LVCA Statement at Planning Commission Meeting
My name is John Carten. I am President of the Lyon Village Citizens Association.
Much of Lyon Village is covered by the Zone permit parking program. We are located next to Clarendon and the Court House commercial areas as well as the two Metro stations. The current RPP has been successful in protecting our streets from being inundated from cars seeking a place to park. We see no reason to change it. If there are a few perceived problems in other areas of the County then the County should tweak those areas but don’t ruin it for everyone else. The proposed changes to the plan seem to go against all of the stated goals of the original plan.
We have spoken with a number of Civic Association that feel the same way. The program is working now so we don’t see a need to change a good thing. If it needs to generate more revenue to cover its costs then raise the price and leave it at that.
Allowing two hour parking is a bad idea. The staff has indicated that the County would be unable to enforce it. Once the word gets out that the County can’t enforce it, people will forgo paying to park in the commercial areas and head for the neighborhoods. Residents would be irate when they see people parked on the streets for long periods of time and have no way to have it enforced. The current system works fine. To park in a zoned area, cars have to display the zone permit. Residents can spot violators and call them in.
This change also is an equity issue because the burden of two hour parking would be greatest on those living closest to the commercial areas. Their streets will be inundated with cars looking for lower cost parking or parking for free. We have many streets that intersect with Wilson Blvd and are literally steps away from the commercial area.
Many of the residential streets are narrow and not designed to be full of parked cars. These are what we call yield streets. Space is needed for cars to pass each other, the neighbors know this and park accordingly. If instead these streets are full of park cars it will be harder to drive on those streets creating unsafe conditions for pedestrians, bikes and cars and for Emergency vehicles responding to calls. This is a safety issue.
Don’t increase the percentages necessary to participate. It is currently set at a reasonable level. Parking levels are lower now because of the pandemic and we will see how soon they come back but eventually it will happen. Raising the percentages makes it too unrealistic.
Trying to create more parking runs counter to the County’s efforts to encourage residents to have a car free diet, walk more, bike more and use scooters. The parking ratios in new buildings in Clarendon have been lowered in recent years. More development is in the pipeline so there will continue to be more pressure on parking. We don’t want to increase traffic and the number of cars so why are we trying to create more parking in the neighborhoods? To park cars from those buildings? In Clarendon and Court House there are large parking garages that are underutilized. That is where these cars should be parking, not in the neighborhoods.
We encourage the Planning Commission to recommend that the County Board take no action on the proposed parking proposal. Too many of the proposed changes are flawed and not ready to implement. The number one flawed change is the proposed two hour parking with no way to enforce it or for residents to be able to tell which cars are in violation. This is just asking for trouble. The current residential parking program is fine, so please don’t change it.