Park somewhere else, why don’t cha?

So DC has a parking problem. That isn’t news to anyone who lives here. And now Mayor Williams says he’s gonna help alleviate the parking woes by capping the number of cars allotted per household at three and raising residential parking permit fees for one permit from $15 to $25. A permit for a second car would cost $50 and the third would be $100.

Now we’re hearing all the usual bitching, most saying that the parking problem isn’t local DC residents, but out-of-area cars on the streets at night – permanent residents not registering in DC, temporary District visitors just in for the weekend, and evening commuters (bar/restaruant staff) . While that is somewhat true, you have to change local DC resident’s actions as much as those driving in.

How to do that? By getting real. Charging $25 for a parking permit is stupid cheap. If you want to effect change, you have to make it hurt to continue the current activity and feel good by changing the activity. I say charge $100 per year for an on-street permit or get a $100 tax credit if you do not have an on-street parking permit but have a DC driver’s license and $50 if you have both a license and a car, but no on-street registration. Then graduate the second and third permit prices higher – say $250 and $500. Last but not least, make most residential streets permit zoned 100% of the time.

This would have two effects:
1) People going car free DC would be rewarded the most. People with cars, but with off-street parking would be rewarded slightly. Those with on-street parking, using the most limited/expensive to the city resource would pay the most. People would change their habits accordingly.

2) People driving in on nights and weekends, if they live here or not, would be punished if they didn’t use a parking garage and tried use the limited street parking. As one who had a Florida-registered car in DC for three years before giving it to Mom the day I lost my off-street parking, I can attest to how fast unregistered cars belonging to residents would be registered or disappear. For those that come in from other areas (in the District or outside) who don’t like to pay for parking, two words: Metro, Taxi

Now if we only had a Mayor and Council members with the balls to try that…

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

Married, mortgaged, and soon to be a father, Wayan Vota is in the fast lane to mid-life respectability – until the day his brood finds his intimate journal of global traveling and curses him with the ever-eternal reply “I’m gonna be just like you, Dad!”

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