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National Park Service to Convert Free Parking in D.C. to Metered Parking

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– There’s a big change coming to the National Mall that could cost motorists money.

The National Park Service has announced it will soon eliminate 1,200 free parking spots in D.C.

Finding a free parking spot in D.C. is rare, so if you see it, you grab it, but not everyone is so lucky.

“Not easy at all. I did many ‘drive around’s’ trying to find one. Finally I decided to pay the meter,” says Mirna Vitola, who’s visiting from Virginia.

That will become the norm for many drivers as free parking around the national mall will end. You can see from this map the locations the national park service is eliminating 1200 free parking spots in the area.

“This has proposed in a 2006 visitor transportation study that was looking for more and better transportation options for our visitors,” says Mike Litterst of the National Park Service.

Litterst says installing the the meters will also promote more use of public transportation with the metro, the bike sharing program and the Circulator. This would also help alleviate traffic congestion.

The blue dots in the area represent where the parking meters will go. 90 of those multi-space meters cover 1,200 parking spots. Motorists purchase the ticket, place it on the dashboard or they can download the ParkMobile app and pay using their phone.

“I work down here and even just coming down, it’s great to just come to the free museums, but it’s just such a beast to try to get parking. You’re just circling for hours on end,” says Dan Plumhoff, who works in D.C.

Free parking is an option that is coming to an end that many drivers will miss and dread the alternative if they decide to drive.

“Cause I have to get out of what I’m doing, which today I’m seeing the museums, and I have to get out and pay for parking again,” Vitola said.

Installation of the meters will begin May 15. Drivers will have to start paying to park, June 12.

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