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Arlington Mulls Tour Bus Parking Meters

Officials said a proposal to install new tour bus parking meters could net Arlington thousands in fees and could help the county bring in $1 million in new visitor spending.

County officials have proposed installing the meters at popular tourist spots such as the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, the Village at Shirlington, Crystal City, and Ballston. Bus operators would have to cough up $3 per hour to park along curbs, where they currently park in designated spots for free.

County officials said the parking meters alone would generate an estimated $90,000 per year. But a private research firm and the Arlington Economic Development Commission Tourism Committee said a growing tour bus industry could bring in new revenue to local restaurants that cater to large groups, netting the county over $37,000 in combined new sales, meals and transient occupancy taxes, according to county documents.

“It’s just time that we do this,” said Arlington parking manager Sarah Stott. “In a recent parking review, the county board said we should look at every space available and make sure that it’s used properly, and this is just part of that effort.”

In addition to charging for hourly parking, officials said hotel owners are looking to add overnight bus parking in their lots. Bus operators parking overnight in Arlington would spend about $30 per night — less than in neighboring Alexandria and Washington, where overnight bus parking can cost up to $50.

If the meters are installed, drivers who don’t pay, or have an expired meter, would be fined $60 — $20 higher than most other parking fines in the county.

Stott said it would initially cost $90,000 to have meters and proper signage installed. Annual maintenance fees would cost $13,000.

The county Board of Supervisors will discuss the proposal at Saturday’s board meeting. If approved, a public hearing will be held later this month.

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