New parking meters are being installed in Alexandria to ditch the old pay-and-display system.
Earlier this year, the city started moving away from pay and display systems with new pay-by-plate meters installed in the Carlyle and Potomac Yard neighborhoods. But now, those meters are starting to get a citywide expansion to replace the older systems.
Users can either use the parking app ParkMobile or input their license place information into the kiosk directly.
“New parking meters are coming to Alexandria early fall 2023,” the city’s website said. “Simply enter your license plate number and pay using the kiosk or ParkMobile app.”
Parking in Alexandria just got easier! New parking meters are being installed that no longer require you to pay and display the receipt on your windshield. Have you seen these new meters around town?
— Alexandria Transportation & Environmental Services (@AlexandriaVATES) September 21, 2023
It’s been a scorching week in Alexandria, punctuated by two major crime events.
Someone was shot multiple times in an alley several blocks east of the Braddock Metro station last Saturday, followed on Monday afternoon by the city’s fifth homicide this year — the fatal shooting of a 29-year-old man on W. Glebe Road in Arlandria.
It is not believed that the incidents are connected.
The Alexandria Police Department is now looking for a silver Nissan Rogue allegedly linked to Monday’s shooting.
No arrests have been announced from either incident, and this week Mayor Justin Wilson, City Manager Jim Parajon and Police Chief Don Hayes asked for the community’s help in identifying the suspects.
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Have a safe weekend!
Alexandria’s garages aren’t the only parking tool getting an overhaul.
A report for a meeting of the Traffic and Parking Board later today (Monday) said the city is working through a replacement of the city’s parking meters.
The city is ditching the “pay and display” model of parking meters — meters where drivers leave the ticket on the dashboard — and switching over to a system that keeps track of who has paid for parking by license plates.
“The City is replacing and upgrading parking meters from pay and display to by plate citywide,” the report said. “The meters that are pay and display print out a ticket that is then displayed inside the car by the user.”
The report said there are currently pay-by-plate meters in Carlyle and Potomac Yard, but that’s being expanded across the city starting with meters that were installed over 13 years ago and have reached the end of their useful life.
“There are currently pay by plate meters in Carlyle and Potomac Yard where the user puts their license plate number into the meter while paying and no ticket is needed,” the report said. “The upgrade of the meters to pay by plate involves replacing parking meters that have reached the end of their useful life and upgrading other meters to the newer pay by plate technology.”
The overhaul is also reducing the number of meters from four on each block to two — one on each side of the street where applicable. The report said the goal is to cut down on the sidewalk clutter, with most parking meters made obsolete by apps like ParkMobile.
“In recent years, there has been a large adoption of people paying for parking on their phones via ParkMobile instead of at the physical meter,” the report said. “We anticipate the use of paying via phone will continue to increase in the coming years. This supports the move to consolidated meters leading to less clutter on the sidewalks.”
The aim of the change is to make parking in garages more appealing. Currently, many Old Town garages sit empty while drivers circle blocks looking for on-street parking.
“One change was to allow these blocks to have higher rates than the meter blocks,” Katye North, division chief for mobility services said in an email. “We’ve identified blocks that seem to have higher numbers of paid parking transactions, meaning there are more non-residents paying to park on these blocks than other residential pay by phone blocks.”
North said the price of parking on those blocks will nearly double.
“To encourage people to park elsewhere, we’ll be increasing the hourly parking rate from $1.75 (current meter rate) to $3,” North said. “The hours of restrictions and the two hour time limit remain unchanged and guests can still park for free if they have a guest permit.”
The second part of the change is incentivizing garage parking.
“In coordination with this increase, we are also reducing the hourly rate at the Courthouse Garage on nights and weekends to $1/hour (currently $2.50/hour),” North said. “We are hoping these changes will encourage people to use the cheaper off-street parking. Over the next few months, we’ll continue to monitor the data for these blocks and the garage to see if it’s making an impact and adjust as needed.”
(Updated 5 p.m.) Next week, the City Council will review a set of new parking rates (Item 19) for Old Town that aim to push drivers off the street and into the city’s underutilized garages.
The new ordinance would expand the area of Old Town where drivers who don’t have residential or guest permits must pay by phone to park. The current rate in those zones is currently $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.
One of the changes being considered would adjust rates based on times of day or day of the week. Rates would also be higher in the pay-by-phone zones to push drivers to meters or the garages. At the same time, garages could be changed to an hourly rate less than the rate at the meter — still $1.75 — with different rates at different garages.
The core issue behind the change is that the city’s parking garages are largely underutilized. The average occupancy sits at around half the garage capacity.
The spike in December is the Scottish Walk and Boat Parade, with before and after for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
A city report said that the Courthouse Garage, in particular, has “a lot of capacity” on evenings and weekends.
The item is scheduled for first reading at the Tuesday, June 14 meeting, followed by a public hearing and a vote on Saturday, June 18.
After weeks of laissez-faire parking enforcement during the pandemic, Alexandrians may want to start being more careful about where they park later this month.
“The City of Alexandria will resume enforcement of residential parking zones, weekend meters, and other parking regulations beginning Monday, July 20,” the city said in a news release. “Enforcement has been temporarily suspended since March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
While residents could still be ticketed or towed for parking in restricted areas, the city went months without enforcing meter times. The city said regulations will start going back to their old enforcement at the end of the month, however, including:
- Time restrictions for the general public in residential parking permit zones (signs in these zones include the language “residential permit-exempt”).
