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Lyon Village Parking Restrictions In the Works?

by ARLnow.com April 6, 2011 at 10:03 am 2,244 52 Comments

What started as a fight over planned parking restrictions on one Lyon Park street seems to be spreading.

Last week, residents of N. Danville Street and several other Lyon Village streets noticed county staff measuring street widths. Staff were reportedly checking to see if the streets were too narrow for trash trucks and fire trucks, as was the case with N. Edgewood Street in Lyon Park.

According to Lyon Village Citizens Association President H.K. Park, the county is considering restricting parking to one side of Danville and other neighborhood streets that county staffers have deemed too narrow. On Monday, the LVCA will meet to discuss the possible parking changes with county staff.

According to an email sent to residents, the meeting will address:

  • “The justification for this new policy–whether your street may be next and how the county will select which side.”
  • “The frequency of garbage truck and fire truck problems.”
  • “How this policy comports with policies that encourage fewer driveways and garages and more on-street parking.”
  • “Whether any accommodation will be made for handicapped, elderly, and parents with infants who need close access to cars.”
  • “Whether the ‘problem’ is caused primarily by construction, commuter, and other non-resident vehicles that might be regulated in some other way.”
  • “Possible unintended consequences of any such restrictions, such as making it easier for cars to cut through the neighborhood and travel at higher speeds.”

Representatives from several other civic associations have said they plan to attend the meeting “because they believe their neighborhoods are next,” according to Park.

Among those who will be in attendance is Natalie Roy, president of the Lyon Park Citizens Association.

“The County needs to come up with a more uniform county wide-approach to the parking issue,” Roy told ARLnow.com via email. “As we stated in correspondence to the County Board, there needs to be a fair and equitable approach to the parking issue. The County needs to address issues with all of the streets that do not meet the 2006 width guidelines, not just a select few.”

Roy said that while the neighborhood recognizes the importance of emergency vehicle access, they’re still awaiting for an explanation of why the county is only starting to enforce width guidelines now, half a century after many of the roads in question were first built.

  • John Fontain

    It sounds like Ms. Roy’s position is that if one very small stretch of road in her hood is going to be restricted to one-sided parking, then the county dam well better go out and do an exhaustive project to “catch” every other street in the county with the same issue.

    • Dems for New Leadership

      Make sure Wayne Wentz, the new (not really new) Arlington staffer behind this latest traffic mess, attends the meeting. And make sure Wayne gets to answer your questions. And make sure Wayne actually gives you answers – he likes to dance around questions alot. And when Wayne cites studies, research, and data to support his opinions – make sure you verify his sources. When you’ve finished with Wayne, ask the County Manager and Board members why he is an Arlington employee.

    • Real Lyon Park

      “the neighborhood” is not waiting for any explanation. Only Roy, with her limited bandwidth, is holding her breath for an “explanation”. The road in Lyon Park is dangerous and needs to be addressed. Thank you to the County for addressing the problem.

  • YouSnoozeYouLose

    I applaud Lyon Village for being proactive in trying to involve other neighborhoods, but the fact is that until the guys with the “NoParking” signes come to their street, most people either are not paying attention or can’t believe the County would change their street configuration that has worked for decades. I told a friend that lives on a street in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood on a narrow street with 2 side parking and he simply did not believe it “they can’t do that” he said.

    I hope the county, if they are intent on this policy will send a notice to each and every household on each and every street that is subject to this and let everyone affected weigh in at the same time. They should not implement it piecemeal as they seem to be doing.

    • Sue

      I agree. Most ppl were oblivious to even the zone parking changes until they started getting the volume from the result of nearby streets changing their restrictions. I am going to guess the same will be true for this issue.

      My street is already limited to one-sided parking…but the other side is just the side of somebody’s house so it isn’t an issue since those people park in front of their house. The streets where residents are forced to park across the street in front of neighbor’s houses limiting spaces (and many of these streets still have open hour restrictions so they have a high volume from outside the zone too) will get really ugly.

  • LyonSteve

    Be careful what you wish for…

  • GetReal

    Now this could get interesting….With current Chesapeake Bay regs the answer may not be as simple as adding a driveway and if you currently have a patio you’re likely to be me more restrictive due to the additional impervious surfaces. I wonder if the county will pick up the tab for rain gardens/etc if necessary. Obviously getting cars off the street will ease the burden in LV and for the services but the solution is not as straight forward as adding a driveway when you also need to satisfy Bay regs.

    • cj

      The coverage limits also affect adding driveways, especially on small lots.

  • not a new urbanista

    A big problem is the County’s staff love affair with creating “skinny” streets to increase pedestrian safety and reduce the cost of repaving. Skinny streets will slow traffic, but they also increase pollution because cars are idling to wait for the other car to pass. They also limit visibility. Whatever happen to “stop and look both ways before you cross the street?”

