County Board Approves Parking Meter Rate Increase

Parking metersThe price of street parking in Arlington is going up.

The Arlington County Board on Saturday approved a 25 cent-per-hour rise in metered parking rates. The rate increase is expected to be implemented in September and bring in nearly $1 million per year in extra revenue.

(The increase won’t apply to some reduced-rate meters, currently priced between $0.50-0.75 an hour.)

The Board unanimously approved the rate increase and also voted unanimously to delay action on a proposed extension of metered parking hours from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. A public hearing on parking hours is now planned for September.

In a press release (after the jump), the county said that the rate increase is being being made due to increased parking demand. The higher rate will help ensure “that businesses that need short-term parking spaces on the street for their customers are more likely to have them available,” said County Board Chair Mary Hynes.

The Arlington County Board today approved a 25 cent-per-hour increase in metered parking rates. The new rates will result in more efficient management and utilization of curb space during evening peak periods and help cover rising operating costs. The expected effective date is September 7, 2015.

The Board voted 5 to 0 to amend the Motor Vehicles and Traffic chapter of the Code of Arlington County to increase parking meter rates. The new maximum hourly rate for metered long-term parking (four hours or more) will be $1.25 per hour, up from $1 per hour. The maximum hourly rate for short-term rates will increase from $1.25 per hour to $1.50. The increased fee will not be applied to meters currently priced at 50-75 cents an hour.

“Our Master Transportation Plan anticipated that, as the County grows, optimizing on-street parking opportunities to serve businesses, would likely require rate and hour adjustments” said Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes. “We’ve reached the point today, particularly in our urban villages such as Clarendon and Rosslyn, that street parking is in high demand. Raising the rates to levels closer to the rates charged in nearby parking garages and closer to those of the rest of the region will help level the playing field ensuring that businesses that need short-term parking spaces on the street for their customers are more likely to have them available.”

The increase in rates is expected to increase parking meter revenues by $950,000 in Fiscal Year 2016, which begins July 1, 2015.

The Board deferred action on a staff recommendation to also extend operating hours for metered parking by two hours, from the current 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. operating hours to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. operating hours. Citing the need for more public outreach and conversations with the business community and residents about the impact of extending operating hours, the Board voted 5 to 0 to hold a public hearing at its September Meeting on the staff proposal to extend hours.

The County uses parking meters to encourage parking turnover and to manage curb space, particularly during times of greatest demand. In areas where short-term parking is needed, the rates can help encourage parking turnover and the use of off-street parking garages. The changes will also help achieve the goals adopted in the Parking Element of Arlington’s Master Transportation Plan.

Rates were last raised in 2011. Since then, curbside management pressures and parking operating costs have increased particularly in the evenings, while Arlington’s parking meter rates have remained the same and lower than other rates in the region. Existing rates in neighboring communities range from $1.25 per hour to $2 per hour.  Arlington’s hours of meter operation also are not comparable with adjacent jurisdictions, and are not in compliance with hours of peak demand.

County staff have reached out to the business community through the County’s Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), Partnerships, AOBA (Apartment and Office Building Association), BizLaunch newsletter and the Chamber of Commerce. The general public were notified through Civic Associations, the Civic Federation, postings on the website and social media. The proposal has been discussed with the County’s Transportation Commission.  Staff will continue to reach out to the public in the coming months, in preparation for the September public hearing before the Board on extending hours of meter operation.

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