73°Partly Cloudy

Morning Poll: Parked Trucks on the Pike

by ARLnow.com June 22, 2011 at 9:05 am 2,887 84 Comments

Delivery trucks are making a regular habit of blocking one lane of Columbia Pike in front of the new-ish Siena Park apartment building (2301 Columbia Pike).

The design of the building and the surrounding block seems to discourage delivery truck drivers from parking anywhere but right out front. Other than a tiny, often-full set of parking spaces cut into the sidewalk in front of the building, however, the only place for trucks to sit is right smack in the right-hand westbound lane of the Pike.

In big cities like D.C. and New York, commercial vehicles are often allowed to double park in order to make quick deliveries. It would be illegal for the average citizen to do it, but how else are employees of FedEx or UPS expected to do their job?

Should police look the other way on the Pike, as well?

  • Shane

    “Should the police look the other way”?

    That assumes the police are looking. See BB&T, BB&T, Wachovia…

    Just sayin’.

    • R.Griffon

      So are you suggesting that police should be stationed fulltime at each and every bank in Arlington? Because that’s the only way to prevent such robberies.

      If not then I’d love to hear your solution.

  • ——–1———-

    The lazy ass cops are too busy handing out tickets on the ramps on 66 to actually do real police work.

    • brian

      and yet people complain when they aren’t handing out tickets to hov violators and people who don’t pay taxes.
      get a grip please

    • Hope

      Seriously? They are just like every other worker in America. We are where our bosses tell us to me. That doesn’t make them lazy, just annoying.

    • YoBimbo

      Exactly, Hope. A great example of blaming the employee for the management’s flaws.

  • 1234

    Luckily, the Magical Zimmerman Trolley will be able to levitate above these double-parked vehicles!

    • Right, it’s worth mentioning that eventually this won’t be an option for drivers; once the proposed streetcar system is built, parking on either side of the street — where the tracks will likely be located — will be a big no-no.

      • CW

        ARLnow, can you pre-emptively promise to provide pictures (wow, that was good unintentional alliteration) of the first delivery truck that gets OWNED by a trolley?

      • Josh S

        Well, no. The tracks won’t be in the parking lane, now will they? And for large stretches of the Pike, there is no street parking now. These cut outs in front of the Sienna and Penrose Square seem narrower than your average parking lane and obviously trucks as big as that Budget truck there are already sticking out into the traffic. So a trolley may or may not be able to get by. But the regular cars are well out of the travel lane and so a trolley would easily be able to continue right on through.
        But yes, would a trolley exist in the right lane, then double parking would have to become completely illegal.
        It seems to me that having the trolley in the right lane is a major puzzlement, but it does avoid the need to construct boarding platforms in the middle of the street, which would probably mean narrowing the sidewalks in those locations.
        So there are pros and cons no matter how you set it up.

        • NPGMBR

          +1

        • Arl

          Why bother building it then?

        • Moody

          Maybe the CoBd can require deliveries on Col Pike to be made via trolley.

        • Arl bug

          No real pros for those in the neighborhood who DO NOT want the ridiculous, wasteful trolley. Maybe Lee Highway residents might be interested.

  • CrystalMikey

    I voted that the Pike is a busy road…but at the same time, when driving that section it’s all about getting around the Metro buses in the right lane, and the people turning left.

    • BoredHouseWife

      word!

  • charlie

    for a recently approved project under the brilliant Form Based Code, you would think that the plans would have made room for delivery trucks.
    me, I”M SICK AND TIRED of trucks blocking the bike lane and the right travel lane. IT MUST BE STOPPED.
    THink of the children for goodness sake.

    • R.Griffon

      This point is really not to be missed. Why on earth doesn’t each and every modern building have a loading dock or at the very least dedicated parking space for loading somewhere on the building, hopefully away from the main street? The mind boggles.

      • AVer

        I thought Siena has a loading dock area in the back?? They could also park on Adams. UPS also parks in the right lane of the pike at the Giant pharmacy across the street, which actually has a parking lot. It is just laziness/convenience.

