The White Flint Implementation Advisory Committee met on Monday night at Shriver Aquatic Center. The highlight of the meeting was a parking study of Woodglen Drive and the surrounding area. Spurred by the proposal to remove six metered parking spaces along the east side of Woodglen, in order to install a bike lane, the County’s DOT undertook a parking study of the entire area to ensure capacity would meet demand. Three of the parking spaces are near Security Lane, in front of a synagogue, and the other three are right near the entrance of Whole Foods.
The study was an interesting look into the mechanics of seemingly small decisions. Although the removal of six spaces seems inconsequential, the study looked for any ripple effect that might be caused. To do this, the study defined a wide area of White Flint and inventoried all parking options, including on-street and garage. They then spent three days in April, a Thursday/Friday/Saturday, monitoring the spaces for parking turnover and duration data. While the coveted 80 on-street parking spaces in the vicinity of Woodglen Drive and Executive Boulevard experience high usage, the peak usage in the three days was at noon on Saturday with 93% occupancy. At its Friday peak, at 7pm, the spaces were only 75% occupied. So, capacity does exist at all times.
As anyone who shops at Whole Foods knows, those three spaces that are slated for removal are nearly always occupied, and there’s often a fourth car illegally parked right at the corner. But, even though those spaces are frequently used, there is enough capacity in the immediately surrounding area to compensate. Many meters on Executive Boulevard are 12-hour meters, which encourages all day parkers to leave their cars on the streets when garages or lots are better options. The purpose of a meter should be to encourage turnover so that convenient parking is available when a patron is ready to pop into a business. Cars left there all day block this purpose. The recommendation is that these meters be converted to 2-hour meters for this purpose. A “repositioning of the system” should alleviate any stress caused by the removal of the three spaces and, overall, capacity in the general area looks good.
The Whole Foods garage offers two hours of free parking. Its peak usage was at 7pm on Friday when it was 93% occupied. But, otherwise, occupancy never exceeded 80%. Paladar Latin Kitchen is offering free valet parking – but the valet stand is in the middle of the future bike lane at the moment. So, we’ll be checking in with them for their plans on that. Construction on the bike lane project begins next month – click here for more on that.