A technology recently adopted by the division, PGS displays real-time parking availability information for Garage 57 and efficiently directs motorists to vacant spaces in Garages 31, 60 and 61. By eliminating the circling effect of searching for a parking space, the system decreases miles driven and therefore reduces vehicle emissions.
Partnering with Zipcar, the division offers 23 reserved carshare parking spaces in on- and off-street facilities. Since members do not own the vehicles and costs are proportional to the amount driven, a structural incentive exists to drive less. Through this decreased auto-related travel and by use of compact, fuel-efficient vehicles, carsharing programs help reduce vehicle emissions.
Bicycle racks have been installed in a majority of the division’s garages. The county’s recently passed zoning ordinance provides guidelines and specifications for the installation of future bicycle facilities. The division closely monitors bike rack utilization and adds racks as demand dictates.
In the division’s commitment to advancing the local parking system, over 820 solar-powered, single-space meters have been installed in Bethesda. Plans call for the expansion of this program into Silver Spring. Solar energy and a rechargeable battery pack power the meters and thereby cut down on waste by eliminating the disposal of standard meter batteries.
The division installed its first generation electric vehicle charging stations in Bethesda’s Garage 31 in early 2015. Future stations are on the horizon as a divisional EV Plan is in development which describes the electrical readiness of the division’s facilities, installment and potential upgrade costs, and siting recommendations.
The interior lighting system in each of the division’s garages has been upgraded from high pressure sodium vapor lights to fluorescent tube fixtures. The new high-output lamps are not only brighter, but have saved the county around 20% in facility energy-related expenditures. Currently, two surface lots are equipped with LED lamps and Garage 11 in Bethesda is expected to be converted to LED in the upcoming months.
To help mitigate the environmental impact of increased urban development, the division continues to pursue the prospect of installing solar power generating panels on the roofs of strategically located garages. Not only would the solar panels produce clean renewable energy, but the panels themselves would reduce energy demand on sunny days by shading parked cars.
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