The Georgetown Current reported yesterday that various Georgetown leaders have been meeting recently to consider revamping Georgetown’s parking regulations. According to author Carol Buckley, members of the ANC, the BID and CAG are part of the ad hoc group.
The article indicates that among the options the group is considering is the concept of performance parking. Actually, they didn’t use that term exactly but the substance of the proposals mentioned amount to a type of performance parking.
GM laid out his out vision of performance parking for Georgetown way back in March. In a nutshell: performance parking attempts to price street-side parking in a way to discourage long-term use of the space. Cities using this approach raise the parking meter price high enough to ensure that there are always a decent number of spaces open. If people want to park longer term, they are encouraged to use the pay garages, of which Georgetown has plenty.
In Georgetown, it would also call for a change to neighborhood parking. A plan could introduce metered parking to the side streets. This would help avoid simply moving more cars from M and Wisconsin to the back streets instead of to the garages (or better yet, the bus). Those concerned about the unattractiveness of meters in front of their homes could hopefully be satisfied with the new multi-space meters or even with signs that instruct drivers how to pay by cell phone.
Detractors will accuse the city of just trying to grab more revenue. And to some extent that’s true. But there’s no such thing as cheap or free parking. You either pay with your time or your money. If the city ends up with more money that can be directed towards improving transportation (or securing long term funding of the Circulator) all the better.
As long as Georgetown’s mandarins are considering revamping parking in Georgetown, GM would like to point them to another of his posts where he showed that a small minority of households contribute a disproportionate share of cars to Georgetown’s streets. Only twenty-three percent of Georgetown households have more than one car, yet they own forty-six percent of all the cars in town. For that reason, Georgetown should work with DDOT to make the second, third or fourth residential parking permit (“RPP”) for each household significantly more expensive than the first. That money should also be directed to improving transportation through Georgetown.
We cannot build any more supply of parking spots in Georgetown. If we want to improve the parking situation, we must reduce demand.