City Council members in Falls Church and Alexandria have taken the first step to ban commuter parking around Metro stations - although the subway lines are one to three years from completion in their communities - by allowing residents to seek restrictions on nonresident parking in their neighborhoods.
"We wanted to prevent a glut of commuter parking," said Carol DeLong, Vice Mayor of Falls Church.
When considering whether to allow residential parking bans, the Falls Church Council had no specific neighborhoods in mind, she said. Rather, it was keeping in mind parking problems already experienced by the District and neighboring Arlington County, where some residential parking bans already are in effect. Montgomery County also permits commuter parking bans.
The Metropolitan Washington Area Transit Authority has been trying, with little success, to find space for offstreet parking around Metro stops. Thus far, Metro has plans for about 30,000 commuter parking spaces in the metropolitan area but estimates the demand will exceed 100,000.
"No one wants a large parking lot in their neighborhood with the accompanying increase in auto traffic, congestion, safety problems and the various pollutants such as noise and dirt," said Albert J. Roohr, senior urban planner for the transit authority. "Therefore, everyone gives us a hard time at public hearings. You don't know what we're going through."
Metro is scheduled to open a line connecting Rosslyn with Balston near Glebe Road in January 1980, according to David Erion, director of technical services for the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission.
Between Rosslyn and Balston, there will be three stations: Courthouse, Clarendon and Virginia Square. The Courthouse station will most likely affect the neighborhoods near Courthouse Road and Fairfax Drive while the Clarendon station will have the greatest impact near the corner of Fairfax and Garfield, Erion said. However, Metro has no plans for offstreet parking at any of the stations, Roohr said.
After those stations open, Metro plans to complete work on the Huntington route, which now ends at National Airport. From National, the line is expected to extend to Huntington just south of the Capital Beltway in Fairfax County by late 1981, Erion said.
Alexandria neighborhoods most affected by the route extension will be Del Ray and Rosemont, which surround the Braddock Road and King Street stations. There will be a third station at Eisenhower Avenue but it is in an industrial and office area and has little residential development.No Metro parking is planned at the three Alexandria stations.
Metro has plans for about 2,500 offstreet parking spaces at the Huntington station.
When the Huntington route is completed, Metro next will concentrate on the Vienna route west of Balston. Metro is developing final plans for that route and its parking, Roohr said. Current plans call for some Metro-provided offstreet parking at all four stations: beyond Balston 300 spaces at East Falls Church, which is in Arlington County; 1,000 each at West Falls Church and Dunn Loring, and 2,000 at Vienna, all in Fairfax County.
City officials said that neither Falls Church nor Alexandria had yet worked out the details of the commuter parking ban, but the regulations for both cities will most likely resemble those in Arlington County, which last year won Supreme Court approval of the county's parking permit system.
Arlington currently bans nonresident parking on neighborhood streets for longer than two hours. Residents are required to display a parking permit on their cars.
Parking permits in Alexandria and Falls Church will be issued following a petition by neighborhood residents to the city council and a public hearing, according to city officials.
Fairfax County is now studying whether it may ban nonresidents from parking on streets that run through its borders, said Shiva Pant, county transportation director. All roads in the county are owned by the state, he said. Legally, the state may have to decide whether one county can ban residents of other counties from parking on streets that are paid for by state taxpayers, Pant said. Arlington, Alexandria and Falls Church own and maintain most of their neighborhood streets.
There is one other Metro route on the drawing board. It would branch off the Huntington line near the King Street station and extend west and south to Franconia near Springfield Mall in Fairfax County.
Plans call for a station at Van Dorn Street, which is on the border of Alexandria and Fairfax County, and in Franconia behind the shopping mall. Both would have offstreet parking provided by Metro: about 500 at Van Dorn and 1500 at Franconia, Roohr said.
In Montgomery County, the Silver Spring line is scheduled to be extended to Glenmont by about 1984, according to Donald K. O'Hearn, director of program control at Metro. Its final design has not been determined, but present plans call for 500 offstreet parking spaces at Wheaton and Forest Glen, and a 2,000-space garage at the end of the route in Glenment.
Greater numbers of spaces are provided at the end of the line because Metro would like to encourage commuters to park as far away from the District as possible, O'Hearn said.
"The end-of-the-line stations are the ones where we want to intercept traffic," he said.
The other line serving Montgomery County will extend from Dupont Circle to Shady Grove. Referred to as the Shady Grove line, it will have at least 3,000 parking spaces at Shady Grove Road.
There will also be about 1,500 parking spaces at the Nicholson Lane station and about 500 spaces each at Twinbrook and Grosvenor stations, according to Richard J. Lynch, director of transportation for Montgomery County.
As in Arlington County, Montgomery County already has a parking permit system.