Manassas Journal Messenger | Demolition clears way for parking

A small crowd of onlookers clapped and cheered whenever the big yellow backhoe knocked over a good-sized piece of the old barn on Piper Lane.

The barn had to come down to make room for extra parking at the Virginia Railway Express Bull Run station.

The Bull Run station is one of the most heavily used and parking is insufficient, said VRE spokesman Mark Roeber.

About 33 percent of VRE riders come from Prince William County, VRE chief executive officer Dale Zehner said Wednesday at a barn demolition press conference.

“That is by far the largest proportional ridership of any jurisdiction, and representative of why we must keep finding ways to expand our facilities and meet that demand,” Zehner said.

Virginia Railway Express trains carry about 16,000 riders a day — about 3½ million VRE trips annually, said John Jenkins, D-Neabsco.

“Every time you see that train running down the track, you can be assured it’s taking one full lane of traffic off of I-66 and 95,” Jenkins said.

The $450,000 expansion, scheduled to be completed by August, will add an additional 200 spaces at the Bull Run Station.

Money for the project, a collaboration between Prince William County and VRE, will come from Gov. Mark R. Warner’s Congestion Relief Fund.

Virginia Railway Express architects designed the new parking lot, which the Prince William Department of Public Works will build, Zehner said.

In 2001, VRE expanded the parking lot from 300 spaces to 696 spaces, Roeber said.

At the time the rail company thought the improvements would be sufficient until 2010, but the parking lot was ‘”well over capacity” by 2004 Roeber said.

Staff writer Keith Walker can be reached at (703) 878-8063.

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