Washington Ave. stakeholders weigh benefits of managed parking with meters, permits

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As popularity of Washington Avenue has grown for nightlife and high density housing, so have the issues about parking along the avenue and adjacent residential streets. (Submitted photo)

by Ken Fountain
for The Leader

As the Washington Avenue corridor continues to boom with hip restaurants and bars and a younger set moving into new townhomes in the area, longtime residents and businesses and local officials are grappling with a growing challenge – the steady stream of cars that has made the area Houston’s latest “strip.”

But city offiicals hope to avoid some of the problems that plagued earlier hotspots, notably the Richmond Avenue scene that flourished in the mid-1990s before traffic woes and rising crime drove many people away and left several of the once-hip nightspots as vacant shells.

The idea they’ve come up is a Parking Benefit District, a special-purpose district that would create a managed paid parking system where much of the revenue generated would go back to the community in the form of economic development projects.

The plan is moving through the development stage, with a draft ordinance soon be considered by a Houston City Council committee before going to a vote before the full Council sometime this fall. If approved, implementation would begin by the end of the year and be completed by next spring.

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