With COVID-19 cases declining and 31% of the local population fully vaccinated, more people appear to be out and about in Arlington, according to recent county parking data.
Arlington County logged more than 266,500 and 263,000 parking meter transactions in March and April, respectively — the highest these numbers have been since October when cases started mounting for the second time in 2020.
The figures are one indication that Arlington has returned to a level of activity last seen in Arlington late last summer when case numbers were low and the state lifted many of the restrictions on daily life.
While parking numbers have recovered from the second and larger wave of coronavirus, the road to pre-pandemic parking levels may still be a long one. The transactions this spring are roughly 40% lower than they were in the spring of 2019.
The parking transaction trends appear to be the inverse of COVID-19 cases in Arlington.
Parking transactions dropped dramatically between October to November, during which time coronavirus cases started rising. Parking transactions bounced back in March and remained at similar levels in April; meanwhile, COVID-19 cases have reached their lowest point since October.
Today, the Virginia Dept. of Health reported only five new cases in Arlington, after nine new cases were reported yesterday — the first two-day stretch of single-digit new cases in the county since Sept. 1-2.
Arlington’s recently-adopted budget projects parking revenue getting close to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the 2022 fiscal year, “but there is a lot of uncertainty about that assumption,” parking manager Stephen Crim said.
The county has a long way to go to recover lost parking revenue, which plummeted from a 2019 peak of nearly 500,000 transactions in August to fewer than 60,000 transactions in April 2020.
If the revenue trends from April continue into May and June, however, parking revenue for the second quarter of 2021 could surpass the $1.4 million that the county logged through March, county officials say.
“A return to pre-pandemic levels will depend not only on how quickly jurisdictions lift restrictions on places like restaurants but also on how comfortable people feel going back to their usual activities,” Crim said. “Also, there may be medium- or long-term changes to the way people shop, socialize and conduct business meetings, which could affect parking in Arlington, just like everywhere else.”
In February, Gov. Ralph Northam rolled back a 10 p.m. alcohol curfew for restaurants to midnight, and by mid-May, he is expected to raise the caps on venue capacity and social gatherings, while lifting the curfew on liquor sales. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cleared Americans to be outside without a mask in most situations. Soon after, Virginia followed suit.
Although transactions levels are lower, the overall patterns of where people park are generally similar to pre-pandemic patterns, Crim said.
“A quick look at some of our meter data indicates that areas that were popular pre-pandemic remain popular today and areas that were less popular are still less popular,” he said.
He did not indicate whether the county expects a new pilot program that prices parking by demand along Metro corridors — approved by the County Board in December — will impact parking transaction rates.
Arlington’s Department of Environmental Services will be conducting the performance parking pilot to improve parking management, “regardless of the overall number of people who want to park in Arlington,” Crim said.
“We started planning for this pilot well before the pandemic struck and we don’t see the pilot as an opportunity to shore up revenue,” he said.
Charts compiled by ARLnow using data from Arlington County and Virginia Department of Health
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Arlington and its neighbors have become more segregated in the last 10 years while fair housing legislation at the state level faces significant roadblocks. Arlington’s fair housing enforcement, education, and commitment to equity practices in housing policy and programs are beginning to show signs of improvement but much more needs to be done.
Join the NAACP Arlington Branch, HOME of Virginia, and Equal Rights Center for the 2nd Annual Arlington Fair Housing Conference on April 15th to discuss the threats and opportunities to advancing fair housing policy across the state and within Arlington.
The half-day, in-person event will feature speakers from fair housing advocacy organizations and government agencies including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and focus on fair housing policy trends in Virginia and Arlington County. The conference aims to advance the understanding of issues and policies related to equity and affirmatively further fair housing among local officials, advocates, and members of the public.
2nd Annual Arlington Fair Housing Conference
Is home ownership a goal of yours in 2023? Now is the time to make it happen! Grab a (virtual) drink with the area’s top Real Estate experts, learn all about the home buying process and on how you can get $1,500 towards your closing costs immediately!
Did you know the average Arlington renter will spend $150K in 5 years of renting? Stop paying down someone else’s mortgage! Join us for a Rent vs. Buy Happy Hour on Wednesday, April 5th at 6 p.m. via Zoom. If this time doesn’t work, we also are offering times convenient for your schedule!
A lot has happened in the local market since the beginning of the pandemic. Sip on your drink of choice and learn from Northern Virginia, Arlington and Washingtonian Magazines top producing agents! We will discuss the latest market updates, the home buying process and rent vs. buy cost savings. Please RSVP by clicking here.
Call/text Manavi at 703-869-6698 with any questions!
Private School Fair
Congressional School to Host MONA Private School Fair Thursday, April 27 at 6:30 PM
Congressional School in Falls Church, VA is delighted to host the MONA (Mothers of North Arlington) at an upcoming Private School Fair. Private schools from around
WHS Spring Festival
Join us at the WHS Spring Festival on April 22, 2023, from 10am- 3pm at Wakefield High School(main parking lot). Come out to shop, play, and eat!
Shop local vendors, arts & crafts, new and used items, food vendors/trucks, and