Residents of Chevy Chase Drive are being forced to choose between permit parking or meters, said Debrah Shaver, one of many residents who were shocked last month when the Montgomery County Department of Transportation partially installed dozens of meters on the quiet street.
The meter installation was halted after residents complained they were not notified of the project, which was part of the DOT’s 2013 budget. It was intended to stop a problem that Shaver said neighbors have never noticed, commuters avoiding meters by parking in the neighborhood.
“Did they sit around Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.?” she asked. “I don’t know how they know that. But if it’s a choice between meters or permits, we’ll take the lesser of two evils.”
Shaver said she now is concerned that meters being installed on nearby Bradley Boulevard will force those residents to find parking on Chevy Chase Drive.
It is unclear how much the meter installation costs. County spokeswoman Esther Bowring was unable to provide an estimate for staff time or the cost of each steel meter post that already is set in the ground. She said the posts will be recycled in the event that permit parking is approved and the meters will have to be uninstalled.
“The poles are really not very much money,” Bowring said, adding that they were installed by salaried employees who would have pursued a different project if they had not been installing meters along Chevy Chase Drive.
Chevy Chase Drive is home to a series of condominiums and townhouses. Shaver is drafting a letter on behalf of the neighborhood requesting permit parking.
The permit parking program was instituted by the county in 1974 to provide relief for residents whose neighborhoods are impacted by public facilities or land uses that result in non-residents parking on neighborhood streets, according to the DOT website. The process can take up to one year, and kicks off with a written request from residents or their civic association requesting a permit parking, including a petition indicating that at least two-thirds of the units on the block desire permit parking. After a public hearing by DOT, the county executive issues a written decision.
Shaver said she is hoping to work together to find a solution that works for everybody and cuts through the red tape.