Some experimental parking changes throughout the Four Mile Run valley are going into effect over the next few weeks, as county officials weigh the best strategies for improving conditions in the area for pedestrians and drivers alike.
The county started rolling out the changes Saturday (Feb. 23) and plans to have all of them in place by the second week of March. Officials previously held meetings about the contemplated changes in Nauck this fall, and the County Board approved the general approach toward parking in the area as part of the Four Mile Run Valley Area Plan it passed in November.
The following roads are set to see parking changes over the next few weeks:
- S. Four Mile Run Drive between Walter Reed Drive and Shirlington Road
- S. Four Mile Run Drive (service road) west of Shirlington Road
- S. Oxford Street south of S. Four Mile Run Drive
- S. Oakland Street south of S. Four Mile Run Drive
- S. Nelson Street south of S. Four Mile Run Drive
- 27th Street S. between Shirlington Road to S. Nelson Street
Parking has been contested along parts of S. Four Mile Run Drive in particular, with neighbors frequently complaining about the bevy of commercial vehicles along the stretch of road. The debate over parking in the area was a particular flashpoint during the deliberations over the area plan, with some Nauck leaders arguing that their concerns went ignored by county officials.
Notably, the county will ban commercial vehicles from parking on either side of the “minor” service road section of S. Four Mile Run Drive, the section of the road that intersects with S. Oxford Street and is home to a variety of cul-de-sacs lined with duplexes and other small homes. Parking there will otherwise be unrestricted or available for up to 24 hours.
Along the main, “major” stretch of S. Four Mile Run Drive, the northern side of the road will be off-limits for overnight parking, from 1o p.m. to 7 a.m., between the road’s intersection with Shirlington Road and S. Oakland Street. Currently, parking is restricted there only between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on weekdays.
On the rest of the northern side of Four Mile Run Drive through the road’s intersection with S. Walter Reed Drive, parking will be available around the clock. It’s also currently restricted from 7-9 p.m. currently.
On the southern side of Four Mile Run Drive, people will be allowed to park for up to 10 hours at a time, outside of the block between S. Nelson and S. Oakland streets, which will be two-hour parking. Much of that side of the road is currently unrestricted or limited to two hours of parking.
The county is also changing up the rules on the south side of 27th Street S., which will now have a 10-hour limit. Much of the curb space in front of the area’s WETA facility is currently unrestricted.
Other changes will also impact some of the side streets running off Four Mile Run, where new two-hour parking limits are planned.
County police say they plan to strictly enforce these new restrictions to improve conditions in the neighborhood, though some residents are skeptical that the department’s staffing challenges will allow officers to make much of an impact in policing the area’s parking.
County officials also expect to eventually add new sections of sidewalk and a new pedestrian crossing island and curb extensions along S. Four Mile Run Drive. They could even move ahead with more dramatic changes going forward, like the addition of more angled spaces leading up to Jennie Dean Park or the conversion of S. Four Mile Run Drive into a two-lane road with a dedicated middle turning lane.
But first, the county plans to spend the next year or studying the impact of these new parking changes. The evaluation of that work will move in tandem with the planned changes at Jennie Dean Park, approved as part of the Board’s planning work for the area last spring.