Marriott International Inc.’s plans to relocate its headquarters to Wisconsin and Norfolk avenues in downtown Bethesda in 2022 includes taking over the Woodmont Corner parking garage between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.
If that happens, the result will be that the neighborhood will lose about 1,100 public parking spaces. Without access to the garage, where do Montgomery County officials expect people who now use it regularly to park?
“Their hope of course is to have people park in other parking lots where there is capacity, and use shuttle buses and the [Bethesda] Circulator to deliver them” to their jobs, County Council President Roger Berliner said Monday.
The solution might also “involve constructing more parking,” he said.
In its Friday announcement about relocating its headquarters from Fernwood Road to a complex to be built at 7750 Wisconsin Ave., Marriott said it would build onsite underground parking and also lease the public garage from the county for exclusive use by company employees and visitors during business hours. The public would have garage access on evenings, weekends and holidays, according to the company.
Marriott would pay $2 million a year for use of the Woodmont Corner garage, which now generates about $1.8 million annually in parking fees, Berliner said.
According to the county’s parking data, the garage at 7730 Woodmont Ave. has a peak daily utilization rate of about 70 percent, Bowring said. That translates into about 770 spots used and 330 empty.
The loss of the use of the garage “will involve inconvenience for the people that are parking there today, and that’s something that needs to be taken into account. And that’s something that needs to be mitigated,” Berliner said.
County officials note more public parking is available nearby for those who regularly use the Woodmont Corner garage. Of the eight other public garages, about 1,200 empty spaces at peak times are available in the neighborhood, according to county data. The garages are:
— Capital Crescent, 7171 Woodmont Ave., which has 955 long-term spaces;
— Woodmont-Rugby, 8216 Woodmont Ave., which has 352 long-term spaces;
— Auburn-Del Ray Avenue, 4910 Auburn Ave., which has 631 long-term spaces;
— Cordell-St. Elmo, 4935 St. Elmo Ave., which has 172 long-term spaces;
— Cheltenham, 4720 Cheltenham Drive, which has 298 long-term spaces;
— Waverly, 7400 Waverly St., which has 707 long-term spaces;
— Metropolitan, 7601 Woodmont Ave., which has 852 long-term spaces; and
— Bethesda-Elm, at 4841 Bethesda Ave., which has 267 long-term spaces.
The free Bethesda Circulator bus loops through downtown Bethesda and provides access to many of the garages, said Esther Bowring, a spokeswoman for the Montgomery County Department of Transportation.
County garages charge either 80 cents an hour or $1 an hour. There are two garages at the Bethesda Metro Station as well, that charge $12 a day. In all, there are about 7,000 private parking spaces in Bethesda, Bowring said.
Bowring said the county will do a follow-up study to determine if parking capacity needs in the Woodmont Triangle area to be increased by 2022.