I want to thank the residents and community leaders who have contacted me about the installation of parking meters on Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue in Anacostia. Let me begin by saying that I have directed our staff to remove the parking meters today. They were installed without notice to the community, an oversight I apologize for on behalf of DDOT. They were also installed prematurely: in the coming weeks DDOT will begin a streetscape project along MLK, between Good Hope and Howard Roads. It is more prudent to install the meters after the construction is completed.
DDOT has been working with community leaders, the business development community, the ANC’s and DC Council staff to identify potential commercial corridors in Ward 8 that could and should be metered to encourage turnover in the spaces. It is still our intent to add meters on Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue after the streetscape project is finished next year, and after we have properly consulted with and notified the community.
It is also our intent to install intelligent, networked single-space meters, multi-space meters and pay by cell technology to make the corridor user friendly for shoppers and the community in general. These new meters will take credit cards in additon to cash. I am working with our staff to identify the funding for the new meters.
DDOT does not carry excess meter inventory; all of our assets are deployed in the field. It’s also worth noting that 60 percent of DDOT’s parking meters are considered beyond their useful life. These are the coin only single space meters and they are deployed in commercial areas across the District. It is also standard practice for us to relocate these meters as needed and as more areas come online. The single space meters are also predominately used in what we call “normal” demand zones where the rate is $0.75 per hour, and newer, more expensive meters are deployed in “premium” demand zones where the rate is $2.00/hour.
Having said that, DDOT is looking at options to replace all of its older assets with new, networked, credit card accepting meters. This will improve system reliability and customer service.
In addition, DDOT launched pay by phone service as a payment option for parking in July 2011. The system has close to 165,000 customers already and has accounted for more than 650,000 transactions. It has been the most successful pay by cell launch globally. Customers are encouraged to use the system for parking on a regular basis, especially when they get to a meter that is not working or not accepting their preferred form of payment. We will expand the pay by phone service to Anacostia when the meters are installed after the construction is completed.
Again, thank you for being passionate about your community and for contacting me about this issue. It is our goal to provide equal service to every ward and every resident of the District, and we welcome your help in ensuring we do it right.