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I would like to respond to Colin Bane’s recent article (“No Quarter,” 9/18) regarding the District’s newly enacted parking-fee moratorium. I introduced the Parking Meter Fee Moratorium Amendment Act of 1998 as a means of encouraging more people to shop in the District as opposed to heading out to suburban destinations, and I think it will help the District go a long way toward meeting that objective.
From the outset, however, my bill included a three-hour limit for parking in order to ensure parking-space turnover. I did not want non-shopping employees or others to take up free parking spaces all day.
In addition, there were no exemptions included in my introduced version. The ability to exempt certain commercial areas from the law was included at the request of the mayor to ensure the timely turnover of parking spaces around such destinations as the MCI Center. While I would have preferred a citywide moratorium without restriction, I, along with the rest of the D.C. Council, agreed to grant some authority for exemptions to the mayor and the Department of Public Works.
Since the purpose of the law was to attract more shoppers with up to three hours of free parking, however, I hope that the exemptions will be few and far between. Otherwise, all we do is gut a good economic development initiative. And the Parking Meter Fee Moratorium Amendment Act of 1998 is a good economic development initiative.