For a while, I contemplated a headline inspired by that old Braveheart line: “You can take our parking, but you can never take our freedom!” That’s the tone of commenters laying into a fresh Washington Post article about new parking policies around the D.C. metro area.
Here’s a roundup: MoCo is considering decreasing their parking requirements. In Tyson’s Corner, where new Metro stations are being constructed, buildings will no longer be required to have a parking minimum. And Arlington County and D.C. are experimenting with parking meters that can be easily adjusted up to try to lessen demand.
Here’s a sampling of what people are saying about the news:
“Bunch of car haters, pure and simple. Good luck attracting people who don’t live in the neighborhood to your business.”
“This sounds great on paper, but just where is all this transit we are being forced on to? I live in a fairly Metro dense area but… driving or staying home always seem to be better options.”
“This article says nothing about how metro’s quality and frequency of service would need to be improved in order to meet the demands of all these new non-drivers. Otherwise it will be a nightmare scenario all around.”
“The metro area has many well educated people with a lot of discretionary income. They will not choose to be inconvenienced and have their time wasted trying to run multiple errands and carry a lot of crap around using public transportation. Nor will they allow themselves to be ripped off by outrageous parking fees. They will simply shop where it is still car friendly.”
And to them, I say…I empathize with you deeply. I live in the District now—five blocks from the Metro in one direction, and nine blocks in the other. It’s great. I’d never want a car here, if only to avoid the parking fees and the DMV, which seems to implant a kind of post-traumatic stress syndrome in people forced to battle the waits there.
But over the weekend, I found myself car-less in Bethesda, walking a mile in the rain to the Metro, with no Circulator whizzing by every six minutes. No buses at all, actually.
God, it was miserable. I think the last few commenters were right. If Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority doesn’t up its game—-providing new bus lines, increasing Metro service during the usually irregular night and weekend hours, and generally speeding up, well, everything—- the various jurisdictions are going to have a bunch of angry drivers to deal with. And they’ll be demanding more parking where it wasn’t provided in the first place.
Image by Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project