Maryland Parking Lots Go Underground

For a long time, surface parking lots blanketed Maryland's Montgomery County. Developers and county officials now prioritize mixed-use infill with parking concealed underground.

July 7, 2015, 7:00 AM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc

Parking Sign

TFoxFoto / Shutterstock

As the affluent area grows more urban, Montgomery County looks forward to a decline in asphalt and concrete. "Many big public lots near shopping districts or public transportation hubs also happen to be on some of the most prime real estate in the county. Developers would rather turn them into something like The Flats at Bethesda, which will have restaurants, stores and upscale condos."

Some longtime parkers experienced separation anxiety. "When we closed the parking ... I didn't realize how many people had a personal reserved parking space in a public lot. So many came up and said 'You took my parking away. You took my space away.' But the end result is what was 300 surface parking spaces is now 960 underground parking spaces and what we hope people will appreciate as beautiful stuff above."

"Surface parking lots are becoming increasingly obsolete, says County Executive Isiah Leggett." Between less surface parking, more bikes, and declining VMT, Montgomery seems set to eventually wean itself off car dependence. 

Monday, June 29, 2015 in WAMU

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