The cost of street parking in the District will go up next month — a lot.
The city is readying to implement a new parking fee structure that sets hourly parking rates at $2.30 citywide and brings the cost of parking in non-commercial areas of the District on par with those in higher demand zones such as downtown.
Under the changes, parking prices in “premium demand zones” or heavy commercial areas will go from $2 to $2.30 per hour. But the change is even more substantial in the “Normal Demand Zones” or residential areas where the cost to park will more than double from $0.75 to $2.30. The increase, which was ordered by the D.C. Council last year, will go into effect June 1.
While it’s bad news for drivers– and will surely add to the growing frustrations concerning street parking in the city, the D.C. Department of Transportation said the increase will generate up to $2 million in fiscal year 2016 and those funds will go to pay for operations of the region’s troubled Metro system.
DDOT said it will reprogram nearly 15,000 parking meters over the next several weeks, and the city’s pay-by-phone vendor will update software to reflect the new rate structure.
The new rates have been criticized by drivers and their advocates who say motorists already have to deal with the city’s aggressive ticketing practices and high fines, while the District continues to rake in tens of millions of dollars in fines. AAA’s spokesman John Townsend said this fiscal year the city was set to make even more as fines were upped $5 on the first day of the fiscal year.
“It is the latest case of motorists getting nickel and dimed for parking,” Townsend said of the price hike. “There is an acute shortage of curbside parking in the city and motorists are taking it on the chin in their quest to find a parking space…Now in two weeks, they will pay even more to park as parking meter rates jump more than 200 percent at some meters, and 15 percent at most.”
Commercial zones are also included in the upcoming change, and DDOT said commercial vehicles can buy a annual parking pass for $324, or a $25 day pass. Here are the new rates:
- Premium Demand Zones will go from $2 to $2.30 an hour.
- Normal Demand Zones will go from $0.75 to $2.30 an hour
- Commercial Loading Zones will go from $2 to $2.30 an hour