Updated June 28 – Parking rates in three downtown Bethesda public garages will increase on or about July 5 and Montgomery County could implement demand-based parking rates in all of Bethesda later this year.
The 80-cent hourly rate at the Cordell-St. Elmo (Garage 40), Metropolitan (Garage 49) and Bethesda-Elm (Garage 57) facilities will increase to $1 per hour next week, according to the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT).
The increase is expected to raise an additional $600,000 annually for the county’s Bethesda Parking Lot District fund, according to County Council budget documents.
Also, the county still plans to begin charging those who park in Bethesda public lots and garages on Saturdays in fiscal year 2018. Parking in those spaces is currently free and the county expects charging on Saturdays will bring in an additional $1.3 million in annual parking fee revenue.
Last year, the council gave MCDOT authority to set parking fees in some garages and lots at lower rates than the hourly and monthly charges set out in its budget resolution.
That sets up the possibility of demand-based parking fees, meaning underused garages or lots could offer lower hourly rates to attract users. MCDOT hasn’t yet widely used demand-based parking rates, but County Council staff reported in April the department is developing a plan that could be implemented later this year in Bethesda.
The demand-based parking fees wouldn’t be allowed to exceed the maximum $1 per hour rate for parking in garages and $1.25 per hour rate for parking in surface lots. On-street parking rates would remain $2 per hour.
Public parking rates and hours in Silver Spring will remain the same in fiscal year 2017. Last year, the rates changed to $1 per hour for on-street spaces, 80 cents an hour for spaces in surface lots and 70 cents an hour for spaces in public garages, except for the Wayne Avenue (Garage 60) and Town Square (Garage 61) facilities where the rate is $1 per hour.
Bethesda still leads the county in amount of time parking payments are required, with hours ranging from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. in lots and garages. Silver Spring’s hours requiring payment run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in lots and garages.