    • LyonSteve

      It’s a big problem for pedestrians , as is obeying the walk/don’t walk sign. Just yesterday as the signed turned from a blinking red hand to stop to a solid red hand and the traffic light turned red, a woman pushing a stroller (presumably with a child inside) started crossing in front of traffic which had just received a green light.

      And in other areas with narrow streets and bulb outs, now that they have such a short distance to travel, pedestrians routinely ignore the walk/don’t walk signals.

      • Bluemontsince1961


      • duh

        A pedestrian with a stroller (and a baby inside) was walking on a “yield” street when she could have used the nearby sidewalk this morning in my neighborhood. How smart was she? Here is a suggestion to County staff: include some info on “how to be a good walker” along with the car-free diet publications the County sends. And, start enforcing speed limits on neighborhood streets.

    • Suburban Not Urban


    • Thes

      You seem to be saying that pedestrians deserve to die if their use of a street would make a car have to go slower. I respectfully disagree with that.

      • duh

        Thes, it’s not very smart to put both your life and an infant at risk when you have a sidewalk and use the street instead. No one should die using the street. Why take the risk with an infant when there is a sidewalk? I understand joggers using the street since some sidewalks are uneven.

        • Thes

          My comment was not in response to the baby-walker example. It was in response to this comment:

          A big problem is the County’s staff love affair with creating “skinny” streets to increase pedestrian safety and reduce the cost of repaving. Skinny streets will slow traffic, but they also increase pollution because cars are idling to wait for the other car to pass. They also limit visibility. Whatever happen to “stop and look both ways before you cross the street?”

          I think that pedestrians’ lives are more important than keeping cars from idling.

          • charlie

            i think it is a bit dramatic and to infer even broadly that the original post was about pedestrians dying and baby killing. I don’t see the connection.

  • CW

    Parking problems in the Park led people to investigate the problems with parking in the Village, because there are similar parking problems to the problems with the parking in the Park. Mr. Park from the Village says that the proposed parking provisions in the Village may parallel the parking procedures in the Park. Parking precedents from the Park may promote procedural provisions in places where potential parking problems may be present.

    Got it?

    • brendan

      slow day?

      • Tabby

        what made you come here today?

        • brendan


    • cj

      But the veterans in the Village will be vigilant about vetting various visitors.

  • charlie

    this is one of the situations where a new (not so new) staff person is making changes to accepted policy.
    We too had a street in our neighborhood deliberately narrowed and everyone was “promised” that it could always have two-sided parking.
    Most of the streets in Lyon Village are already tight (I never understand the claims that people are going 50 miles an hour — you can’t).
    The fact is that removing cars from one side of the street will cause speeds to INCREASE.

    Here is a crazy idea — maybe limit street parking to ONE side on trash day. And while at it, put up STREET CLEANING Signs so people can move their car for that too.

    This new policy conflicts with Ches Bay, lot coverage requirements, pedestrian safety, and neighborhood safety. bad bad county board.

    • DudeWhereIsMyCar

      Good idea (the ‘crazy’ one). It seems like that is how most areas with tight streets handle the allocation of curbspace. My street wasn’t even narrowed but still lost parking on one side after an NC project due to application of this new dictate. And, yes it does increase vehicle speed.

      • R.Griffon

        I think that’s only assuming that it’s the garbage trucks (and/or street cleaning) that’s the problem. I think the much greater concern on the part of the County here is emergency vehicle access. And that’s obviously 24×7.

        • not a new urbanista

          +1 for emergency vehicle access 24/7 on all streets.

        • charlie

          agreed. while 24/7 it might be just 1/365. trash is 52/365. that would address a big chunk of the problem.

          • not a new urbanista

            Wait until the homeowner insurance companies find out emergency vehicles can’t get into the street……

    • Sue

      The ‘one-side’ only certain days of the week, e.g., street cleaning, etc. is how it worked in my NW neighborhood. That is much better idea if it must be done. Otherwise—I say leave it like it’s been for over a quarter of a century. I do agree the speeds will increase dramatically…just look at say Edgewood vs Fillmore…you have to slow at Fillmore btwn Key and Franklin because two cars barely fit.

      • Burger

        Actually, most of the rest of the world functions this way with alternate parking going on usually twice a week for garbage and street cleaning.

        • Sue

          Good. Than those cars that like to come and park directly in the middle of my house (leaving no room in front or behind) would actually have to be moved or get towed. I like the street switching better every minute…

  • DK

    “The frequency of garbage truck and fire truck problems.”
    It only takes one “fire truck” problem to kill someone. then everyone will want to sue Arlington for inadequate fire protection. Like it or not, fire engines and ladder trucks are getting larger and larger to accomodate more equipment and manpower necessary to do the job. So if the county hasn’t enforced the width requirements in the past, it’s only because there wasn’t a need. Now there is.

    • Sue

      Okay..so how does it work in the District with streets as narrow as the ones in LV? They haven’t restricted to one-sided. So many of those streets are even narrower than the ones around here. I am thinking of Georgetown in particular.

