Parking in Takoma Park under review
There’s been a lot of buzz about parking in Takoma Park lately because of new businesses moving in, changes to the management and pricing of parking lots in Old Takoma, and lots of new construction just across the border in D.C. While Takoma Park is a walkable and increasingly bike-friendly city with ample bus routes connecting to Metro, driving is still a necessary part of everyday life for most residents. As a result, parking is an everpresent concern, and the City is investigating how it is managed, enforced and paid for.
Currently, the City engages in four aspects of parking:
- Managing the Residential Parking Permit (RPP) program consisting of 900+ permits in eight active RPP zones. First initiated in 1976, each RPP zone is established by a citizen-led petition process and approved by the City Council. Designed to suit the needs of the community, petitioners request the geographical boundaries and the days and times when permit parking is in effect
- Maintaining metered parking in the Old Takoma commercial district and near Montgomery College
- Enforcing parking (i.e. issuing tickets) on city streets with a focus on parking meters and RPP zones
- Commenting on parking waiver requests from new businesses or developments that can’t meet the required number of parking spaces specified in the Montgomery County Zoning Ordinance
In 2014 the City started making changes to parking management and enforcement. A parking pay station was installed at the public lot at Takoma Junction, adding to the 105 parking meters on city streets. A second officer was hired to ensure more consistent parking enforcement around town. A city-wide parking management study was initiated in 2015, with the goal of exploring ways on-street parking in Takoma Park can be better managed in the service of economic development, environmental sustainability, fiscal responsibility and community livability. The study kicked off with online surveys of residents and business owners in fall 2015, garnering nearly 300 responses from residents, visitors and business operators.
With new restaurants and other businesses contributing to a more vibrant Old Takoma commercial district, one aspect the study specifically explores is the pressure point where residential and commercial areas meet in Takoma Park. The study is also exploring ways to make the City’s parking programs more convenient to use and efficient to manage. One result is a contract executed in spring 2016 with ParkMobile, and drivers will soon be able to pay for City parking meters by phone using a credit card.
On the evening of June 15, a consultant team from Sabra, Wang & Associates will present to the City Council a set of findings and recommendations contributing to the study. City Council meetings are open to the public and residents are encouraged to attend. Visit the Parking Management Study project page on the City website to see the results of the survey, learn more about the project, submit comments and stay tuned for updates leading up to the June 15 presentation: takomaparkmd.gov/initiatives/project-directory/ parking-study.
This article appeared in the June 2016 edition of the Takoma Park Newsletter. The Takoma Park Newsletter is available for download here.