Parking Benefit District

The Washington Ave. parking problem continues as City Council puts off deciding vote

The Washington Ave. parking problem continues as City Council puts off deciding vote

News_Washington Avenue, night,
Washington Avenue's recent success as a nightlife district has come at a cost: Parking is nightmarish for residents and visitors alike.  Photo by Julie Soefer/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

As the bar scene along Washington Avenue has blown up in recent years, the area has become synonymous with congestion and a veritable parking nightmare.

The spot shortage is slated to get better — or worse, depending on your outlook — with a Parking Benefit District plan that calls for residential parking permits and curbside pay stations expected to charge $1 per hour during the day, $2 per hour at night or a $7 flat rate for the full night. It also includes a provision to improve neighborhood lighting, sidewalks and security in the area.

If approved as it stands, 60 percent of the proceeds will be dedicated to improvements along the corridor and divvied up by an advisory board. An area resident recently interviewed by KHOU cited the new "Light Garden" at the Washington on Westcott roundabout as the type of positive development the area should see; construction of a multi-story garage is another option to alleviate future parking woes. 

Houston City Council got an earful of public comments from proponents and complainers alike at Tuesday's meeting. During Wednesday's session, Council Member Ellen Cohen — whose District C includes the Washington Avenue corridor — amended the proposed parking ordinance to include a provision for reviewing the pilot program in 18 months on its efficacy. 

Council Member Oliver Pennington tagged the item to allow a week for review. The proposal is expected to be voted on during next week's meeting. 

See KHOU's full report on the proposed ordinance below: