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Fairfax County recommends metered parking, signage in Tysons core

Vehicles parked along Boone Boulevard in Tysons (via Google Maps)

Parking meters are coming to Tysons streets.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors expressed support yesterday (Tuesday) for staff’s recommendation that the county introduce managed on-street parking to the Tysons core, potentially paving the way for the practice to expand to other areas later.

“I definitely support this,” Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said at the transportation committee meeting. “I think this is an important step towards managed public parking, which I think will have a role in the future in Tysons and other places, I’m sure, around the county.”

Currently, the county doesn’t charge for on-street parking, allowing drivers to leave vehicles for unlimited amounts of time.

That has become a particular problem in Tysons, according to a two-year review that the Fairfax County Department of Transportation concluded in December 2020. The study found that commercial vehicles often take up spots for days, even weeks at a time, in addition to low parking turnover near Metro stops and other issues.

The review also examined Reston, but staff said they aren’t recommending any changes there at this time, citing the limited amount of public, curbside parking available in the area. FCDOT did not return Tysons Reporter’s request for further clarification by press time.

Paid parking isn’t new to the Tysons area, but it exists mostly on private streets and property, such as Avenir Place near the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro station. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority also has a metered surface parking lot at that station.

The Mosaic District in Merrifield has limits on how long people can park on the street and in some garage spaces, but parking remains free.

FCDOT senior transportation planner Henri McCartney said that, after examining jurisdictions that have parking programs in place, county staff found an average rate of $1.50 per hour.

The county could secure a third party to install and manage parking meters, conduct enforcement, process citation fines and schedule appeals.

“We do need to move forward with this,” Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said, adding that it would make sense to work with a third party that drivers might already use when parking elsewhere in the D.C. region.

The vendor would be responsible for implementing the plan, overseeing day-to-day operations, and collecting revenue from the meters and parking citations that will go to the county, according to FCDOT staff.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust noted that the Tysons area also runs into problems with the limited amount of parking around its four Metro stops, none of which have dedicated, public garages. McCartney said the county is looking at ways to have longer term parking available so Metro riders could park nearby.

As part of the possible changes, McCartney suggested that the parking program include payment kiosks, signage limiting how long a vehicle could park in a spot, and a variety of ways for people to pay, from an app to text messaging or calling a number.

To develop the program, FCDOT will request one-time funding of $100,000 in the county’s next budget to hire a traffic design consultant, who would help determine what streets will be affected, possible hours of operations, and other factors.

“Since this is the very first implementation of managed parking in the county, we believe that we need the expertise of a consultant to…help us get it right,” McCartney said.

Anticipated recurring costs include $120,000 annually for a new transportation planner, with additional positions potentially needed if the program expands, and $250,000 annually for the parking services vendor. Staff hope that the parking revenue will eventually cover the program’s costs.

Any changes are still years away. The county’s tentative timeline for implementation has staff bringing a full managed parking plan, including meter rates, to the Board of Supervisors for its endorsement in the fall of 2023.

Photo via Google Maps

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