capitol Heights, 7:30 a.m.; College Park-University of Maryland, Suitland and Branch Avenue, 8 a.m.; West Hyattsville and Naylor Road, 8:30 a.m.; Greenbelt and Southern Avenue, 9 a.m.

The District: Deanwood, Minnesota Avenue, Rhode Island Avenue and Fort Totten, 8 a.m. Metro operates no other parking facilities at District Metro stations except for Anacostia, which does not fill up.

Northern Virginia: Huntington, Dunn Loring-Merrifield, Franconia-Springfield, Van Dorn Street and East Falls Church, 8 a.m.; Vienna/Fairfax-George Mason University, 9:30 a.m.

Parking Lot Paradox

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

This might be a dumb question, but how are you supposed to get out of a Metro parking garage if you can't find a parking space and don't have the required SmarTrip card to exit?

I drove into the Franconia-Springfield Metro parking garage recently and, after 20 minutes of searching, I couldn't find a parking spot. Fortunately, I happened to have a SmarTrip card and was able to exit. That prompted two questions:

1. If you drive into a Metro parking garage and cannot find a place to park, then how are you expected to purchase a SmarTrip card to get out? (SmarTrip cards are inside Metro stations.)

2. If you drive into a Metro parking garage and cannot find a space, why are you required to pay to exit? For the privilege of touring their parking facility?

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