Houston To Add Paid Parking Along Washington Avenue

The City of Houston is piloting a program to test a paid parking district in the Washington corridor. City Council will vote later this week on the plan to install metered parking along Washington Avenue.

The Washington Corridor is one of the city’s hottest bar and restaurant destinations. It’s also one of the hottest spots for congestion, fender benders and non-violent crimes like car break-ins.

Houston Councilmember Ellen Cohen represents District C, which includes the Washington Corridor.

She says the city has been working with area residents and bar and restaurant owners to develop what’s called a parking benefit district.

“The money, the revenue, from the meters will go back to the district and to the city. So this way, the money that comes back to the district can be used for better lighting, better sidewalks, improved safety. Those are some of the issues that are critical to the viability and growth of Washington Avenue.”

The proposed ordinance suggests a dollar an hour rate before 6 p.m. and $2 an hour after six. You could also choose a flat rate option of $7 for the entire evening.

Cohen says people don’t want to circle the block four or five times looking for parking, so this will create more spaces in front
of businesses and more turnover in those spaces.

“Typically people that are going out to have dinner are prepared to spend a significant amount of money, and to spend an additional say seven dollars for the entire evening is not going to dissuade them. Particularly if they know it’s more than likely going to guarantee that they’re going to find a spot.”

Other cities like Austin, Seattle and Washington D.C. also have parking benefit districts.

If the Washington Corridor program is effective, Houstonians may find themselves paying for parking in more areas across
the city in the next few years.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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