Fairfax County 
Residential Parking Restrictions


Are Fairfax County Residential Parking Restrictions excessive? 



From the Washington Post's Dr Gridlock Friday Sept 19, 04

Parking at Huntington 

Dear Dr. Gridlock:  How does one ever find a parking space at the Huntington Metro station after 9 a.m. on weekdays? My husband and I are retired and used to take Metro through the week to see the sights and shop. Now we need to see ailing relatives in Silver Spring and can't do so unless someone drops us off at Metro or unless we ride on the weekend. Any suggestions? 
C.L. Hevenor 

Metrorail has never been busier, with 700,000 to 800,000 trips a day. Parking, never plentiful to begin with, is tighter than ever. Take a bus to the station if you can, or ride Metro to Silver Spring on weekends. Anyone else have thoughts? 




In neighborhoods adjacent to large office complexes or major transit hubs, residents are sometime unable to find parking when all available spots are taken by commuters who street park for the day.   In an effort to protect residential interests, municipal governments of post parking restriction for all but resident permit holders.   

Since the roads are paid for by the public, most municipalities strike a balance between protecting the residents while allowing some short-duration use by the general public.  Typically non-permit holder parking is initially limited to 3 hours.   If this limit fails to protect enough resident parking the limit is reduced to 2 hours

This technique, for example, is use by Alexandria, Washington D.C. and by Arlington County.

As seen on the left, In the Mount Vernon District of Fairfax County, total restrictions are used.  This results in situation like that shown on the right where Bangor Drive 

just north of Fairhaven Avenue around  10:00AM on a workday is empty.  Of particular interest, this restriction is most likely a result of the location being less then 0.5 miles from the Huntington Metro Station.  Clearly some restrictions were necessary but who does it help to have the so much of the parkable portions of the road unused.   For example some years ago a Mount Vernon or Lee District resident needing to get into D.C. for a short meeting early in the day could use Metro without paying a parking fee.   For the last few years the time window was shortened and the fee raised.   Recently the fee was raised and the no-fee window was closed.  Considering the ride fare increases, even during off-hours, a mid-day metro trip will often cost more then a direct drive into town.   This problem is exacerbated by the need for a 'Smart Card' to park. 


More use of Metrorail during off hours and improved walk based fitness.  



Fairfax County replace the 'zero' hour restrictions with 3 hours restrictions.  If over-parking results, apply a 2 hours restriction in those limited areas.   Based the experience of neighboring municipalities, most likely there will be no need to have any streets with less then a 2 hour restriction.