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Parking Changes Approved for Schools, Recreational Facilities

by Katie Pyzyk — February 26, 2013 at 11:30 am 1,455 29 Comments

Ashlawn Elementary School addition site plan Renderings of the future Long Bridge Park Aquatics, Health & Fitness Facility

Changes have been approved for parking regulations at the county’s schools and recreational facilities.

At its meeting on Saturday (February 23), the County Board voted unanimously to amend the Zoning Ordinance, which was necessary in order to modify parking regulations for elementary and middle schools and noncommercial recreational facilities. The amendments allow the Board to change the number of required parking spaces at the facilities, which it previously was not permitted to do.

The approved revisions reduce the number of spaces needed at elementary and middle schools. Additionally, the Board now has the ability to alter requirements at individual sites and to locate a portion of the parking spaces off-site.

County staff members have been looking into parking requirements since the issue arose during the public review process for the addition to Ashlawn Elementary School, the new school to be built on the Williamsburg Middle School campus and the planned aquatics facility at Long Bridge Park. Parking demand at all the sites in question was deemed less than what was required by the Zoning Ordinance.

“With APS expanding some facilities and adding new ones to keep up with growing enrollment, we needed to come up with a new approach to parking for our schools and public facilities,” said Arlington County Board Chairman Walter Tejada. “The changes the Board is making in the Zoning Ordinance will ensure that our schools provide for adequate, but not excessive, parking and have plans in place to reduce parking demand.”

All schools and public facilities must also submit a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan to ensure the sites do not build excessive amounts of parking, and that strategies to reduce the demand for parking are examined.

  • southarlington

    this is just crazy …Do you want the swimming pool to do well ? Have a sufficent parking spots same at the schools I am sorry not everyone wants to walk to events at night …Can you please stop with ” No car policy” …Get over the fact that most people have cars and like to drive them …

    • drax

      “Get over the fact that most people have cars and like to drive them …”

      Next time you’re in a horrible traffic jam, tell yourself that.

      • Southarlington

        Drax my point is stop pushing your( the boards) no car policy on everyone ….people have cars and use them you can not and will not be able to change that ….I am pretty certain all the board members have cars too…until bus rates,metro rates fares and parking rates come down it is more conivent for some people to drive.

        • speonjosh

          Your starting point is flawed. You seem to assume that having a car and being able to drive and park whenever you want and wherever you want is the natural starting point. It is no more natural than any other solution that county government / APS can come up with.

          You have no right or need to drive your car whenever and wherever you want to.
          Our particular society in this time and place has developed a bias towards cars. There are plenty of reasons for that. But it is so prevalent that many people seem to have come to believe that it is the natural way of things. There is far, far more “pushing” of a pro-car policy on to all of us than any
          so-called “no car” policy.

          • southarlington

            How and why do I have no right to drive my car whenever and whereever I want to ? I did not get the memo that stated I could not do what I want I wth my own property……

          • Ballstonian

            You can do what you want with your car ON your own property, sure … hopefully you have a large piece of property, with a long driveway, so you can really have some fun with it.
            But if you are planning on taking your car off your own property, then the government has a lot of say in the matter, including licensing and insurance requirements, what roads get built and maintained, what traffic laws apply, and yes, whether or not parking is going to be available at public facilities. Having a car doesn’t mean the government (your fellow citizens) is required to build infrastructure to your liking to help you to enjoy it.

          • drax

            You have a right to drive whenever you want, sure.

            But so does everyone else. And you don’t have a right to be in the front of the line.

            Hence my comment about being stuck in traffic.

            So stop focusing on your right to drive, and start thinking about how to plan a county where everyone has the choice to drive, or not, conveniently and without traffic jams.

          • south arlington

            Tell that to everyone that commutes into Arlington ….like I have stated before make mass transit more affordable ….Who said I want to be first ? Not everyone wants to or is capable of walking everywhere …Read what the senior citizen said when you start making things diffucult and not easy to acess you ailenate a group of people . Is that what the board wants ?My point is if you want to have these facilities to host grand events espiclally at the new swimming complex parking should have room for a fair amount of people ….unless there will be a parking garage within walking distance that makes it easy for people to get to then fine it also as to affordable or free.

        • drax

          And my point is that YOUR policy is the one causing all the traffic jams and making it harder to use a car in the county.

          Yes, it’s more convenient for some people to drive – especially when others can conveniently get off the roads and out of your way.

          We don’t have the space or money to build parking endless parking lots or roads. We have to make it easier for some people to take other modes.

      • Westover22

        That just reaffirms the his point. Well done.

