New Limits On Parking Spaces Being Debated

New Limits On Parking Spaces Being Debated

Large commercial, residential buildings could be forced to cut available parking in effort to promote transit, carpools

As reported in Bethesda Beat. (Scroll to the end to read Friends of White Flint’s official position.)

A proposal that could force large commercial and residential properties in the county to have fewer parking spaces in an effort to force greater use of public transportation and get cars off the road is being questioned by business groups.

County Executive Marc Elrich is pressing for updated regulations that would require building owners countywide to have a “traffic mitigation plan” designed to get more people onto public transit or carpools by cutting the number of parking spaces for commuters. At present, five areas in the county – Bethesda, North Bethesda, Friendship Heights, Silver Spring and Shady Grove – require businesses with 25 or more employees to have the plans, which also mandate designated parking spots for carpoolers and van services. Each of the areas also sets a goal for the number of employees not driving to work, which ranges between 18 percent in Shady Grove to 46 percent for Silver Spring.

The County Council’s transportation and environment committee last week began reviewing the proposal, with council members agreeing more study and public input is needed. The Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce is among the groups opposing the change that it says puts additional restrictions on developers and owners.

A separate component of the bill that would levy additional fees on all existing non-multi-family residential and commercial development was recommended by council staff. Council member Andrew Friedson, who is not on the committee but represents an area that includes Bethesda’s central business district, wrote in a memo that he was “alarmed” by the recommendation.

“This is a dramatic policy change being proposed after the public hearing on this Bill and with extremely limited, if any, opportunity for the public to consider or comment. I am especially concerned that this would amount to a new tax on residents of multi-family buildings throughout the County,” he wrote. “Dramatic policy changes such as this one should be debated publicly, transparently, and openly. In this case, I do not believe those who will be impacted by this new tax have been provided sufficient opportunity.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Friends of White Flint’s position is as follows:

Friends of White Flint is concerned that the proposed changes to the Transportation Demand Management policy decouples transportation infrastructure from mode share goals.  Transportation Demand Management works best when the public and private sectors work together.

That’s why it is essential that a commitment to implementing the key infrastructure that enables mode share is part of the Transportation Demand Management policy.  It is obvious that non-driver-auto mode share works only when the right infrastructure is in place, including BRT, Metro, Ride-On, carpooling, bike lanes, and pedestrian improvements. That is why is it vital that the TDM policy partners public transportation infrastructure with private sector mode share rather than decouples them.

Amy Ginsburg


One comment

Laurel Kennedy

Wow- I would love not to have to drive to work- I’m only 3.5 miles from my office – but it’s terrifying to walk or bike down Nicholson and Old Georgetown and the bus routes don’t line up and are unpredictable, not to mention that our school isn’t walkable, so I need a bus or car to pick up my kids after work. More buses, more often, not less parking, would shift the balance.

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