As of Monday, June 12, motorists who park on the National Mall will have to pay for parking on both weekdays and weekends, except for Christmas Day.Motorists and tourists no longer can park for free around the Tidal Basin and National Mall. Paid parking went into effect Monday morning in the 1,100 parking spaces near the monuments, Smithsonian, and other museums. Now it will cost $2 per hour to park every day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., with a three-hour maximum stay. While the National Park Service’s stated goal is to promote the use of Metro rail and bus service and to encourage a better turnover of the limited number of available spaces, museum visitors and tourists are now forced to make alternate arrangements that may prove a little more difficult. The Park Service has, however, made paying for parking as convenient as possible. Mall and museum visitors can pay with the ParkMobile smartphone app already being used in other areas, as well as by credit card.
Down towards Hains Point and East Potomac Park, there are still 400 free parking spaces, however, parking in those spaces would mean that visitors would have to walk a fair distance to the mall. Motorists who wish to park in the free spaces further from the National Mall should use the D.C. Circulator buses. The park service has publicly stated that enforcement will begin immediately, as the awareness campaign was started six weeks ago. Paid parking on the National Mall is expected to generate an additional $5.5 million in revenue per year, which will be used towards the improvement of services such as the D.C. Circulator route on the National Mall. For D.C. circulator route, schedule, and fare information, visit their web site.