Two Hour Parking Permits in Restricted Zones Are Premature

Comments at Arlington County Board Meeting, February 20, 2021.

I’m here speaking on my own behalf and not on behalf of the Transportation Commission, of which I am a member. The Transportation Commission heard this item on February 4, voting to adopt staff recommendations with 2 nay votes.

While staff reported that that there is general consensus that the Residential Park Program (RPP) ought to pay for itself and the need to expand program eligibility to all dwelling types within an RPP zone, civic associations along the R&B and Route 1 corridors object to 2 hour paid parking in RPP zones. These civic associations believe that their neighborhoods are already overparked, that sufficient paid parking exists within adjacent commercial districts and that enforcement will become all but impossible due to the inability of neighbors to monitor compliance on non-metered streets.

In recognition of these concerns, Planning Commission Chair Jim Lantelme stated that while paid parking is a good idea in some neighborhoods, a one size fits all approach won’t work. Adoption of the program is premature until such time as these issues are worked out. Transportation Chair Chris Slatt and I agreed.

Echoing the comments of Daniel Weir at a joint Planning and Transportation Commission meeting on January 25, I commented that the obvious solution to the disparate parking patterns across the County is dynamic or demand pricing.

Other commission members disagreed, arguing that dynamic pricing is prohibitively expensive. Presenting no data to support that claim, they voted down Lantelme’s amendment to defer consideration of paid parking until such time as staff can address the outstanding issues.

In light of public opposition to two hour paid parking in R&B and Pentagon City neighborhoods, I think the Transportation Commission vote to approve staff’s recommendation without amendment was ill considered.

I also believe it’s unfair to put the onus of a restructured parking program on the backs of homeowners. When this ordinance goes into effect, their annual permit fees will be doubled while on street residential parking will become scarcer. This is inequitable.

At a minimum the RPP ordinance should be amended to provide an adequate enforcement mechanism and a feasible way to prevent over parking on residential streets in RPP zones.

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