    • ph7

      I think you misinterpret the issue. The existing school footprints in Arlington are small, and cannot be easily expanded, because most are surrounded by existing homes, roads, other private property. So, you can only make parking available by reducing other space on the school property, such as sport fields, classrooms, pool facilities, etc. It’s a balancing act. At Yorktown HS, they found a balance, but favored athletic fields over parking, which I think is the right choice. So, parking will be inherently constrained, and therefore to accommodate this, plans to reduce parking demand must be in place, like having bike trails and public transportation stops nearby. It’s urban planning, and it’s complicated, and Arlington County has some of the best urban planners around.

      The amendment to the zoning ordinance described here allows for greater flexibility in alloting space usage per individual site to accommodate site specific issues, departing from the existing single allotment policy for all schools/facilities which was inflexible and forced nonsensical design decisions. It’s not crazy – it a welcome amendment.

      • Ballstonian

        “The existing school footprints in Arlington are small, and cannot be easily expanded . . . ”

        Sure they can. As the kids get older, they will gradually move up to bigger shoes, which will leave larger footprints — around the school and elsewhere.
        Not sure how that will help or hurt the parking situation though.

      • southarlington

        I think you need to look at all the resticted parking they have around Yorktown because the homeowners do not vistors parking in front of their houses so in that case they will probably do the same thing at Willamasburg so where are people coming to the school for evening events and class events where are they suppose to park ? ..why also are they resticting the number of faculty parking spots …and it sounds like they would not even have enough for the school staff….that does not make sense Have enough for your staff…

        • ph7

          There is very limited parking, no one disputes that. The question is, what do you give up to gain more parking? A soccer field? A wing of classrooms? More space for the public, fewer for the teachers?

          This is not Fairfax, where you can just cut down some trees and start paving away. Every foot of parking space has a very high cost to other resources. What do you value more?

          I will note that the parking situation with the newly finished building at Yorktown is improve over the parking situation with the old building and footprint. How was this achieved? Thoughtful planning, which included input of residents, faculty, and planning professionals.

          • southarlington

            On some of the schools you can build up instead of taking land away ….and when you say tear down trees and pave that is in esscence what they are doing at Williamsburg….they are taking away soccer fields ….and same at Kenmore …..building up is smarter urban planning then taking away green space and soccer fields in my mind….

      • Planit

        Arlington has some of the best planners around…??! I work with these people they are not the sharpest tools in the shed.

  • Smark

    5 years after the pool is built: “We attribute part of the shortfall in use and revenue to not having adequate parking on site”.

  • novasteve

    I don’t approve of you driving! I know what’s best for you! You shouldn’t be allowed to do things I don’t approve of like driving! I am so tolerant!
    Keep on voting for liberals and you’ll get the same results.

    • drax

      It’s so old, steve.

      • novasteve

        Yes, being so controlling of other people is very old. But that doesn’t stop liberals from doing it.

        “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
        — C.S. Lewis

        • guest

          I fail to see what cupids and trannies have to do with this….

    • speonjosh

      Who the heck upvotes this guy?

      • guest

        he himself, obviously! (yes, disqus allows people to vote themselves up). Probably has a few other aliases to log in and vote himself up with those too.

  • skippy johnson

    So build parking garages (2-story or underground) and charge a nominal amount ($1.00) if you have to.

    • tiredofthisspit

      To charge you need someone to collect/enforce – probably not a worthwhile cost, when you can just have fewer spots. I guess no expenditure is too great to keep parking from overflowing into the neighborhood for a few events a year. And oh yeah, suggesting a few kids might bike or take the bus to school is part of that Agenda 21 thing to enslave everyone. Right.

      • Michael

        As a Senior Citizen who uses the schools for activities like Bridge, Dancing, and various other things at night I have to tell you that most of us can’t walk more than a mile. (And if we did so at night we would surely get run down by
        a car.)

        We do not have all activities at all schools and Senior Centers.

        (For instance, we only have one dance in the entire county and it is on one
        Friday each month at the Lee Center.)

        If you want to have dances in every neighborhood school, fine, we can walk
        to them.

        However, it is cruel to have so few places for Seniors to do things and then
        take away the parking so we can’t even do those things.

        Fairfax County has numerous places for Seniors to Dance and do other things.

        It appears that Arlington wants it’s Seniors to travel to Fairfax for our evening
        activities.

        Shame on Arlington!

  • Crystal City

    “…ensure the sites do not build excessive amounts of parking…” Please tell me ONE place in Arlington that has an excessive amount of parking. I get what they’re doing here, but we’re not stupid. No where in all of Arlington is there an excess amount of parking spaces. Just… no.

  • Andy

    It’s OBE for most schools in Arlington anyway. They may have been built to the old standard but they are so overcrowded that the standard was just a joke. At least this way the new schools will start with a reasonable standard for their size.

    • speonjosh

      Obeyoyo, yo, yoyo, yoyo, yo

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