Free parking on the National Mall will soon end

(AP) -- Free parking on the National Mall will soon be coming to an end.

The National Park Service has long planned to install parking meters in about 1,200 spaces that are currently free. The park service says installation of those meters will begin on or after May 15. The meters are scheduled to be activated on June 12.

Parking will cost $2 per hour, with a limit of three hours per space. The park service says charging for parking will reduce traffic, accommodate more visitors and encourage more efficient travel.

AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman John Townsend says drivers and tourists "are skeptical" of that claim. The auto club argues that parking is already scarce along the mall.

Drivers with disabled placards also will have to pay, which is consistent with city policy.

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