District's added parking-fee hours do businesses no good

Monday, March 14, 2011; 8:06 PM

Not too long ago, the D.C. government expanded the hours when on-street parking fees are charged from weekdays to Saturdays. I was surprised last weekend to learn that the District is even levying parking fees in certain parts of the city until 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

For those having dinner or going to evening events in Penn Quarter and other "premium demand zones," this means having to pay for on-street parking. The latter often entails leaving in the middle of a film or performance to feed a meter.

I rarely see D.C. drivers get stopped for serious moving violations such as speeding or running red lights on downtown streets, but the laxity doesn't extend to parking. The District appears to have deployed a legion of meter readers well into the night to issue tickets to unsuspecting motorists who erroneously think parking limits end at 6:30 p.m., the way they used to.

You might think, during these tough economic times, that the D.C. government would try to do everything it could to attract customers to downtown businesses in the evening. Instead, it appears to be doing just the opposite. This makes no sense.

Mark L. Asquino, Washington

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