Some people have made an assumption that because we have picked up the pace dramatically at DDOT on all fronts, we must not be doing enough planning before launching new programs and projects. Actually, the opposite is true. (Click on this link now to give us your thoughts and fill in our parking survey or read more and link at the end – http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DDOTparkingsurvey) We are more focused on planning than we ever have been before and put a tremendous amount of thought and effort into our designs and initiatives. We also have a much more disciplined approach to project development and execution. Having said that, many times the best way to make sure that your planning makes sense is to test things on the ground and to make sure they work as well in reality as they do in theory. A great example of that is our plan to improve the District’s parking program which is leveraging the expertise, technology and resources of the private sector. Basically, show me it’s the best, quickly, before I spend taxpayers $ to buy it.
Every day some drivers have frustrating encounters with parking meters, many of which are outdated and sometimes unreliable. We recognize there are problems and we are moving aggressively to replace those meters and to upgrade our entire system.
We’re fortunate because there is some incredible technology being developed right now that will really benefit consumers and make parking much more user friendly. But the technology is changing so fast, and the integration of different technologies is evolving…we really want to make sure that we pick the right type of meter, or combination of parking systems, and that’s why we’re currently running several pilot programs across the city (we take spending your $ very seriously). We’re currently testing pay-by-phone, pay-by-space and pay-by-license plate parking, and parking sensor occupancy. We’re also testing different configurations and combinations of services to see what serves the largest number of people, and which systems integrate seamlessly. For instance, on U Street, you can pay-by-plate on the Cale system, or by phone via Parkmobile (integrated), and there are sensors embedded in the spaces that tell us how many spaces are occupied so that in the near future, we can have a true, demand based pricing system, citywide. All of the pilot meters take credit cards, some take coins, and some take dollar bills.
By the end of 2010, based on your feedback, we plan on having a pay by phone system deployed citywide (that will integrate with our future meter purchases), and 1200 new meters to replace the busiest, oldest meters in the city. We will then be evaluating the next roll-out of meters. We are also working on an overarching “Intelligent transportation system” that will manage parking demand and pricing throughout the city…and talk to all other systems that we are designing, from Capital Bikeshare to buses, to your smart phone, and cutting edge technology in the bus shelters (keep your eyes peeled in October).
So what works best? What system or combination would best meet the unique demands of drivers in the District? We’re evaluating the pilots to answer those questions, and we could use your help. We want to know what your experience has been with the various parking payment options now available on the streets. Please take a moment to fill out the short survey below:
Your feedback will be invaluable in helping us select the right technology. Collaborating on this planning effort, we’re confident we can make parking better and easier for all of us.
For more information about the various parking pilots please visit http://ddot.dc.gov/DC/DDOT/On+Your+Street/Traffic+Management/Parking/Parking+Pilot+Programs