D.C. to announce major new parking plans this spring

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Local,DC,Liz Essley,Metro and Traffic

The District is set to introduce three new parking programs this spring that will have a big impact on drivers.

The District Department of Transportation said it will release plans for an updated visitor parking pass program, a new red top meter program for people with disabilities and an expanded performance parking program -- which charges drivers more during peak hours in busy areas -- this spring.

DDOT planner Sam Zimbabwe said the agency is making changes to the visitor parking pass program, currently available only in some parking-crunched neighborhoods, before expanding it to the entire District. The program gives households parking permits to let guests, repairmen, nannies or other visitors use in resident-only parking zones.

"We are committed to taking that city-wide. It's generally been pretty positively received," Zimbabwe said.

Zimbabwe said DDOT may change the system so that residents have to request a visitor pass instead of being mailed one.

Performance parking also will be expanded to more areas, meaning drivers will have to pay more for peak-hour parking. And DDOT will rework its red top meter program, which died in the D.C. Council late last year after months of controversy.

"There was a lot of confusion when we started it last year, and we're trying to avoid that kind of confusion," Zimbabwe said.

But Zimbabwe said the goals for the program will stay the same: Reduce abuse of disabled parking placards and make sure spaces are available for everyone.

"All the on-street spaces are a valuable resource that everybody needs to have access to," Zimbabwe said.

lessley@washingtonexaminer.com

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