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VIA THE WASHINGTON POST:

Watch for mid-January changes in how much to pay and when to pay while parking on D.C. streets.

Drivers will notice three developments:

— The District will complete the premium parking program, under which most of the city’s nearly 17,000 meters charge $2 per hour and a couple of thousand charge 75 cents per hour.

— Parkers will have to pay on Saturdays.

— Nighttime parking enforcement hours downtown will be extended to 10:30 p.m.

The District Department of Transportation plans to carry out the parking policy changes approved by the D.C. Council over the past year and wants to get it done all at once. The program involves changes to 100,000 street signs and parking meter faces, and it wouldn’t make sense to stretch this out in phases.

The District government will make more money from these changes, but it has some other goals, including these:

— Encourage turnover in metered spaces to stimulate commerce in the business districts.

— Ease traffic congestion by shifting some of the parkers off the streets and into parking garages and by encouraging turnover so that drives don’t wander endlessly seeking an open space.

Any change as big as this is bound to cause confusion when it gets started. Drivers will have to pay close attention to the signs at the place where they park. Around the middle of January, if things go according to this plan, they’ll want to check those signs each time they park, even if they think they are familiar with the rules for the spot. The payment or the timing might have changed.

Carry lots of quarters. Neither the old style single space meters nor the new green multi-space meters give change.

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