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DC Commuters Abandon Metro, Making Already Horrible Traffic Even Worse

Commuters in the District are ditching the Metro and opting for the roadways amid the first week of SafeTrack repairs, adding massive congestion to D.C.’s teeming streets.

Metro officials said ridership at the Ballston Metro station, a hub for many commuters, is down over 27 percent since repairs began Saturday. The Virginia Department of Transportation said highways leading into the District are seeing a large spike in traffic. The unusual congestion is reportedly adding hours to people’s commutes, reports WJLA.

Many are complaining about reduced parking options in the city and expensive parking rates. D.C. officials extended rush hour parking restrictions to try to reduce traffic during SafeTrack, the 10-month overall of the deteriorating system. Commuters are also blasting Mayor Muriel Bowser for not hiring additional traffic control officers to deal with the added congestion. (RELATED: District Hikes Parking Meter Prices By 200 Percent)

Parking meter rates across the city rose last week from 75 cents to $2.30 an hour during normal demand hours, a 200 percent increase. Premium parking zones and commercial loading areas rates rose from $2 to $2.30. Motorists are upset with the massive increase given other parking related costs in the District have risen sharply in the past year. A $5 increase in the fine for expired meters and for residential parking ticket fines went into effect in October. Some experts say the large increase in meter and other parking related fees are asking too much of District drivers.

“These changes represent a bonanza for the city’s coffers, but motorists gain nothing,” John Townsend, the manager of public and government affairs for AAA’s mid-Atlantic region told Fox 5 in May. “The city is ripping off motorists without adding a single parking space to the curbside parking inventory.”

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