Opinion Your Views — 11 July 2013
Parking ticket loopholes abound at Mark Center

To the editor:

I recently had occasion to visit the Inova Imaging Center at Mark Center for two MRIs. As I approached the building, I was surprised to be greeted by an automated parking ticket kiosk, which was not there on my last trip to the area — to eat dinner at Clyde’s — about a year ago.

When I entered the medical facility, I handed the clerk behind the counter my ticket to validate. She promptly pointed me to an apparatus in the entranceway where it was done electronically.

I was told the formerly free — and ample — parking was eliminated in December, about the time that Washington Headquarters Services became fully operational, apparently with the intent to capitalize on the limited availability of commuter parking at the military installation.

But anyone can come into any of the lobbies of the barricaded buildings and validate their ticket and not pay a cent, completely defeating the purpose of the new system — and the cost of equipment. I’m sure many motorists already have caught on, resulting in minimal return to those who made the investment.

Wouldn’t the better tactic have been to install parking validation units in each office? It would have been a little more of an upfront expense but in accord with the reason for the newly erected barriers: the collection of money.

I have to wonder, given this misguided execution of such a simple concept, what can be expected from the five companies that the city has entrusted with the Beauregard corridor redevelopment when it comes time to tackle the project’s bigger, more substantial and complicated issues. Just a thought — which, in all of this, seems to be sorely lacking.

- Karen Ann DeLuca
Alexandria

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