- Current RPP restriction locations and hours grandfathered
- New permit, pass fee structure to end general tax support
- Discount for low-income households
- Households in any housing type except site plan buildings may petition for RPP
The Arlington County Board today approved an overhaul of the County’s long-standing Residential Permit Parking Program, following a three-year review.
“The changes we adopted allow us to more efficiently and equitably manage parking in residential areas where there is high demand for on-street parking,” County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti said. “Residents of townhomes, condominiums, and small apartment buildings in residential zones will again be allowed to participate, as they were when the program was created. The Board listened to community input in removing the two-hour paid parking part of the proposal, and the program’s costs will now be covered by fees rather than by relying on general fund tax support. I believe the adopted ordinance is a step forward for our community as a whole.”
The Board voted unanimously to adopt revisions to the Residential Permit Parking Program. To read the staff report, and view the staff presentation, scroll to Item No 30 on the agenda for the Saturday, February 20, 2021 Regular County Board Meeting.
The adopted changes to the RPP program will go into effect during the annual renewal period that begins in April 2021. Current permits and passes expire July 1, 2021.
More households eligible to petition for RPP
The revisions include expanding the number of households eligible to petition for restrictions and join the program will be expanded.
The adopted changes also reduce from four to two the number of annual permits available to households with any amount of parking in a driveway, garage, carport, or parking lot. Households without any parking still will be able to obtain four annual permits. Households will also have the choice of obtaining a FlexPass (a dashboard placard that can be used by residents or their visitors), or the first vehicle-specific permit instead. All households will still be able to obtain up to five short-term visitor passbooks which provide up to 300 days of parking each year.
Changes to improve efficiency and equity
The revised program eliminates the 25 percent “out-of-area” test from the petition process, which required that at least 25 percent of the on-street parking spaces on a petitioning block not belong to someone living in our visiting a home nearby. The minimum on-street parking occupancy threshold is raised from 75 percent to 85 percent. The percentage of residents on a block who must support a petition for RPP restrictions would be raised from the current 60 percent to 80 percent.
Existing restriction locations and hours would be grandfathered into the revised program.
In response to public comment, the Board removed staff’’s proposed recommendation that anyone without a pass or permit to park on RPP-restricted streets be allowed to pay for up to two hours of on-street parking during hours when restrictions are in effect.
The update also provides more options for service providers; introduces a limited number of permits for elementary, middle and high school employees and employees working at group homes; changes permit and pass fees to end general tax support for the program and offers a discount for low-income households.
Implementation of the proposed changes will occur over a multi-month period.
New fee structure to end general tax support
With RPP fees unchanged since 2005, permit and pass fees cover about 60 percent of the County’s costs to provide the RPP program. General taxes cover the remaining 40 percent, although the program benefits only the 10 percent of County households in an RPP zone.
Under the adopted changes, the FlexPass and first book of short-term visitor passes will no longer be free. Eligible low-income households that qualify for state and federal assistance programs will receive a 50 percent discount on the FlexPass, Landlord Pass, vehicle-specific permits and short-term visitor passes.
The Board approved a new fee structure that includes:
$40 for the first vehicle-specific permit or FlexPass, and $55, $65, and $150 for the second, third, and fourth vehicle-specific permits.
Under the RPP program, on-street parking demand in residential neighborhoods is managed by allowing people with a permit to park on the street, while those without permits are prevented from parking on the restricted streets. In 2017 the County Manager instituted a moratorium on the program. He took that action after an upsurge in petitions for streets, many of which were found to not meet the program’s criteria and disagreements within one neighborhood about RPP restrictions granted there by the County that highlighted long-standing concerns about the program’s fairness and purpose.
Staff then conducted a comprehensive review of the program, first enacted in 1972 to make on-street parking easy for residents on the streets where it is in place. Staff recommendations were developed through extensive public engagement, analysis of the existing program and parking data collected in four study areas in the County, covering 59 percent of all streets with RPP restrictions and surrounding streets without restrictions.
Staff began public engagement on the program with a series of pop-up events and offered an online comment form in summer 2018 – receiving more than 1,600 responses from which major themes were identified.
In fall 2018, staff hosted three community forums, with Spanish and Amharic interpretation, organized around the identified themes. More than 200 people participated in the forums.
Household surveys were sent to 60,000 households in Spring 2019, including all those living in an RPP zone. About 4,500 residents answered the questions about their perceptions of the existing programs and preferences for the program’s future. In October 2020, staff conducted an online Q & A session. Staff also presented to the County’s Transportation, Planning, Housing and Tenant Landlord commissions. Visit the County website to learn more about the review process.