Customers on Mt. Vernon Avenue were met with a surprising change Thursday evening when paid parking was instituted in the lot behind , , and other popular businesses.
Scott Mitchell, who owns the lot and the properties on the block of Mt. Vernon Avenue between E. Oxford and E. Uhler avenues, has hired a company to manage the parking. He said the lot is being overused and that regulation was necessary.
From 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, people will be charged $3 for the first hour of parking, $3 for the second hour and a total of $7 for any amount of time in excess of two hours. The same rates apply for weekends and holidays, but paid parking will be enforced from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
An attendant oversees the lot during the hours of enforcement.
Customers using Virginia Commerce Bank, , , Cheesetique, , and Caboose Cafe will have two hours of free parking with validation from these shops.
Business tenants and apartment renters on the east side of the 2400 block of Mt. Vernon will have parking passes.
Mitchell said he’s working with Pat Miller, market master of the , to create a system enabling vendors to pay an annual fee to park in the lot and then set up their booths in the farmers' market space on the other side of E. Oxford Avenue.
Alexandria’s Community and Human Services office uses the lot Monday through Friday during business hours. The lot has been used in the past for the .
Parishioners of use the lot for services. It remains to be seen how the enforcement will affect them.
The establishment of paid parking in the lot comes at a time when the city is exploring shared-parking options on Mt. Vernon Avenue. The city is currently going over the final draft of a recent parking study of Del Ray performed by Kimley-Horn and Associates. City staff has discussed with citizens and business owners at a .
What do you think about the establishment of paid parking in the lot? Will it change your driving and parking habits? Tell us in the comments.