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Demand-based parking meter prices take effect in downtown DC

The meters affected by the pilot program are outlined in red on the map. (Courtesy DC.gov)

WASHINGTON — Paying for a metered parking spot in some parts of downtown D.C. may get a bit trickier: A new parking meter rate schedule starts Monday in the District’s Penn Quarter and Chinatown neighborhoods.

The nation’s capital is experimenting with demand-based parking, which will result in drivers paying increased or decreased prices, depending on the expected demand for spots during a given time period.

The normal cost for an hour at a city meter near Verizon Center, the National Portrait Gallery and the National Building Museum has been $2.30, but now motorists can expect some prices to change — going up to as much as $2.75 during peak hours and as little as $2.00 during quiet times. The zone is bordered by H Street Northwest from, 3rd Street Northwest, E Street Northwest and 11 Street Northwest.

Not all blocks will change prices at the same time and some blocks won’t see the price change at all.

On its website, the District Department of Transportation said it will evaluate the effectiveness of the pilot project, which will include looking at the public’s feedback on the program. District transit officials also said more adjustments to the meters will come in January 2017.

Some motorists are not happy with the move.

“Many motorists believe the District is simply monetizing the acute shortage of curbside parking in the city with rates changing every three months in the pilot area,” said John Townsend with AAA Mid-Atlantic in a news release on the pilot program.

Townsend said in the past year that the District issued more than 1.6 million parking tickets and collected more than $87 million in parking fines, plus more than $40 million in parking meter revenue.

DDOT said the parking meter and ticket revenue, which isn’t used to cover the programs operating cost, will go to WMATA.

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