Poet parking pondered

BY NAOMI EIDE

The Takoma Park City Council addressed parking concerns and provided recommendations Monday night, weighing residential and public parking needs in light of commercial development in the city and  nearby Takoma, DC.

Assessing the current available parking, the city found that there is an untapped capacity of parking already existing that will not require new parking structures, and called for the continued monitoring of parking in Takoma Park.

Busboys and Poets on Carroll Avenue is slated to open later this fall raising concerns that parking will become an issue there and in other commercial districts. The restaurant/bar/meeting-place will be located in Takoma, DC, just over the city line.

The City Manager, Brian Kenner, made recommendations Monday night following a parking assessment conducted by Takoma Park.

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Chart and key from the city report.

• Zones 1, 1A, 2, 2A, 3 and 4: Permit Parking M-F, 8:00 am – 7:00 pm
• Zone 6: Permit Parking Daily, 7:00 pm – 8:00 am
• Zone 5: Permit Parking M-F, 7:00 pm – 7:00 am
• Metered Parking (Orange Lines)
• Elm Avenue (Red Line): No Parking School Days 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
• Tulip Avenue (Red Line): 1 hour parking
• East-West Highway (Black Line): No Parking M-F, 4:00 pm – 7 pm
• Holton Lane (Black Line): 1 hr Parking

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A plan before we have a problem

Kenner called for continued analysis of parking demands during ongoing commercial development and an assessment of the impact on residential areas following the opening of new businesses in Takoma Park and Takoma DC.

Kenner also recommended the reassessment of parking needs in the early spring, once inclement weather is no longer an issue and the impact of new businesses are fully realized.

“Street parking is a public good. It’s available for the public and its got to balance a lot of different needs,” Kenner said.

“Although things look kind of nice now, it is getting dense enough that we should be developing a plan before we have a problem,” rather than waiting for a Takoma Park parking problem, Ward 4 Councilmember Terry Seamens said.

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New Commercial Businesses:
Republic, 6939 Carroll Ave.
MAD Fitness, 7302 Carroll Ave.
Body Mind Spirit, 7040 Carroll Ave.
Dr. Samantha Rodman, 7040 Carroll Ave.
StretchZone, 6856 Eastern Ave, NW
Education First Language Center, 6896 Laurel St, NW
Evolve, 341 Cedar St, NW
Takoma Wellness Center, 6925 Blair Rd, NW

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Potential parking lots found

The Old Takoma Business Associate (OTBA) identified parking options available in growing commercial districts other than on-street parking and lots available to private business customers.

Laura Barclay, executive director of OTBA, said they worked with commercial businesses in Takoma Park to identify additional parking in commercial lots not used in the evening.

The lots normally closed at night, such as the lot located behind CVS, would be open for paid parking after normal operating hours, with rates determined by market price, Barclay said.

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Businesses Coming Soon:
Busboys and Poets, 232 Carroll St, NW
Spring Mill Bakery, 7300 Carroll Ave

Vegaritos, 6904 4thSt, NW

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Uncontrolled overnight parking

While OTBA focuses on parking in commercial areas, the city focuses on street parking in residential areas meant to accommodate residents and their visitor’s needs, while recognizing that some public parking is made available in residential areas.

Takoma Park resident, Jeffrey Trunzo, expressed concern to City Council Monday night about the lack of parking enforcement in residential areas, where cars can reside for extended periods without facing forced removal.

“The time has come that we should really be willing to think about what public good and what city good is being served by having uncontrolled overnight parking,” Trunzo said.

 

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Potential parking lots available for evening use:
• Willow St, NW, behind CVS -80 spaces
• Laurel and Aspen Sts, NW -80 spaces
• SDA Church on Eastern, NW -160 spaces
• Takoma Business Center on Carroll Ave -200 spaces

Parking Meters:
• 105 meters in Old Town, Takoma Junction, Montgomery College
• Junction Pay Station –34 public meters

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Avoiding under- and over-enforcement

Seth Grimes, City Councilmember for Ward 1, called for a uniform approach to parking enforcement to alleviate concern is some areas that face over-enforcement and in other areas where enforcement is lacking, particularly on residential blocks.

The council voted in July to increase parking enforcement by half a position, however that position is not filled yet, Grimes said, which should eventually help standardize enforcement of parking policies.

The council mentioned the potential standardization of parking restrictions times and coordination with adjacent parts of D.C., which will be equally impacted by the opening of businesses like Busboys and Poets.

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Commercial parking currently available in Takoma Park. From the city report.

About the Author

Naomi Eide
Naomi Eide is Washington state native who spent her college years and beyond wandering the East Coast. She received her undergraduate degree from Providence College in Rhode Island where she studied history and music. Following a year working in corporate America, Naomi left her full-time job for the University of Maryland where she is currently pursuing her Masters of Journalism.