With gasoline prices higher than ever commuters are not turning to alternative fuel. They're turning to alternative means of transportation. At the top of that list is Metro, primarily Metrorail.
But, there's two hitches -- getting to the station and then finding a place to park at the station. For those using the Yellow Line, which starts and ends at Huntington Station and serves many commuters from Lee and Mount Vernon districts in southeastern Fairfax County, the cavalry has arrived to save the day.
On Thursday, Aug. 14, a new $31.1 million, six-level parking facility for 1,424 vehicles was officially opened. It has 500 more spaces than the 924 space surface lot it replaces. Huntington Station now provides parking for 3,558 vehicles in three garages and two Kiss & Ride lots.
"It's a great day to celebrate the opening of this new garage," said Lee District Supervisor Jeffrey McKay during the ribbon cutting ceremony.
"This new parking garage at Huntington will provide significant benefits to our customers who use this station every day, and it will help alleviate traffic congestion in the Huntington area," said McKay, a Metro Board member.
"We are seeing record numbers of riders in the system. This garage has been long sought-after by commuters. And, it also aides in our revitalization of the Route 1 corridor," he said.
"This project will create a real quality mixed-use center that epitomizes the type of smart growth that we need all around our transit stations," McKay said.
Metro signed a joint agreement with Stout & Teague and Clark Realty Capital in November 2002 to develop a 60-acre parcel of land adjacent to the Huntington Station on Huntington Avenue. It calls for the development of 55 town houses, 420 low-rise multi-family units, 175 high-rise condominiums, 250,000 square feet of office space and 30,000 square feet of street level retail. It also provides for 12 acres to be set aside for the Fairfax County Park authority.
Part of that agreement called for the construction of the new garage on the east side of the Metro Rail station. The construction began in October 2006.
Funding for the new parking facility comes from a mixture of Fairfax County Transportation Infrastructure Investment Funds, Fairfax County surcharge funds and County capital funds. "We would like to have seen it completed sooner but we're very happy it is open," McKay said.
Parking at Metro-operated parking facilities is free on weekends and holidays. The weekday rate at Huntington Station is $4.50 if the vehicle owner takes a Metrorail trip using the same SmarTrip card to pay for the rail trip and parking. Riders can also take Metro and Fairfax County Connector buses to and from the station.