The search for parking in downtown Bethesda, Md., is about to become more difficult as one of the area’s most popular parking lots is closing.
The lot at the corner of Woodmont and Bethesda avenues shuts down in January. Some rows will be closed next month.
“This lot's been very important,” said shopper Marnie Shaul. “It serves as a gathering spot. It really serves all these businesses right around here and having it here makes it easy to use those businesses. Once these lots, both sides, are gone and the road is closed, it's going to be tough to find parking nearby.”
The 300 parking spaces will be replaced by a new development by Stonebridge Carras. That includes more apartments and retail. It also includes an underground parking garage with 600 new spaces. But it won't be finished for three years.
Some businesses are worried about the short term impact.
“I hear about parking being an issue in Bethesda already, so the fact that they're closing down another parking lot is going to be tough for us,” said Gregory Konoshima, of Bethesda Bagel. “I guess if they have a vision for the future for us, then good for them, but it's going to suck for us for the next three years.”
A section of Woodmont Avenue also will be closed during construction.
Montgomery County plans to create 150 short-term parking spaces and expand Circulator bus service during rush hour.