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Manassas Journal Messenger
Virginia Railway Express riders who
have been braving the overcrowded parking lot at the Manassas
Park VRE station will have some relief within two weeks and
increased enforcement of parking rules in November.
Mayor Bill Treuting said construction
of a 58-space temporary gravel lot begins Wednesday and should
be ready by next Friday, adding to the existing 300 spaces
at the station and 80 spaces along the access road.
The city has been struggling to meet
the increasing parking demands at the VRE station, as the
train system’s popularity has soared.
Last Tuesday VRE set a record of
10,000 daily passengers, and commuters using the Manassas
Park station have been parking on the access road and on Manassas
Drive, which officials said is unsafe.
To alleviate the problem in the short
term, the state awarded the city a grant last summer to build
the temporary lot.
In the long term, a $2.4 million,
300-space extension of the current lot will be completed in
June, with 100 temporary unpaved spaces to be ready in February
2001, Treuting said.
The city has also looked beyond parking
to solve the overcrowding problem. Working with the Potomac
and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, the city has looked
at options such as promoting car-pooling and starting a shuttle-bus
service from Signal Hill Park.
Unfortunately, there are no buses available for a dedicated
shuttle service, said council member Bill Wren.
Another problem has been non-city
residents parking in the 100 spaces reserved to Manassas Park
The city had fined violators $20,
council member Vonna Privett said, but that enforcement was
put on hold because of the dearth of spaces and an initial
bad reaction by those ticketed.
Warnings continue to be handed out,
but Privett said fines will return in November after the temporary
lot is built.
“You have to provide a service to
the folks who are paying for it,” Privett said. “We have to
be cautious and safe to everyone parking there, and having
them park on Manassas Drive is not a solution either.”
Privett, who is chair of the city’s
code committee, said the committee made a recommendation Monday
to increase the fine for handicapped space violators from
$50 to $100, matching other jurisdictions’ fines.
A public hearing on the increase
will be held in November.
“Our residents are the ones who are
most concerned because their reserved spaces are filled up
for the later trains,” Wren said last week. “Their concerns
are their wives who have to go out in the dark after those
later [returning] trains.”
Contact Chris Newman at [email protected].