Friday, June 22, 2012

Options for parking, getting around during Lot 31 construction

While Lot 31 is under construction, there are several options for parking and getting where you need to go in downtown Bethesda. If you are heading to Bethesda Avenue, try county garage 11, at the corner of Woodmont Avenue and Old Georgetown Road. Garage 11 offers Pay on Foot, which uses centralized pay stations. Another option is garage 49, located under the B-CC Regional Services Center on Woodmont Avenue, just south of Old Georgetown Road. Garage 49 has more than 900 parking spaces. Finally, parking lot 24, behind Farm Women's Market, has 217 metered spaces.

There are also several private garages along Bethesda Avenue and Elm Street that offer public parking for a fee.  The private garage with direct access to Bethesda Lane is located on 4950 Elm Street Bethesda MD 20814, near the corner of Elm Street and Arlington Road next to Lebanese Taverna. Other convenient paid parking lots operated by Colonial Parking, Inc. are located on Bethesda Avenue behind Rio Grande CafĂ© and Elm Street next to Jaleo.

A word of caution.  Patrons of downtown Bethesda are strongly urged to avoid parking in free private surface parking lots for stores or shopping centers and then leaving the property to shop or dine elsewhere, due to towing.

As a convenience to shoppers and diners, the county and Federal Reality have collaborated on a new valet drop-off area at the corner of Woodmont Avenue and Bethesda Avenue. The valet service, which is available for a fee, is open to all.

Finally, the free Bethesda Circulator is still the best way to get around. It connects shops and dining to nearly all of the parking areas in Bethesda. During the construction period, the Circulator is providing additional bus service. An additional Circulator bus is now running during rush hour (7-10 am, 4-7 pm), and running later hours -- until midnight Monday through Thursday, until 2 am on Friday and Saturday. The buses run approximately every 10 minutes.