Filed under our continued coverage of parking in Arlington, rates at the Ballston Mall parking garage may increase at the beginning of next year, according to county officials.
Under Arlington County's proposal, the after 6 p.m. rate for the garage would double — although let's face it, that 100 percent increase constitutes a change from $1 to $2. The $2 rate would also be applied to weekends, which are now just $1. Weekday rates would increase to $2 for the first three hours, and by $1 for longer hourly stays.
Monthly parking rates would increase as well. For a five-day per week monthly pass, the cost would go up from $77 to $105. For a seven-day per week monthly pass, it would go from $104 to $130. If approved, the changes would go into effect Jan. 1.
The county has to raise the rates in order to pay for debt service and continued repairs to the garage, according to Arlington spokesperson Shannon Whalen McDaniel. The revenues at the garage under the existing fee structure are not sufficient to pay for the garage over the next few years.
"The existing rates do not generate sufficient revenues to complete capital repairs and meet debt obligations over the next six to eight years," she says.
The hourly rate has not been increased since 1994, and the monthly rate has not changed since 1996, according to Patricia Bush, Arlington's transportation operations manager.
The transportation division will have to receive approval for the increases from the county board, but also from Macy's Department Store owner Federated Department Stores, which owns the land underneath the garage. The owners of the mall and the attached office buildings will also have to sign off on the rate increases.
Those negotiations are ongoing, according to Bush. The transportation division has not yet set a date to bring the proposal to the county board for approval.
Whalen McDaniel stressed that the new parking rates would still be at or below market rates for the surrounding area. "The County has determined that the current parking rates are below the fair market rate at comparable garages in the area," she says.