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City reminds midtown visitors about $2 parking

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Instead of circling around looking for an on-street parking space or getting a citation for parking in a residential area, the City and midtown business owners want drivers to easily find convenient parking when visiting midtown. Working together, they are renewing an effort to get more people directed to the state-owned East End parking garage.

For a flat $2, motorists can take advantage of all night parking on weeknights and weekends. Bright streetlight banners went up yesterday around midtown directing people to the garage entrance. The parking garage is located on 17th Street between Capitol Avenue and L Street, which is across from de Vere’s, The Firestone Public House and the Mix Downtown nightclub. The City manages the state-owned parking facility week nights from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. and all day on weekends.

“It’s a hidden gem” commented Matt Eierman, City Parking Facilities Manager. “We have 600 prime spaces in the garage, and on most weeknights we have just a handful of customers parked in the garage. We believe the uninviting entrance on 17th Street is hard to find. Additionally, the exterior’s design was meant to blend the garage into the ambiance of its surroundings, which obscures it as a parking garage. We have addressed these issues with signage, banners and outreach.”

To address the facility’s lack of identity, the City, the Midtown Business Association, and The Handle District have partnered on a variety of renewed marketing efforts:

 Purchase of streetlight way-finding banners
 Purchase of a Velcro banner to shroud the “employee parking only” after 4 p.m. on weekdays and weekends
 Reprinting and redistribution of postcards advertising the $2 parking for businesses to share with customers
 Encouraging businesses to promote the garage availability to employees as an alternative to using on-street parking
 Providing flyers in parking citation envelopes to remind on-street parking violators in the 17th and L street vicinity of an inexpensive alternative

“Midtown is a popular destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment, especially in the evening and on weekends. We see increased traffic congestion and competition for parking during those times, with the busiest day of the month being Second Saturday, when art galleries and restaurants are packed with customers. There’s no need to drive around or park in a residential neighborhood where parking is restricted when you can park at the East End Garage for only $2, and still be within walking distance of Midtown’s destination businesses. It’s a no-brainer,” said Elizabeth Studebaker, executive director of the Midtown Business Association.

“We hope people will give it a try and become repeat customers because it’s so easy and conveniently located,” said Seann Rooney, executive director of the Handle District. “We are also purchasing validations to the facility for our employees as part of a new employee parking program.”

For answers to frequently asked questions about parking at the East End, go here.

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