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Parking fees to be implemented on National Mall and West Potomac Park

So much for free parking on the National Mall and in West Potomac Park. The National Park Service (NPS) announced that starting next year, it will begin using parking meters in the popular parks/tourist destinations in downtown Washington, DC. NPS announced the move in the Federal Register of Thursday, September 4, 2014.

NPS says it is making the move to better manage traffic, allow more people to see the sites and encourage use of public transit and other alternative methods of transportation. NPS will begin collecting the fees as of March 5, 2015. If you have any questions, contact Park Planner Eliza Voigt, National Mall & Memorial Parks, 900 Ohio Dr. SW, Washington, DC 20024, (202) 245-4694,

Under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act of 2004 (Pub. L. 108-447), NPS is required to give at least six months public notice of new fee areas. Hence, it gives the notice today.

Car motorists initially will pay $2 per hour every day, including weekdays, weekends and holidays between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Parking will be limited to three hours. Bus drivers will have to pay $6 per hour with the same time limits. NPS figures that buses take up three parking spaces, so they'll pay three times what other drivers will pay.

NPS says it arrived at the fee structure as one that keeps in line with parking fees at other federal, state and local recreational areas. The agency says it consulted with federal, state and local government officials in determining the fees.

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