National Park Service considers parking meters along National Mall

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - The Park Service is considering a proposal to put meters along several streets lining the National Mall and the Tidal Basin. One of the goals of the meters is to deter commuters and free up spaces for out-of-town visitors.

It can be a source of frustration, driving in circles around the National Mall looking for parking.

“I tried it in December and drove around for 40 minutes looking for somewhere to park -- so I drove home and it took me 30 minutes to walk," said one D.C. resident.

While most of the streets that line the mall have metered parking available, the dozens of free spots on Constitution, Jefferson, and Madison meant for visitors have become day-long parking spots for commuters. And most of them are taken by 7 a.m. every day.

Now, the National Parks Service is looking into a possible solution to help drivers like Barrie Tron, who is from Arlington and often in the city for business meetings.

"It's really hard," she says. "I've been going up and down the mall for about 20 minutes and I'm finally here at a meter."

The meters would cost $2 an hour, and despite being on Park Service property, the money would go towards the city and its new circulator bus expansion from Union Station to Lincoln Memorial.

And while many who rely on the spots to avoid the pricey garage parking are upset by the proposal, some don’t mind the idea at all:

"I'm glad that the money goes to city, and parking is one of the steadiest streams of income for the city," says D.C. resident David Hammer.

In addition to weekdays, drivers would have to pay up on weekends and holidays as well.

A public meeting on the proposal is set for February 11th.