Paying for Parking

Why We Charge for Parking on Commercial Streets

  • Charging for parking is a well-established and effective public management tool where demand exceeds supply.
  • Parking charges encourage users to use parking efficiently; with parking spaces turning over more frequently, more users are accommodated.
  • Low- or no-cost street parking encourages more vehicle use and generates traffic.

Types of Meters and Parking Payment Devices

  • It’s illegal to pay for additional time at the meter after the time limit has been reached. Feeding the meter beyond its original maximum time could result in a parking ticket.
  • People with disabilities may park at any parking meter including those that are specially designated meters and with longer allowable times.
Resident paying with a credit card at a multispace pay station.

A multispace pay station.

Multispace Pay Stations

There are two ways to pay for multispace parking: by coin — nickels, dimes, quarters or dollar coins — or credit card (Visa, MasterCard or Discover).

  1. Insert coins or your credit card into the pay station and indicate the time.
  2. Push the print button for your receipt.
  3. Place the receipt face-up on the dashboard of your car.

Single-Space Meters

More than 2,400 single-space parking meters are located throughout the County for widely varying increments of time. They’re easily spotted from your driver’s seat by a color code.

  • Yellow – 30 minutes
  • Silver – 1 hour
  • Blue – 2 hours
  • Red – 4 hours
  • Green – 10 hours
Flexible single-space parking meter

A flexible single-space parking meter that accepts both coins and credit cards.

Flexible Pay Single-Space Parking Meters

This is a new type of single-space parking meter that accepts nickels, dimes, quarters, dollar coins and credit cards.


The iPark is a prepaid in-car meter device. To use it, select the type of meter you’re parking at, start the iPark* and hang it from your rearview mirror. When you return to your car, turn it off and you will have paid for the minutes you parked.

*Note: Due to a manufacturer shortage, we’re not currently selling new iParks. 

Pay by Cell

We’ll be implementing a new parking service in fall 2014 called “pay by cell” that will allow drivers to pay for on-street parking by credit card through their cellphones. This convenient service is currently available in the District of Columbia, Montgomery County Maryland, and Alexandria, Va.

There are a number of companies that provide this service. In fact, the District, Montgomery County and Alexandria have each chosen a different supplier. Current hand-held devices used by parking enforcement aren’t compatible with the pay by cell services, which has caused a technical delay. The Arlington County Police Department is currently in a procurement process to purchase new devices that will be compatible.

Once the hand-held procurement is completed and the service vendor is selected, we’ll implement this innovative and convenient way to pay for parking.