Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Parking Space: What's it Worth to You?

Montgomery County's considering boosting the price of a parking space: from .50 to .60 cents in Silver Spring, from .65 to .75 cents an hour in Bethesda. Monthly passes would cost more, and Saturday night dinners in Bethesda would cost a bit more too, because you'd pay to park from 7pm to 10pm, whereas right now the parking's free after 7pm.

Listen to WTOP Wed morning to get a feel for where Council members Marc Elrich and Craig Rice are on the issue...here's the segment from Council member Craig Rice:

Your thoughts? How does the price of parking affect your decisions about where to go, when to go, and how long to spend in an area? Is Council member Rice correct? Would you say "heck with that parking fee, I'm taking Metro!" or does it make a Ride On bus look more attractive? Or are you the type to say, "They can take my car away when they pry the steering wheel from.." well, you know.

I know as a kid living in the NY suburbs, there was no question: you didn't drive into NYC  if you didn't have to; finding a parking space was impossible, finding a space where your car wouldn't get jacked up was impossible, and who wanted to drive home after a night out? Trains made it easier, no question about it.

I don't own a car now, so getting around on my bike poses a different set of questions: where am I going, am I going shopping and do I expect to carry home more than what I can fit in my panniers? Instead of quarters, I pack bike locks, etc.

But when heading out on assignments in the WTOP news vehicle, you bet I think about parking. I need to get in and out fast, I need to allow for news conferences that could go long, or breaking news that might pull me from my original assignment. And my bosses are not about to foot the bill for a reporter who ditches a vehicle in a no-parking zone, or racks up tickets for exceeding the time limits in a spot, so yes, parking fees and regulations influence how I move about during the day. So what about you?

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