Downtown Gaithersburg may follow Rockville and Bethesda’s lead by charging for parking near its transit center.
City Council Vice President Ryan Spiegel suggested the city begin looking into turning its free parking possibly into metered lots near the MARC station, during a work session on the city budget Tuesday.
The city owns a parking garage on Olde Towne Avenue near the MARC station that contains 400 free public spaces, said Cindy Hines, the city’s Olde Towne revitalization coordinator. There is also a Park and Ride lot on Quince Orchard Road that contains 517 spaces, according to the Maryland Transit Authority’s website.
Gaithersburg administrators are in the early stages of planning for a new parking facility near Olde Towne as the existing facilities in the area are expected to be near full utilization in the next two to five years, Deputy City Manager Tony Tomasello said. The size of that lot would be determined in the planning stages of the project.
Spiegel said nearly every other area in Montgomery County that contains public transit centers charges for parking.
City Manager Angel Jones said during the meeting that such a change would not likely be able to take place until next year and would require a broader discussion on how it would affect MARC ridership and visitorship to Olde Towne.
“It’s really a strategy discussion we’ve got to have first,” she said.
She said city staff could begin studying the idea sometime this year.