        • John Snyder

          Yes, Siena has a loading dock in the back and a nice wide alley to get to it. Penrose Square has a loading dock on Adams Street.

    • Val

      WORD. This happens all along Clarendon Blvd, especially at the courthouse complex–where you’d think parking violations could be easily policed. Yet nearly every day the bike lane is blocked repeatedly at this dangerous block. I happen to know for a fact that there is a designated unloading area, but the delivery trucks can’t be inconvenienced and so block the bike lane instead.

  • Not4Me

    Add Washington Blvd in Clarendon to the list. Every morning during rush hour, there is a large delivery truck in front of the Giant completely blocking the right lane, forcing heavy traffic, metro and ART buses to change lanes. All this despite a large delivery dock in the rear of the store.

    • othersideoftheriver

      Add Clarendon Blvd eastbound in the morning — anywhere between Highland and the Cheesecake Factory.

    • charlie

      Add Washington Blvd at North 4th Street at the 7-11
      all the delivery trucks and customers in trucks are now forced to park and block Washington Blvd. Why?
      The County Board political patronage to one single neighbor who recently (at the time) bought a house on 4th street and complained, so no trucks are allowed there on 4th street, thus forcing them onto Washington Blvd., thus being a problem for thousands of daily commuters.

      • doodly

        Great, annother unsubstantiated rumor of a political conspiracy.

        • charlie

          um, actually it was a County Board hearing to approve NO TRUCK PARKING on 4th Street. I honestly don’ t have time to find it, but go look for it. it happened.

  • CW

    Where is the option for “This shouldn’t be allowed on Columbia Pike…and shouldn’t be allowed on Clarendon Boulevard or K Street either?”

  • Arl

    What will happen if the trolley comes and hogs a lane on both sides of the Pike? What happens when if they put a raised median through the middle of Columbia Pike?
    CPIT/design/charette folks pay attention! Delivery trucks/metro and school busses/garbage trucks also need more space in the lanes.

    • NPGMBR

      The trolley, like other motorized vehicles is not stationary thus it won’t impede your forward momentum for very long. I’m not sure I understand how getting around a bus or trolley will keep you from speeding to your destination any faster than any other obstruction such as traffic signals, pedestrians or other turning or slower vehicles.

  • esmith69

    This particular building has plenty of space behind the building to park temporarily. If it’s a resident moving in, that moving truck should not be parked there.

    I believe that particular truck though is one that the constructions crews for XSport fitness are using. They have some compressors and generators inside the back and use it throughout the day.

    • Chris Slatt

      The Budget truck is in a parking space; I believe as readers we’re supposed to ignore the huge truck taking up 75% of the photo and notice the tiny Fedex truck blocking the travel lane in the back of the photo. Not gonna win any photojournalism awards with this one.

      • charlie

        if we can’t see this fedex truck while sitting on our fat butts at the computer monitor, how am i supposed to see it while driving 45 mph down columbia pike? or 25, if that is the actual posted speed limit.

    • CrystalMikey

      I think the FedEx van is the actual subject of this photo.

      • esmith69

        Hahaha, good call. Missed that Fedex truck in the background.

  • BerryBerryCold

    Well considering that Arlington Parking enforcement under the supervision of the Police Department (according to a ticket writer in Lyon Village last night, who was parked right in the middle of a narrow street), it’s A-OK for them. And she also told me to mind my own business — which it is, since I am a taxpaying county resident.

    Oh, and by the way “they love us around here,” says the ticket writer.

    • CW

      If you live in Lyon Village, shouldn’t you be happy to see those ticket writers out enforcing your special rules against those nasty proletarian outsiders who come and park on your golden streets?

      Being sarcastic, but only sort of.

    • doodly

      Enforcing the law sucks, huh BBC?

      • BerryBerryCold

        While breaking the law? There were numerous curb spots available, but the ticket writer parked her truck right in the middle of the road.

