City approves new parking policy for Washington Avenue


While this change only impacts the homes and businesses on the streets in the entertainment area, it opens the door for this to happen other neighborhoods.

Washington Avenue has been a Houston hot spot.

"The growth has been tremendous. Everyday it seems like something new is opening," restaurant owner Roland Laurenzo said.

But the businesses plus older historic neighborhoods have created a parking problem.

"When you add to that, the overflow parking for customers frequenting our WAshington Avenue businesses, you get literally an explosive situation for. And because cars are parked Willy-nilly throughout the neighborhoods, it's an attractive nuisance for vandals," said Jane Cahill with Super Neighborhood 22.

But there is applause following City Council's actions on Wednesday.

"It's going to take a little bit of time to put the meters in place," Houston Mayor Annise Parker said.

They gave approval to create a parking benefit district, which designates paid parking for customers.

"It creates a definite plan of parking where people know for sure, can I or can I not park here, and what's it going to cost me," Laurenzo said.

Residents will have permit parking.

"Both the business community, the restaurants, the bars and the neighbors are all on board for this so I think this will bring what they want and that's an excitement for the area and security for the neighborhood," Houston City Councilman Ellen Cohen said.

The revenue will go right back to the neighborhood for sidewalks, lighting and security.

But not everyone is on board.

"This is a new way to tax and fee. That's seldom a solution and we don't need more of that," Houston City Councilwoman Helena Brown said.

This is an 18-month pilot program for that area, but it could spread to other parts of town.

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