If some of you don’t know, the City of Alexandria recently raised the parking meter from $1/hour to $1.75/hour. Ouch!
As a business owner that hurts. Many of us have seen a decrease in our business because of the raise in parking. Now, we understand that the City needs to make revenue so it can provide much needed services, but it’s unfortunate that there was not a solution in place to make it easy for folks to park on the streets in Old Town. Business leaders and the City are working on a new plan that we hope will be implemented sooner rather than later.
In the meantime, we want to offer a few solutions to the parking situation…
1. Please DO NOT hesitate to ask a business owner – even one with whom you do not plan to shop – for making change. We all make sure that we have a ton of quarters in our registers just for this reason. This is a common practice in Old Town. All the businesses are used to this request and are more than happy to oblige.
2. There are many parking garages in Old Town. If you are planning a day of shopping and dining, we suggest you park in one of the many garages. My favorite one is on South Pitt Street across from Restaurant Eve. On the weekends this one caps at $2 for the day (or at least it did the last time I needed to park there). Click here to get a map of all the parking garages in Old Town. This is the easiest way to enjoy the most time in Old Town without having to move your car or feed a meter.
3. On all of the residential streets, usually only a couple of blocks off of King Street, there is free two hour (and sometimes three hour) parking. Free on-street parking is indicated by green-on-white signs on many blocks. It is generally limited to two hours, from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. Sunday until 2 a.m. Monday. Those spots are there for everyone, but please remember to move your car after two hours to make room for residents as well.
4. Finally, there are always the Green alternatives to driving and parking in Old Town: biking, walking and taking the Metro. The City has many bikeways that will get you to and around Old Town. And, the trolley is a great solution for quickly and easily getting from the Metro to virtually any corner in town. Click here for information on where to ride and park your bike in the City and here for the trolley schedule and route.
However you choose to park or travel to and around Old Town we hope you will continue to support your local businesses. Don’t forget the top ten reasons for shopping local particularly the one about how sales taxes from your purchases help to pay for City services. Perhaps if we keep shopping locally and increasing the tax revenue, then the City won’t have to raise revenue through parking meters again any time soon. Just a thought…