        • doodly

          If that’s the only part you were complaining about, yeah, I agree with you.

          • BerryBerryCold

            It is.

        • Tabby

          Go car free, Arlington County!

  • Chris Slatt

    Ticket them. Repeatedly. Until the cost of blocking the travel lanes exceeds the cost of the time spent parking somewhere else, they’ll continue to block the travel lanes. Siena Park has two conveniently located side streets AND a rear alley, there is no need to block the Pike.

    • Better yet, tow them. If it were a car, you’d have to pony up the money and time to go get it.

    • John Snyder

      I suggest setting the predatory tow trucks on to them. Everyone on the Pike knows how quickly they tow cars out of the Westmont shopping center. They would pay off the investment in bigger trucks in no time.

  • YoBimbo

    “Think of the children” always makes me laugh because I think of Edna Pontellier in Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening” who, after being told to “think of the children,” walked into the sea and drowned herself.

    But that’s not the point. I’ve often shook my fist at delivery trucks in DC that block lanes DURING RUSH HOUR. I realize these folks have a job to do, but I think some restrictions on when they can do it would be helpful.

    Also, why DON’T they have a designated area to pull up around back to make their deliveries? Maybe that’s something to be addressed as well.

    • Tabby

      Oh wow, that took me back to 11th grade required summer reading.

      • YoBimbo

        Some things stick with you, whether you like it or not. LOL

  • 1234

    I’ll tell you that police enforcement (not parking enforcement) of double parkers has cut down on Lost Dog’s delivery trucks parking on the Pike during rush hour. Granted, they now block the alley servicing the parking for the dry cleaners and barber next door, but at least they’re not blocking the Pike.

    • SaveDaveMcKenna

      They should turn the right/south lane of the Pike on that stretch into parking so I can hop and in get my carryout from LDC.

  • soarlslacker

    Another place where delivery trucks, airport cabs/town cars, and lazy drivers appear to own the road is the the 2400 block of South Eads St. (a block from Jeff Davis Hwy) in the Crystal city area. Often both travel lanes are blocked by these vehicles.

  • esmith69

    Addressing the main point of the post…I am guessing that most delivery drivers are used to the chaos in DC, where there may not be anywhere else for them to park temporarily (and thus they never get ticketed there). So even when they get to a building that has room for them to park out of the street, they don’t even think to do that. I’m sure they are, like the rest of us, just creatures of habit.

    Not sure how you’d end up really having an efficient/effective way to ticket these offenses, since they usually come and go within just a couple of minutes.

    • Lou

      Photo enforcement with license plate readers.

  • doodly

    How does the USPS manage to delivery to every single address, including packages, without blocking traffic?

    • CW

      skillz

    • BerryBerryCold

      Illegal parking.

    • Arlwhenever

      The Postal Service blocks traffic just like everyone else in this area when its carriers are delivering packages (as opposed to letter/flats), but unlike its competitors the Postal Service’s consitutional status protects if from local enforcement actions (municipalities cannot fine the Federal Government).

      • doodly

        Does it though? I’m just saying I don’t see many USPS trucks blocking traffic to deliver packages on busy roads like the Pike.

        • Arlwhenever

          It’s market share — UPS and FedEx have 90 plus percent of the package market.

      • doodly

        Not sure if it’s true that USPS trucks can’t be ticketed:

        “Sec. 102-34.235 Am I bound by State and local traffic laws?

        Yes. You must obey all motor vehicle traffic laws of the State and local jurisdiction, except when the duties of your position require otherwise. You are personally responsible if you violate State or local traffic laws. If you are fined or otherwise penalized for an offense you commit while performing your official duties, but which was not required as part of your official duties, payment is your personal responsibility.”

        http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/E9-6152.htm

        But “duties of your position” might be the exemption.

        • Arlwhenever

          Except when your duties require otherwise, and it is traffic laws, not parking.

          • PhilL

            That’s what I was going to say. Moving violation /= parking infraction.

          • Not4Me

            Impeding the Flow of Traffic is a moving violation not a parking infraction.

