Small business owners and residents in Vienna narrowed down more than two dozen suggested solutions to make it easier to park in the town’s central business district.
Last night’s brainstorming session was the second meeting in an ongoing effort to find viable public parking solutions while the town waits for Fairfax County’s renovation of the Patrick Henry Library, which could bring a parking garage.
“I don’t think we’re going to have a parking garage in town for a few years so we’re trying to come up with ideas to alleviate the problem,” Jim Brooke, the chair of the Town Business Liaison Committee, said at the meeting. “It’s important to get feedback from business owners and property owners because you guys live this every day.”
Mayor Laurie DiRocco said that the library got moved up in the county’s renovation schedule from 2026 to 2022. Until then, though, attendees suggested that small business owners meet with the county’s board in June and collect signatures to push for public parking as part of the library renovation.
Friderike Butler, a member of the Town Business Liaison Committee, suggested shared parking, which could encourage drivers to park and walk — potentially encouraging people to shop in more stores as they explore the town.
“You have all of these individually designed signs of ‘No Parking’ or ‘Patrons only,'” Butler told the business owners in attendance. “The message that you’re sending is [that] you’re not wanted here. Come in for your one transitional parking and then please leave.”
Some business owners said that sharing parking sounds like a good idea, yet doesn’t add parking or address needs for nearby parking spots for customers to load heavy items.
Dave Wallen from Nothing Bundt Cakes said that designated parking spots are often necessary for patrons who might not want to hunt for a parking spot nearby.
While possible pricey, Butler said having a digital parking map could help people find public parking spots around town that visitors often don’t know about. A similar idea would have the town put up big, blue parking signs that could direct drivers to those hidden spaces.
At the end of the meeting, attendees had the opportunity to vote with stickers for their top three in the “idea gallery,” which included all of the short-, mid- and long-term ideas from the two meetings.
Some of the top vote getters:
- business meeting with Fairfax County to accelerate Patrick Henry Library garage
- create a comprehensive, digital map for available public parking options
- clear and improve town-branded parking signage
- comprehensive strategic parking and marketing plan sponsored and coordinated by the town for businesses participating in shared parking
- comprehensive shared parking solution
The idea wall is set to get displayed somewhere accessible for local business owners who were not in attendance last night to vote on the ideas.