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City Council approves potential pay-by-phone parking increase in Alexandria

Paying to park your car in Alexandria by phone could be getting more expensive soon.

Alexandria’s City Council voted unanimously on Saturday to enable staff to up the cost of pay-by-phone parking.

The current rate in those zones is $1.75 per hour, but the new ordinance would allow the Director of Transportation and Environmental Services to set a rate of up to $5 per hour.

The goal of the change is to push drivers parking in Old Town towards the city’s underused garages, though several members of the City Council noted that’s unlikely to happen without more wayfinding toward those garages.

Council member Sarah Bagley said it might be worth looking into adding additional signs, either as standalone A-frame signs or onto the existing parking signs, highlighting where the nearest parking garage is. Another suggestion from City Council member Kirk McPike was allowing local restaurants to validate parking. City staff said both options would be examined.

One possibility raised to alleviate parking woes of residents of Old Town residents unable to park near their homes was to set more zones as residential-only, but city staff said there are several problems with this option.

“The conversation about resident-only parking has been recurring,” said Yon Lambert, director of the city’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services. “It was considered in previous iterations of the Old Town Parking Study. Something we need to consider: if we’re going to dig our teeth into resident-only parking, we’re looking at reconvening the Old Town Parking Study to make sure we have all stakeholders represented.”

But City Attorney Joanna Anderson said there legal issues with residential-only parking.

“There are some constitutional issues with completely residential only parking,” Anderson said. “We are looking at it, but it is more difficult for fully resident-only parking than it is to allow some outside users like we are now.”

The ordinance was unanimously approved by the City Council.

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