Church Street Parking Debated by Town

Church Street Parking Debated by Town

The Council heard comments from residents and business owners on Church Street parking restrictions as well as on Vienna’s Public Works Department

Concerns about parking on Church Street dominated Vienna Town Council’s meeting Monday, as the Council was considering a request for two-hour restricted parking on the south side of the 100 block of Church Street Northwest. While placing signs on the street’s south side would help patrons shopping along the street, the parking restrictions would also impact office employees whose offices are located on Church Street.

Currently, the north side of the 100 block has one parking sign designating two-hour parking, while the south side has no such sign.

If the restricted parking isn’t enforced along the whole street, the cars that would park on the 100 block would just move down to the street, said Barbara Werner, owner of Black Eyed Susan, 132 Church St. N.W.

The owner of the Great Harvest Bread Co., also at 132 Church St., told the Council that he echoed Werner’s concerns.

However, one problem with enforcing such a restriction along the whole street would be with groups who already have a parking agreement prearranged with the town. One such group is a condominium complex on Church that has an agreement to allow its residents to park along the street, Vienna mayor Jane Seeman said.

As the Council discussed the agenda item, Vienna Planning and Zoning director Gregory Hembree said that the offices located on Church Street are in full compliance with the town law, as the law makes no distinction on parking restrictions between offices and retail.

Seeman asked Hembree as a representative of the town’s Planning and Zoning department to examine the compliance rule further, to see if the department can make different parking restrictions for offices and retail. George Creed, a Vienna resident who attended the Council meeting, told the Council that he would make a suggestion to the Maple Avenue Vision Commission to consider short-term parking arrangements for both Maple Avenue and Church Street at the Commission’s next meeting.

"While this may be a step … we’ve got to look toward the bigger picture," said Vienna Council member Laurie Cole on solving the parking situation on Church Street as a whole.

The Council then approved 5-0 the request for two-hour parking on the south side of the 100 block of Church Street.

Besides parking on Church Street, the Council also heard comments from Vienna residents on the Public Works Department. One resident commented that snow removal seemed uneven this year. Public Works director Dennis King replied that snow removal can’t begin until there’s enough accumulation. Once there’s enough, plows target primary roads followed by secondary roads.

"We won’t start plowing snow until we hit about three inches," King said.

Another resident, George Creed, had concerns about leaf pickup. He suggested that signs be put up in neighborhoods to notify residents when the pickups would take place. He added that he saw such signs as he traveled in Falls Church and throughout the county.

"Just some thought for the future," Creed said.

Mayor Seeman replied that the leaf pickup schedule has been posted on the Web site and that leaf pickup has been unusual this year because of recent snowfalls.

The Council also voted without objection on the following items. Council members Al Boudreau and Vince Olsen were not present at the meeting and consequently did not vote:

* The Council approved the writing of the Council of Governments’ extended contract with Montgomery County, Md., as the lead jurisdiction for cooperative purchase of road/de-icing salt. The vote was 5-0.

* The Council set Feb. 3, 2003, as the date to hear public comments on a proposed ordinance to amend the town code pertaining to Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas and to amendments necessary to comply with adopted changes to the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Designation and Management Regulations.

* The Council approved an ordinance to allow Vienna residents one long-term visitor parking permit per household. The permit, available through the Vienna Police Department, would be issued for three months at a time. This permit is in addition to a short-term visitor parking permit that residents can already request through the Police Department.

* The Council accepted the letter of resignation received from Mary Ellen Larkins of the Transportation Safety Commission and authorized the issuance of a Certificate of Service.

* The Council approved a proposal by WESCORP to install an underground fiber optic line for the photo red light system on Maple Avenue from Park Street to East Street in the amount of $14,050. Council member Edythe Kelleher initially raised concerns about the proposal, arguing that the Virginia General Assembly could discontinue the photo red light system in 2005. However, she subsequently supported the measure after hearing Vienna capital projects engineer Glen Bates explain that the town could still use the fiber optic line for other purposes, should the photo red light system be discontinued.