County bans overnight commercial parking on downtown McLean street

Commercial vehicles, like charter buses, have been taking up parking on Whittier Avenue in McLean, businesses say (via Google Maps)

Businesses along Whittier Avenue in McLean will soon get some relief from the trucks, trailers and other vehicles hoarding parking spots on the downtown street.

At the request of the business owners, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors agreed unanimously at its meeting on Tuesday (May 9) to restrict overnight, on-street parking on two blocks between Old Dominion Drive and Laughlin Avenue.

Under the restrictions, all commercial vehicles, recreational vehicles and trailers will be prohibited from parking on Whittier from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. on all seven days of the week, according to county staff, who recommended approval of the measure.

Over the past year, there has been a “significant” increase in commercial vehicles using the two-lane road as overnight parking or a “24/7 parking lot,” said Dr. Andrew Hinkle, who has a dentistry practice in one of the office buildings on Whittier.

“It has caused an extreme limited visibility of our businesses. People being able to see our businesses from the street is paramount to our success,” Hinkle told the board in video testimony. “Additionally, we’ve had limited parking due to the number of spots these large and long vehicles are taking up on Whittier Avenue. Prior to their parking there, those spots were constantly filled every day. Now, our patients and our clients are having difficulty finding parking spots.”

Overnight commercial vehicle parking is now prohibited on two blocks of Whittier Avenue in McLean (via Fairfax County)

Hinkle said the parking issue has also raised safety concerns, making it difficult for drivers to see oncoming traffic when exiting the parking lot for his office’s building at 6711 Whittier Avenue.

One time, a woman pulling out of the lot got “t-boned” by a driver on the street, he recalled. He has also witnessed or heard about “several” near-collisions.

“Clearly, this is not the intention of what the parking on that street should be. I highly encourage you to pass the parking restrictions so that we can get back to a more safe and business-friendly environment,” Hinkle said before the board’s vote.

Hinkle Dentistry wasn’t the only business to contact the Dranesville District office about a parking restriction on Whittier, though the dentist was the only person to submit testimony at Tuesday’s public hearing.

A review of the affected blocks over a 30-day period by the Fairfax County Department of Transportation confirmed the complaints from the businesses, county transportation planner Henri Stein McCartney said.

“Long-term parking of commercial vehicles is occurring, thereby diminishing the capacity of on-street parking for other uses,” staff said in the board agenda.

Commercial vehicles, as defined by the county’s code, include waste collection vehicles, tractor-trailers, limousines, vehicles carrying food and beverages, vehicles with lawn care or construction equipment, and any vehicle that exceeds 21 feet in length, 8 feet in height, 102 inches in width or 12,000 pounds.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust thanked Hinkle for testifying and working with the county “to address a serious safety issue and a convenience issue in downtown McLean.”

Photo via Google Maps

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