Sunday, May 29, 2011

D.C. Councilman proposes raising Parking Fees

Like many cities, D.C. is confronted with growing car ownership and limited parking spaces. Studies have shown "some households park five, six, seven and even more cars on residential streets" - which causes people to shape their lives around parking, in hopes to find a space close to home or their destination. D.C. Councilman, Tommy Wells, proposes an increase for parking permits; "fees would allow households that legitimately need several cars to continue using street parking, but it would also encourage them to seek alternatives." Right now, D.C. resident's are issued parking permits by house - the permit costs around $15 a year. Wells proposed an incremental increase per vehicle, "$35 for a first sticker and, because many households have two adult drivers, charge an only slightly higher fee of $50 for the second. Only after the second car would the cost of a permit double to $100." Wells argues that parking is undervalued especially when comparing the price paid for public uses - the annual fees for placing a dumpster ($1,676), moving container ($3,650) or moving truck ($18,250) is far higher. He also mentions the selling of alley parking spaces on craiglist at $250 a month.

The city could also use the revenue. Wells proposal will raise an additional $1.1 million for transit projects in D.C. Without the parking fees, D.C. will be faced with transit cuts - "That means the 37 percent of D.C. households that do not own a car and probably depend on Metro for their basic transportation would lose a city service, while those who own cars would continue receiving a tangible city benefit for only a nominal fee." As Wells puts it, sounds like a "win-win" to me.