Poor Suburbanites Feel Parking Pinch of Density

By Mike Tunison
|  Tuesday, Oct 20, 2009  |  Updated 2:45 PM EDT
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Poor Suburbanites Feel Parking Pinch of Density

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Even at a time when Metro threatens cuts to its services, the proliferation of development and sprawl in the inner suburbs has pushed officials to adopt standards that get people to use their cars less and public transit more.

For example, according to The Washington Post, Arlington County officials are planning to adopt changes that would have demand drive parking rates.  Meters would be constantly monitored by the county, with fees increasing when occupancy rates in spaces rise.

Arlington is hardly alone in taking these measures. The District has already experimented with them in Ward 6 on streets close to Capitol Hill and the Navy Yard, where parking can go as high as $35 for three hours on days the Nationals are playing. Last year, the city also eliminated its requirements for minimum parking for new developments. The code in Tysons has lowered the amount of parking spaces required per 1,000 square feet of office space.

So obviously a sea change has been undertaken from the early days of the suburbs, when parking was not only plentiful, but in some cases excessive. But it takes more than imposing increased fees to break America's long-held car culture. It takes more efficient and attractive options in public transit. And for the most part, leaders aren't offering these at the same time that they're punishing drivers.

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