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To date, employees of the General Services Administration have all be able to park for free at their federal office buildings. Come August, that’ll change. This all-staff email went out recently:

MEMORANDUM FOR ALL GSA EMPLOYEES IN THE NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION

FROM: CATHLEEN C. KRONOPOLUS, REGIONAL COMMISSIONER, PUBLIC BUILDINGS SERVICE, NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION

SUBJECT: Important changes to parking In the National Capital Region

As of August 1, 2011, all GSA personnel (employees and contractors) who park in a federal building or in a GSA-leased location in the National Capital Region will be required to pay for parking.

GSA recognizes that it has a responsibility to increase the sustainability of the Federal government and can do so by reducing the environmental impact of the green house gas emissions we generate. One way we can do that is by reducing incentives such as free parking. Charging for parking is commensurate with common private sector practice.

GSA encourages other modes of transportation (biking, rail, bus, etc.) and the use of telework/mobile work.

Priority for assigning parking spaces will remain the same. Additional information will be sent in the next couple of weeks including a link that will describe the process, payment, and points of contact.

There will be no changes in parking space assignments – if you have a space today, you will not lose it when the payment program takes effect. In the event you do not wish to pay for your parking space, effective August 1st, you will be able to cancel your space.

This is a huge advance, and it’ll also be a fascinating study in how having to pay for parking changes peoples’ behavior. GSA, unlike the National Park Service, has also been forward-thinking about including alternative transit infrastructure like Bikeshare stations. And maybe the bureaucracy will get the legislative branch to finally change as well!

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P.S. FOR THE RECORD UPDATE, July 28 5:00 p.m. – GSA’s National Capital Region has 1,646 employees, and will be the agency’s first region to charge for parking.