Bethesda, Silver Spring increase parking rates for 2013

Wednesday - 1/2/2013, 2:47am EST

Parking rates in two Montgomery County towns has gone up for the new year. (Ari Ashe/WTOP)

Ari Ashe, wtop.com

SILVER SPRING, Md. - It now costs more to park in Silver Spring and North Bethesda.

Both short-term and long-term parking rates increased.

Short-term parking rates increased from 75 cents to $1 per hour.

The rates went up Jan. 1, but since it was a federal holiday, Jan. 2 is the first day people will pay the new rates.

Long-term rates, longer than four hours, increased from 60 to 65 cents and monthly parking permits increased from $113 to $123.

"All money makes a difference, but that's a minimal amount of money. Just try and park in downtown Washington D.C. It's a lot more expensive." says Silver Spring resident Robin Gaster.

And that sentiment is pretty common in Silver Spring.

"It's a quarter, it's not a big deal. I'm not opposed to paying a little more, as long as it helps out," says Sonya Meyers, who occasionally visits Silver Spring with her husband and two babies.

According to Rick Siebert, chief of Montgomery County's Division of Parking Management, it could take a couple weeks until all the meters and garages are converted to the the new rates.

But Chris Higgs, who works at the Sprint Store on Fenton Street, near the AFI Silver Theater, says the increase will hurt him.

"I work nine hours a day, so it's nine hours that I'm going to have to pay for. And I'm just about to have a daughter, so it's going to kill me even more," says Higgs.

He points out while it'll only cost about $2.25 more per day, it adds up to another $600 out of his wallet this year.

Daunte Williams, who drives to Silver Spring three to four times a week, shares those same concerns.

"It will chip away during the long haul. During these economic times, you need to save every dollar you can get, as far as parking goes," says Williams.

But when asked whether the higher parking rates will keep him away, he said no.

"It also might cut down on people spending as much money at stores," says Mike Graves of Hyattsville, Md.

Siebert says the higher parking rates in Silver Spring and North Bethesda are expected to bring in $700,000 per year, and about $350,000 between now at the end of this fiscal year, June 30.

The Montgomery County Council suggested raising the parking rates in 2012 to help fill some budget deficits.

Follow @AriAsheWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2013 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)