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Know Before You Go At The Bethesda-Elm Garage

New parking lot signage will let parkers know how many spots are available.

Ever have nightmares about endlessly circling the crowded Bethesda-Elm garage, searching for a coveted parking spot?

Now parkers can check how many spaces are available in the lot before they venture inside. New electronic signage has been installed at the entrances to the popular garage, located on Bethesda Row between Bethesda and Elm Streets, that will flash the number of spaces left.

Late last week the signage was ready to go, but wasn't showing available spots just yet -- that was expected soon, according to Ken Hartman, director of the

The signage is one of the many ways officials are working to ease the impact of Lot 31 construction, expected to

The popular Lots 31 and 31A at the nearby corner of Bethesda and Woodmont Avenues will be closed for 30 months during the construction of the major public parking garage, which will bring 940 new public spaces to busy Bethesda Row.  About 279 spots are currently available in Lots 31 and 31A, which are popular among shoppers, diners, and users of the nearby

The construction project will also mean the 20-month closure of Woodmont Avenue between Bethesda Avenue and Leland Street, which will happen about one to two months following groundbreaking.

To help open up parking spots for shoppers, the county plans on shifting long-term parking out of the Bethesda-Elm garage -- which holds over 900 parking spots -- and adding 103 short-term parking spaces there.

Long-term spaces will be available at the Woodmont Avenue-Old Georgetown Road Garage and the Auburn-Del Ray Avenue Garage. Long term parkers will be encouraged to take the free Bethesda Circulator to head downtown from outlying lots, and Bethesda Circulator service will also be expanded.

The closure of lots 31 and 31A have many in the area worried about impact on

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