          • Josh S

            Not trying to be nasty, but you can use . Means the same thing and doesn’t look like a blown up emoticon.

          • Josh S

            That’s weird.
            “”
            disappeared. I guess that’s why you used /=
            Is “” some kind of HTML code?

    • charlie

      bribes.
      plus they are only their for a few seconds.

  • Thes

    I believe in DC the larger delivery companies like FedEx have accounts with the municipality to pay their parking tickets, which can add up to thousands in a day. It’s not legal for them to double-park, they just see the tickets as a cost of doing business.

    • Thes

      Here is a story about this practice.

  • FedUp

    In general, the county doesn’t pay much attention to Columbia Pike.

  • 4Arl

    People could ask the businesses to plan for their deliveries without blocking traffic and tell them you won’t shop there if they don’t fix the problem. May not work for the big package companies though they might make a little effort to park if the business owner asks.

    • samsonite

      Nah, just whine and complain about it–until it’s your package.

  • Westover

    Delivery trucks can’t double park legally in DC to make deliveries, pretty sure NYC does not allow it either. Companies just see the tickets as a cost of doing business.

  • NoVapologist

    I can’t speak to “The Pike”, but the ticket writers in Rosslyn zealously issue tickets to delivery and service vehicles that are double parked or parked in No Parking zones.

  • Roquer

    The law says trucks, loading and unloading, can park blocking the street for just that reason. However, I see the Arl,now comment about after Zimmerman’s streetcars, as being more alarming.No vehicles will be able to park after the street car because only one lane EB & one lane WB will be there. So, I give up, where will the rush hour traffic go? To the residential zones? Not a good sign….

    • John Snyder

      Wrong. There will not be one lane in each direction. There will be two lanes in each direction, just like now, except one lane will have a streetcar moving through every six minutes or so, and cars and trucks and busses, just like now. When the streetcar is at a stop, you can go around it, just like you do with busses now. When it is moving, you can move along side it, or behind it or in front of it, just like any other vehicle. It will not take away a lane.

    • South Arlington

      The streetcar is in a shared travel lane, so there would still be two EB and two WB lanes.

      • Arl

        So what happens if a delivery truck is parked in the trolley lane? Does the trolley just sit and wait for the truck driver to return? Are any car drivers going to want to drive behind a trolley going 12 mph and stopping every 2 blocks?

        • Thes

          How do the many cities worldwide with successful trolleys address this issue?

          • Lou

            Trick question.

        • John Snyder

          If a truck is parked it will either move or get towed. Or more likely, have the sense not to park there, so they don’t pay the fine. The streetcars move at the same speed as traffic, and actually accelerate faster than buses. The 12mph myth counts the time they are stopped at lights and to load/unload passengers. Because they load faster, the streetcars will move faster than buses. At rush hour, a car does about 15 or 16 mph, counting time stopped at lights. If you count the time they are parked over night, the streetcars’ average speed is much lower than the 12mph myth, and the intellectual dishonesty of the mythmakers is about the same.

  • Ben

    It’s actually illegal for delivery trucks to double park in New York – they get tickets daily. They just write it off as a cost of doing business.

    UPS apparently paid 18 million in parking violations in 2008….

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14602712/ns/business-us_business/t/delivery-firms-big-ticket-item-parking-fines/

  • vajam2500

    If the police should hassle anyone about the truck parking under the circumstances you described it should be the County planners and zoning folks. Trucks always, always get a bad wrap, but trying eating or dressing without them for a week or two. Without Trucks, America Stops.

  • vajam2500

    Okay, rap, NOT wrap before any of you editors jump in!!

  • Captain Obvious

    There are plenty of empty spaces right around the corner from the front of the building as well as an easily accessible loading dock. No excuse for this.

  • John Andre

    One further Pike report: What’s with the closed sidewalk on the bridge at Four Mile Run??? I thought that construction on the bridge had been completed some years ago!!!

×

Subscribe to our mailing list