On April 5th, the SCA hosted a meeting about parking in our area. Michael Connor, Arlington County’s parking manager, and Mickey Papillon, Federal Realty’s Director of Asset Management for the Village of Shirlington, presented recent and proposed changes. Residents and merchants including Signature Theater, Guapos, Ichiban, and Yogi Castle explained problems and shared ideas for improvements.
The new “Pay to Park” system in the Village was in the main acceptable to residents at this meeting, though more advance notice would have been appreciated.
(1) It was criticized, however, for allowing new street parking on either side of the white stone fountain plaza in the middle of Campbell Avenue. This fountain was created as a visual focus for the Village and is much used in good weather by kids and families. Following the SCA meeting, the relevant County teams acknowledged that those signs and meters will be removed, but the schedule has not been set.
(2) Participants also asked that early morning paid parking in front of Best Buns and Peet’s, our two bakery and coffee shops, be re-assessed and, if possible, eliminated. Our business model has for years been built on encouraging morning “swing-by” customers. The County will work on this request and on fine-tuning the Pay to Park system over coming months.
The Campbell Garage behind Harris Teeter was the other focus of discussion.
(1) Years of an untenable parking agreement – Twelve years ago many different entities were given “rights” to park in this structure in an agreement crafted by the County with the owner, Federal Realty. This agreement has never worked as intended, parking has become balkanized, and enforcement has been uneven and punitive. For years now, the 4th floor and ramp area of 160 spaces set aside for the Delancey apartment tenants has been almost empty while parking on lower floors was jammed and tow trucks hauled cars out. The signage is immensely confusing. Theater patrons, library users, and residents and their visitors have all had bad experiences that hurt the reputation of the Village. Years of complaints have gone nowhere.
(2) The County and Federal Realty have now agreed to work on a plan to review and, if necessary, amend and enforce the Campbell parking agreement. The SCA has informed the County Board that resolving this situation is one of our TOP priorities. Following the April 5th meeting, an “all-points bulletin” was sent by Parking to Community Housing Planning Dept. (CPHD), Zoning and Dept. of Environmental Services (DES) staff and relevant staff will meet to discuss next steps.
Our next civic association meeting will take place on June 8th, 6:30 p.m., at the Shirlington Public Library, and will focus on the detailed plan for theWalter Reed Drive intersection changes proposed by the Transportation section of DES. A separate notice will be sent but please mark your calendars.
Speaking of parking changes, later this week, the Oxford Street parking lot between Jennie Dean Park and the Shirlington Dog Park will be milled, repaved and re-striped to create more parking spaces. This is long overdue and another improvement for which we have advocated.
Edie Wilson, Richard Adler, Bobby Crider, and Masha Sharma
Board of Directors