DC council members defend parking meter price hike

You might want to bring some extra change the next time you park in D.C. The price to park at meters is going up. Many drivers are not happy about it, and when FOX 5 asked Mayor Muriel Bowser about the price hike, she placed blame on the D.C. Council, which ordered the higher rates last year.

Now, starting on June 1, it will cost $2.30 an hour to park at any meter in the city. It is an increase from $.75 per hour in "normal demand zones" and up from $2 an hour in "premium demand zones" and "commercial loading zones."

FOX 5 spoke with D.C. Councilmembers Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) and Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) about the rate increase and they said it will help raise an extra $6 to $10 million a year. That money will be used to help fund Metro and the upcoming maintenance repairs.

The higher prices will also encourage more turnaround for parking spaces. We are told that many people, especially in downtown, like to park at meters while at work. They will come out every hour or two to feed the meter and use the space for the majority of the day at a cheaper rate instead of parking in garages.

Also, in some places, especially where the fee is $.75 per hour, some council members said it was simply too cheap to park, and they even compared it to other major cities that are charging more.

"There is no such thing as free parking," said Cheh. "These are public spaces. They are valuable and we want people to be able to park for their errands and whatever they are doing. But these are not meant to be parking spaces for your entire day at work."

"They were parking at the meters and just staying all day because it was so cheap," said Evans. "And downtown, if you want to go to Macy's or a restaurant, you could never get a spot because they were all taken all day. So we decided to find a rational number, which $2.30 was."

For the business community, they told us they like the meter price increase because a lot more people will come through at their businesses.

Online: ddot.dc.gov/page/parking-meters