      • JB

        And they burn those houses to the ground when there are fires.

        • Sue

          Well…most of the fire hydrants are broken..that is a WHOLE other issue. Like poor Gtwn library.

      • charlie

        while we are a “county” we are very urbanized and need to think that way.

  • Dave

    Over/under at 200 comments on this one?

  • R0bespierre

    I take Danville to get home every day, and since cars park on both sides of the street, it becomes effectively single lane in a lot of spots…and people don’t generally bother to negotiate this well and sometimes seem like they want to play chicken rather than being the one who elects to pull over and wait for the other car to pass.

    There is no reason residents of Clarendon should have to deal with single lane roads if enough of that parking is due to people who don’t even live there. The entire neighborhood should be zoned for residential parking. The neighborhood is not a metro parking lot, nor is it a parking lot for local business. It will only get worse as gas prices go up and fewer people drive in to work, and also as more businesses come to the area…you have to make the distinction between residential and commuter/commercial activity across the board IMO.

    And like people said in the other thread…if you’re too cheap to pay $2 to park in a garage, go home and study for a better job, and skip the Gelato.

    • CW

      I don’t like the single-lane roads either, but I don’t think zoning residents-only would help that too much. In order to get the zoning approved, the street parking has to be at least 75% occupied, and 25% of the spots have to be occupied with non-residents. So even if they kick out those 25%, you’re still looking at 50% of the available curb frontage being occupied. That’s a lot of single lane roads, and a lot of games of chicken still, I’m afraid.

    • DCChughes

      I would love to know where you’re finding $2 parking.

  • Make it no parking on alternate days and put nubs in to stop speeders.

  • Aaron

    And get ACFD to buy more aerial firefighting equipment (helicopters, turboprops, etc.) to fight fires from the sky.

  • charlie

    So how many fires are there a year in single family homes?
    (let us leave out the fire truck responding to heart attacks, I know it is important)…

    • JB

      Fires and emergencies know no time….

  • BobbyLou

    A fire department response to a residential “fire” is quite an event — it seems like the 7th Cavalry is arriving. Multiple vehicles descend on the location, which is not a bad idea given how quickly a wood house can burn up. Thus, unlike the “informed” opinion of some of the what-is-the-problem stick-their-head-in-the-sand reactionaries, it is not just a matter of a single fire truck slowly making its way down the street. Even if a fire department response is not an every day event, it is a very important event whenever the fire department has to respond to a house fire.

    Also, the problem in Lyon Park is mostly self-inflicted with a number of houses having clearly abandoned the driveway for more yard space on a single block of a very narrow street. I don’t like riding my bike down that narrow stretch of street.

  • Carol_R

    I live on N. Danville St. There is no problem with emergency vehicles getting down the road. This street was built in the 1920s and has functioned OK since then. If anything, I blame Arlington County for narrowing our road when it wasn’t necessary. They also made the road worse since it had been crowned so that the water could drain easily into the curb but when they widened it they cut it down so its flat now. And they allowed some trees to be kept that were on public property on the sidewalk letting the sidewalk jut way into the road instead of just cutting down a huge tree that should never have been planted there. They also allowed some homeowners to not have their property cut into so that instead of a straight street you’ve got a staggered street which to me is probably one of the major issues.

    To me it’s just an excuse for them not to plow the road and try to get out of other services. I lived on a similar street for a number of years in College Park, MD and the snow plows there and emergency vehicles never had a problem.

    It does seem like they want to ban cars with some of their policies.

  • Carol_R

    And I’d like to add that an easy solution probably acceptable to the residents on the affected streets would be to just make those roads 1 way and not 2 way roads.

  • 4Arl

    What is the minimum width they claim to need(not what would be nice to have)? How much more width is needed? If it’s not much, it may be possible to restrict parking on one side to cars that aren’t wider than a certain amount.

    • cj

      The policy adopted by county staff in 2008, and recently endorsed by the Board in the Streets part of the Master Transportation Plan, is that residential streets must be at least 28 ft curb to curb in order to have parking on both sides. This was the result of an accord between the former County Manager, whose staff was pushing for narrower streets, and the Fire Chief, who convinced him that emergency vehicles need at least 14 ft. to open their doors etc.

  • roquer

    What the hell, it’ll be like a chinese alley, BUT…..and this is a large BUT…..there will STILL be much traffic going through there!! Even tho this area is maybe the liberal stronghold in Arlington, even THEY can’t stop folks from driving thru here. They couldn’t put up gates that close, bumps haven’t worked, traffic circles aren’t doing it either. The parking is just the next in a long line of aggravations to traffic thru here. How ’bout this Lyon Village, get some RPG’s….that oughta take care of these low-lifes that just want to get from one end of this neighborhood to the other!

  • Kirk

    Why not make the streets one-way?


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