- Saturday time restrictions and meter fees on blocks with pay stations (time restrictions and meter fees on blocks with pay stations will continue to be enforced on weekdays).
- Time restrictions for street sweeping (signs pertaining to these restrictions prohibit parking during a one-hour window on a particular day of the week).
- The prohibition against parking on the street for more than 72 hours.
- The requirement to display a valid state inspection sticker.
- The City suspended enforcement of these parking regulations to assist vehicle owners who were working from home, caring for others, or trying to ensure the flow of goods and services. As Virginia continues to reopen and state COVID-19 related restrictions are being lifted, the City has determined that it is now appropriate to resume normal parking enforcement.
There will be some form of grace period implemented to get people readjusted to the regulations, the city said.
“To give residents, visitors, and workers adequate time to adjust their parking routines, the City is giving advance notice before parking tickets are issued to cars in violation of posted restrictions,” the city said. “Residents who are still unable to move their vehicles on a regular basis may apply for an exemption of the City’s 72-hour rule. To encourage continued physical distancing, temporary signed curbside pickup zones will remain in place at this time.”
The city said on its website that the changes in parking enforcement were aimed at helping the disrupted routines caused by working from home and other effects of social distancing.
“To assist vehicle owners who are now working from home, caring for others, or trying to ensure the flow of goods and services, the City has suspended enforcement of the following parking restrictions until further notice,” the city said.
The biggest change is the elimination of time restrictions for general public parking in residential zones and time restrictions and meter fees for blocks with pay stations.
The suspension of enforcement is an expansion of the policies from two weeks ago, which suspended enforcement of parking restrictions for residential street sweeping and for the prohibition on vehicles parking on the street for more than 72 hours.
The full list of waived parking restrictions:
- Time restrictions for the general public in residential parking permit zones. (Signs in these zones include the language “residential permit exempt.”)
- Weekend time restrictions and meter fees on blocks with pay stations. (Time restrictions and meter fees on blocks with pay stations will continue to be enforced on weekdays.)
- Time restrictions for street sweeping. (Signs pertaining to these restrictions prohibit parking during a one-hour window on a particular day of the week.)
- The prohibition against parking on the street for more than 72 hours.
- The requirement to display a valid state inspection sticker.
The city noted that parking restrictions are still being enforced in areas that are prohibited “no parking” zones.
“All other time restrictions not listed above, such as 15-minute spaces or time limits in commercial corridors, will continue to be enforced,” the city said. “Parking enforcement officers will have the discretion to enforce suspended restrictions in exceptional circumstances where a significant traffic safety or community concern exists, or as necessary to ensure the safe and orderly movement of vehicles.”
Still No Motive for Student Accused of Double Homicide — “George Ivan Maertens Aramayo said police have not told him why his daughter, 19, and Bianda, 21, were killed. He is not familiar with Mohamed Aly, the 18-year-old from Alexandria who is facing two first-degree murder charges. Aly attended T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, where friends say he was a strong student and athlete hoping to play college football.” [Washington Post]
APD Testing Electric Parking Enforcement Vehicle — “APD’s Parking Enforcement Unit conducted a test of an electric GO-4 vehicle today. Pictured is Parking Enforcement Officer Ms. Fuller, who has operated the GO-4 type vehicle for the last 23 years.” [Twitter]
For Alexandria Families, $100K Doesn’t Cut It — “An analysis by personal finance site MagnifyMoney found that in some pricey cities it’s particularly hard to make it on $100,000. ‘The worst metro area for a family earning $100,000 includes Washington, D.C. and neighboring cities Arlington and Alexandria, Va. After factoring in monthly expenses, families would be $315 in the red.'” [MarketWatch]
Fail: King Street Metro Screens — “The status of the fancy new displays at King Street Station: THREE bios screens and a fourth dead one. The one beside the manager’s station has been showing the bios screen for WEEKS.” [Twitter]
Patent Office Holding Job Fair — “The United States Patent & Trademark Office is holding a job fair and hiring 100s of engineers to examine America’s patents in 2020… The Patent Examiner Recruitment Open House event in Alexandria, VA is designed to attract soon-to-be graduates and professionals.” [Zebra]
Absentee Voting Starts Today — “Absentee voting for Virginia’s March 3 Democratic Party Presidential Primary Election begins on Thursday, January 16. Many Alexandria voters are eligible to vote absentee.” [City of Alexandria]
Opening Nears for New Waterfront Coffee Shop — “According to Misha’s General Manager Graham McCulloch, the coffee roaster hopes to open their new waterfront location in April, weather and construction permitting. Misha’s new waterfront coffee shop, the company’s second location, will be at 6 Prince St., the former home of Olde Town Gemstones.” [Alexandria Living]
Amazon Funds Used for City Apartment Purchase — “Investing to benefit existing & future business growth was the foundation for @amazon HQ2 package — very excited that 1st affordable housing funds allocated will be used in ALX!” [Twitter, ALXnow, Washington Business Journal]
City Looking for Top Parking Meter Enforcer — “Hiring Announcement: The Alexandria Police Department is currently looking to fill the position of Parking Enforcement Officer Supervisor.” [City of Alexandria, Twitter]