The elimination of small business parking requirements and the creation of shared-use parking lots could be in the future for Del Ray.
City officials discussed these possibilities while presenting the draft Del Ray Parking Study to the Del Ray Business Association Monday afternoon. Barbara Ross, deputy director of the city’s Planning and Zoning Department, said the study consultant recommended removing Del Ray's parking requirements, as has been done in Old Town. City representatives met with the Del Ray Citizens Association's Land Use Committeee last week and received feedback on that possibility.
“We didn’t hear, ‘The sky is falling,’ ” Ross said. “We didn’t hear, ‘This is the end of the world – we can’t live without the parking requirement.’ We did hear a lot of concern, and a couple people told me specifically, ‘We would only go along with that if.’ I see that as a good thing.”
The city also plans to explore shared parking lot options for the Sun Trust Bank lot, the AGA lot, a private gated lot on Howell Avenue, the U.S. Post Office lot and the Salvation Army lot.
Faye Dastgheib, the city’s principal parking planner, said the city has conducted preliminary research on the shared parking lot possibility. “Although the idea of shared parking is an excellent idea, and it would be great if we could have two or three shared parking lots in this neighborhood, there are some issues,” she said.
Those include determining liability, deciding on the best use for shared lots, getting all property owners to agree on use and making zoning ordinance changes, Dastgheib said.
Sandra Marks, division chief for transportation planning with the city’s Transportation and Environmental Services Department, said the city would seek community feedback on the shared parking option. “The shared-use program would really require some additional work and additional research, as well as input from the community, and there are legal issues and other things that need to be worked through,” she said.
The parking study also recommends the implementation of paid meters for the Mount Vernon Avenue corridor once parking utilization in the area is in excess of 85 percent. However, current on-street parking density in the area is lower, ranging on average between 53 percent and 64 percent, meaning paid meters won’t be installed yet.
The report recommends additional monitoring to identify when the system approaches the 85 percent threshold. Immediate recommendations of the parking study include:
- Adding parking (with the existing two-hour time limits) along the northwest corner of Mount Vernon and Windsor avenues;
- Implementing additional loading zones to support local business at various locations along Mount Vernon Avenue;
- Creating Customer Convenience Zones, which are short-term, high-turnover spaces to serve businesses with quick turnaround transactions;
- Exploring the addition of residential permit zones;
- And removing some taxi stands to add general parking.
Also on Monday, Dastgheib said the study consultant completed a parking turnover study in selected blocks and found that the average car stays parked for less than two hours in the time-limited zones.
“I’m not saying that there weren’t people who stayed longer, but the results showed that only a few people stayed more than two hours,” she said.
Also, one loading zone is already in place at the intersection of Del Ray and Oxford avenues.
Business association members mentioned that parking that backs up to intersections is creating a safety hazard by obscuring oncoming traffic. Ross said the issue would be addressed.
The next steps in the parking study process include holding a community meeting to solicit public input, finalizing the report and presenting the findings to City Council, implementing selected strategies and creating a city manager-appointed stakeholder work group to implement recommendations.
Read more about the study .