Hyattsville officials hope a plan to add 176 public parking spaces to the city this month will increase commerce and spur development, particularly along U.S. Route 1.
The new spaces will add to the existing 246 spots, which are primarily located in a lot or on the street near the University Town Center on Toledo Road, and in a lot on Route 1 near Franklin’s Restaurant and Brewery.
New parking lots will open on Hamilton Street, Farragut Street and Jefferson Street, each near Route 1, adding 115 public spaces. The city also will add 61 on-street parking spaces on or near Route 1 and replace old meters for 46 existing spots on Route 1, said Jim Chandler, director of community and economic development for the city.
The lots and on-street spaces should be ready to use next week, Chandler said.
Chandler said business owners and residents have raised concerns about the lack of public parking in the city. The parking will support commercial properties along Route 1 so that current and potential business owners will not have to create on-site parking, he said.
“It will enable a capacity for retail and development,” Chandler said of the new parking. “It will certainly provide more adequate parking within close proximity to the [Route 1] corridor.”
At its Nov. 5 meeting, the Hyattsville City Council approved a rate of 50 cents per hour for all city-owned public parking spaces.
Previously, those who parked at University Town Center paid 75 cents per hour, while the rate was 25 cents per hour to park in the city’s on-street spots and in its public lot on Route 1.
The increased on-street parking along Route 1 also will mean that drivers will have only one lane in which to drive on certain parts of the street, although parking will be restricted from 6 to 9 a.m and 4 to 7 p.m., Chandler said.
City officials spent nearly $500,000 for the new lots and about $165,000 for the new metering equipment, Abby Sandel, communications manager for the city, stated in an email.
The on-street parking spaces will have new meters that will accept credit cards, which will be more convenient for customers than the older meters, which accepted only coins, Chandler said.
The single 50-cent rate for all public parking spaces also will make it easier for residents to determine how much they must pay to park, Chandler said. Signs will be posted near public parking spaces to inform residents of the change, which will go into effect when the new on-street parking spaces are active, he said.
Elliott Davis, manager of the store TV’s Plus More, on Route 1, said increased parking would help bring in more customers.
“When people come here it will make it much easier to park,” he said. “Right now, parking is real tough because it is real crowded.”
Davis said the increased rate of 50 cents probably will not be a huge issue, but that some customers might still be used to the old rate.
“Fifty cents an hour is still cheap,” he said. “But 25 cents is better.”
Hyattsville resident Jenny Gleason, 33, said the only part of the plan that concerns her is the added parking along Route 1. The additional parking could make traffic on the street worse, she said, although she added that she is supportive of the increased parking overall.
“We definitely need to address the parking, because you can just tell how it is becoming more and more congested,” Gleason said.