Some Pentagon employes discovered over the last few days that their favorite "free" parking spaces have been converted to a pay lot.
The 1,200-space parking lot, located at the extreme north end of the Pentagon off Washington Boulevard, has been leased by the General Services Administration to Colonial Parking. Colonial is charging $1 a day or $12 a month for contract parking.
George Cook, vice president of Colonial, said that in its first two days, the lot has attracted about 250 customers daily and has signed over 100 monthly contracts. In an effort to attract customers, Cook also said Colonial will experiment with a shuttle bus to the Arlington Cemetery Metro stop about 0.7 miles away.
Cook said the new arrangement had been greeted with equanimity by most people -- with the exception of an Army major who "cursed out" the Colonial parking attendant.
During the Bicentennial, the lot was designated a "fringe" parking area for tourists, according to Jay Cohen, a GSA transportation specialist.Cohen said that over the last three years, the GSA turned a blind eye as the lot was freely used by Pentagon workers.
"We'd have had to put up a barricade to keep people out," Cohen said. "But then, it would have been kind of nonsensical to chase people out of space we weren't using."