Effort to extend meter hours in Arlington delayed again

ARLINGTON, Va. — Arlington wants people to pay to park for two more hours in the evening, but a proposal to do so has been delayed while efforts continue to build public support.

Arlington lawmakers delayed a vote this summer on the proposal that would’ve extended many meters from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. County staff was due to bring the proposal back this week, but the staff needs more time to get ready for another discussion on the issue.

“We’re doing a public outreach to talk to the community about why we need to manage our parking,” says Carol Mitten, Deputy County Manager.

Arlington residents who opposed the idea were worried about how it would affect their ability to park overnight. Employees who opposed the idea pointed out that they park on the street and work an eight-hour shift at a restaurant or bar, and thus cannot leave to move their cars.

Mitten counters that ending meter payments at 6 p.m. causes fewer spots to be open and forces people to circle to find an open space.

“We would like to eliminate the circling for a bunch of reasons. One is that people are distracted doing it, which is a safety concern. It’s also not good for the environment just circle the block in their car,” says Mitten.

Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz is also in talks with several apps to enhance parking in the garages. Apps such as ParkedIn, Parking Panda and Spot Hero allow people to reserve a spot in a parking garage ahead of time, often at a discount. Schwartz hopes to reach a deal with one of those apps in the near future.

“This would be a great thing to have when we finally bring back the issue of extending the meters hours to the board. If we can simultaneously marry that with the roll out of one or more of these apps, then I think we can show that we’re aligning our efforts with the private sector,” says Mitten.

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