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Letter: More Parking Needed

— I would like to address the fact that the city is taking away so much on-street parking. Its bad enough they have decided to put bike lanes on the short stretch of King Street to Janney's Lane and eliminate parking for the homeowners along that stretch.

With the new Jefferson Houston School project, we have not been able to use the parking lot by the pool in almost a year. The lot had been open to the public after school hours for many, many years. Last spring before the project hit our end of the block, Parks and Rec decided to block the parking lot from the public altogether. I argued that with City Council and the signs came down, then within another month the parking lot was closed altogether for construction. As they blocked the parking lot, they also put up signs taking away five parking spaces from the residents along the driveway to the parking lot. We may only be 14 homes along the stretch from the parking lot to the corner of Buchanan Street, but we all have cars, we all pay property taxes on our homes and our vehicles. We also get stuck with paying a parking fee to the city.

Cameron Street and Buchanan Street have become very overloaded with vehicles coming from other parts of the city and from other areas such as Maryland. Buchanan Street is so crowded that people are now parking on both sides of the street which was not allowed for a very long time. Cameron Street has residential parking on one side and metered parking on the other. No matter what time of day people come down Cameron Street they always aim for the parking on the residential side of the street so they don't have to pay the meters. Even the Mayor does this, even when there are meters open.

It does not really concern me so much that Parking Enforcement is not continuously circling the block, what bothers me is that we have to pay to park and all those others do not.

The parking lot by the pool, the Durant Center, and behind the school had a capacity of 126 parking spaces. I have not done a current count as they took away the basketball court to make room for the teachers to park during construction. Once the parking lot re-opens these spaces should be available to the public after school hours.

The city needs more parking, not taking away parking. We, the residents of Buchanan Street and this end of Cameron, need the parking lot available after school hours. We need to be able to come home and park close to our homes. We pay for this, we should not have to park a block or more away when we have small children, or groceries, or anything else that needs to be taken to our homes.

In speaking with the Parks and Rec Rep at a school meeting the other day, he stated that the SUP is written for the lot to be strictly for the school, the Durant Center, and the pool. When they closed the lot to the public last spring, the signs read "By Permit Only" towing enforced between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. This does not help us. The signs did not even state what permit or where to obtain a permit. The lot needs to be available to the public. These restrictions need to be removed. If the city will not re-open the lot to the public then they need to stop charging the residents for parking, especially when if we can't park on the residential side of the street and we park at a meter, even with a parking sticker on our cars we get ticketed if we do not pay the meter. How can this be fair to our residents? How can "No Parking" be friendly to our visitors? You want revenue? Give us parking. People come and park at this end of the block so they can take the metro or the trolley. They are not looking for parking garages, they are looking for open parking spaces. The pool will open in a few weeks; we were overloaded last year with the Chinquapin Pool closed. Stop this now. Open the parking lot!

Bea Porter, Alexandria