It took a while, but nearly five months after Houston City Council approved the first citywide Parking Benefit District for the Washington Avenue corridor, the meters started charging at 7 a.m. on Wednesday.
The City of Houston's Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department hopes to solve a handful of issues with the new parking system, including a lack of curbside parking and congested neighborhood streets, while promoting alternate means of transportation like walking, cycling and public transit
By defining the bar-studded thoroughfare as a PBD, approximately 60 percent of the proceeds from the meters — which stretches from Westcott Street to Houston Avenue and charges $1 per hour during daytime hours and $2 per hour at night Monday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. — will fund neighborhood improvement projects like landscaping, street maintenance, public safety, lighting, sidewalk and pedestrian improvements.
Visitors can pay to park with credit card or via the Parkmobile App (one that will allow you to add time via smartphone if you get caught up at happy hour); neighborhood residents and business owners will have designated permit parking areas Thursday through Sunday from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.
"This Parking Benefit District is a trial run," said Don Pagel, deputy director of the city department. "We will constantly look at what works and what doesn't and then decide whether or not this type of project is something that should be implemented all over Houston's community."
City Council will review the pilot project in 18 months, and plans to adjust "the revenue split and other variables as necessary" at that time.