Berliner Issues Mea Culpa Over Neighborhood Parking Meters
Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner today took some of the blame for the now suspended installation of 28 parking meters on a heavily residential Chevy Chase street. At his weekly press conference, Berliner (D-Bethesda-Potomac) said he's pleased the County Department of Transportation agreed to stop the installation of the meters and look into implementing a residential permitting system after complaints flooded into the County Council office last week. The 28 meters planned for Chevy Chase Drive and Offutt Lane, about a half mile from the Bethesda Parking Lot District (PLD), were in the county's fiscal year 2013 parking budget. But a number of residents in the neighborhood of condos and row homes said they were never made aware of the plans, until DOT began installing poles for the meters early last week. "The meter situation was not handled particularly well," Berliner said. "I'm not clean in respect to this. Our Council approved this, our staff received this from DOT and our [Transportaton] Committee recommended it. I'm not blameless in this. That's why I moved aggressively to say, 'We made a mistake on this one.' We hit the reset button on this and we're going to make it right." Berliner issued a letter to DOT on Thursday, requesting it look into residential permitting in lieu of meters. By the end of the day, DOT had agreed to halt the meter installation and begin the process of residential permitting, promising to include the residents in discussions. "I'm hopeful that these parking issues are going to be resolved in a favorable way," Berliner said. A similar proposal for meters on Battery Lane, also outside the Bethesda PLD, was taken out of the parking budget per Berliner's request. A group there began an online petition to stop the meters.