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BRAC: Congress Caps Mark Center Parking at 2,000

Buses, telecommuting, staggered schedules and transportation fixes will be needed.


Congress is set to pass legislation today that chastises the Army and imposes restrictions to cap parking at the controversial Mark Center property in Alexandria at 2,000 spaces. 

The announcement was made today by U.S. Reps. (D-8), (D-11) and Virginia Sen. (D) at the U.S. Capitol.

Language in the Department of Defense and the Military Construction Appropriations Acts will allow 2,000 parking spaces at the Washington Headquarters Services facility for more than 6,000 federal employees. It will also require the DoD to complete an "accurate" transportation study of the area, revise their Transportation Management Plan and comply with the recommendations of a damning report released last month by the U.S. Army Inspector General. 

"This is a step forward," said Warner, adding that a crucial flyover ramp from HOV traffic will take two-to-four years to finish. "But, I don't want to leave people with the sense that there's not going to be congestion."

WHS at Mark Center has 3,800 parking spaces, and the property is three miles from the nearest Metro station. The parking cap can only be lifted after the DoD has proven that none of the intersections around the Mark Center area experience failing levels of service for a period of three months. 

"In reality, it's nearly impossible to not have a failing level of service at those intersections—not for 90 straight days," Moran said. "The reality is that this parking cap goes into effect immediately and it's not going to be broken until the infrastructure is in place, or the Pentagon is going to have to figure out another way to get their people there or not use approximately half of the building."

Connolly said that the Army did not recognize the concerns of local officials. "They consciously dismissed, as barely a tertiary concern, our traffic concerns. This is the second worst congestion in America," he said.  

Last month, the released its second report on the Mark Center property. The report detailed how the Army's analyses of Mark Center was flawed.

"Traffic counts were conducted around national holidays and while schools were not in session, which could have resulted in peak hour traffic volumes of up to 35 percent less than average peak hour volumes," the report said. 

The IG report also found that Army failed to account for the relocation of defense contractors, "who account for 31 percent of the 6,809 employees."

"This is exactly what we wanted," said Moran. "The next time they'll think twice before building a building before having the transportation infrastructure in place and the traffic mitigation measures approved."  

Will Radle December 16, 2011 at 09:31 PM
Chastising public employees and US soldiers because politicians lack the ability to plan ahead shows our need for change. A. Will Radle, Jr. Creating a Culture of Listening FairfaxAdvocates@gmail.com
Don Carr December 17, 2011 at 03:50 PM
As parking at Mark Center is capped because there is inadequate public transit serving the 6,400 workers and the perceived impact their additional cars on an already packed I395, one can't help but wonder why parking isn't similarly capped at Fort Belvoir's main post. Granted, BRAC moved only about 3,400 jobs there, but, that brought the total to more than 30,000. Based on what I hear, traffic on that part of Richmond Highway is considered to be similarly packed.
Will Radle December 17, 2011 at 04:29 PM
We knew of BRAC changes in May 2005, over 6 years ago. Moran's consistent failure to lead, poor advocacy and planning hurts us. In November, Supervisor Hyland said the daily congestion on Route 1 is the worst he has ever seen in his decades of living in and serving the region. Consistently ranked among the worst in traffic, we have the best arguments for federal investment in transportation infrastructure. Sadly, we are represented by a man who could not persuade anyone to get out of a paper bag. The Washington Post has said Moran is unfit for public office. Leading Democrats including Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank have said he is an embarrassment. Responsible public servants who listen would own accountability and not try to scapegoat public employees and US soldiers. A. Will Radle, Jr. Creating a Culture of Listening FairfaxAdvocates@gmail.com
Juan Manuel Barnett December 18, 2011 at 07:09 PM
While VDOT, DoD and Congress want to throw millions of dollars at this issue and spend countless hours meeting to point fingers, everyone ignores some of the more simple solutions to address the Mark Center traffic. Many of the organizations have MANY positions that could easily telework 2-3 days a week and reduce the need for workers to even come to the building, yet everyone seems blind to this idea. I brought up this to my organization (which is in the Mark Center) and no one could tell me what we had planned in terms of teleworking to address parking limitations. Until someone looks at common sense solutions to this problem, nothing will change and we'll spend millions building new roads and 'creating jobs' while making the commute worse.
Will Radle December 18, 2011 at 09:02 PM
Claims that the US Army ignored concerns of local officials is disputed by Dick Saslaw, Democratic state senate leader, who campaigned in 2011 showing voters a letter from Alexandria Mayor Euille and the City Council supporting and encouraging the project.

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