Potential Tour Bus/Motorcoach parking locations along Holland Lane and Jamieson Avenue in Alexandria, Virginia

The City of Alexandria, Virginia recently brought back the Ad Hoc Motorcoach Task Force for a new study and recommendations on loading and unloading areas as well as short-term parking locations in Alexandria for tour bus/motorcoaches during tour season.

Once again, the City is studying the 400 block of Holland Lane (see above) and the 1400 block of Jamieson Avenue (see below) to remove 26 parking spaces on the south side of Jamieson Avenue to create 10 seasonal tour bus parking spaces and add seasonal tour bus parking signage.

The previous Task Force tried to take the parking spaces but, were forced to use alternate locations over strenuous objections from Old Town Village and Carlyle residents.

I have seen all 26 spaces full at night everyday of the week. You can certainly bet that the tour buses won’t be completely in the parking area and out of the traffic lane so proceed with caution in this area if this eventually passes.

The loading/unloading areas are under consideration to ensure the tour buses have adequate space to load and unload passengers, the area must be handicapped accessible and to allow the bus to get out of the travel-way when loading and unloading passengers. The short-term parking is where the tour buses would go after they have unloaded. The City can determine during non-touring season to allow the 26 parking spaces in the Old Town Village/Carlyle area to return.

So, the questions are – With the left turn at Jamieson Avenue and South West Street narrow at best, how does the City think a tour bus is going to be able to make that turn?

Also, why with parking at such a premium in the Carlyle area, how does the City think this would be beneficial?

You can find the areas under consideration online (PDF) for loading and unloading as well as short-term parking.

The next Motorcoach Task Force meeting will be held on May 31, 2016 from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm at City Hall, 301 King Street, in the Chet & Sabra Avery Conference Room 2000.

Potential Tour Bus/Motorcoach parking locations along Holland Lane and Jamieson Avenue in Alexandria, Virginia

(Image via Google Maps)

The Traffic & Parking Board meeting on Monday, April 27, 2009 featured one item of old business that affected the residents of Carlyle. Previously, we reported to you about the March meeting of the board which kind of snuck up on me. The need is for an area that is close to restrooms and/or restaurants as the Motorcoach drivers need to have somewhere to go as they sometimes need to wait up to 2-3 hours.

To recap, the Alexandria Motorcoach Task Force came up with a list of spaces that the City could take to use for visiting motorcoaches and presented their findings at the March 23 meeting. Their only consideration was to take the 26 2 hour spaces that sit between Holland Lane and West Street just outside of our neighborhood.

These 26 spaces are in use constantly by Carlyle residents/guests, PTO employees/guests, residents/guests of Old Town Village, and by Shiloh Baptist Church on Sundays. Several of our neighbors spoke out against this Task Force suggestion at the March 23 meeting and as a result, the board asked the Task Force to figure out a couple of other options other than the Jamieson Ave solution and gave the Task Force a one month deferment.

The Task Force presented at Monday’s meeting, three possible locations that can be used. Top on the list was the current Wheeler Ave bus depot location. Number 2 on the list was the Royal Street (near the St. Mary’s school) location. Number 3 was the Jamieson Ave location.

Motorcoach

Motorcoach

After much debate, including a great question by Board Chairman Jay Johnson about using the area in the back of Potomac Yards, which many buses use now, the board voted to take Jamieson completely off the table. This motion caused many of the public in attendance to clap loudly.

The Board also voted to use the Wheeler Ave location for this season up to the end of June. At that time, they will revisit the situation. The Royal Street neighborhood, which was heavily in attendance, did not like the possibility that they may allow the buses to park down on Royal near Jones Point Park.

I just found out, about 14 days late, that the City of Alexandria Motorcoach Task Force formally proposed to the Traffic & Parking Board a number of parking changes in order for the tourist buses (a.k.a. motorcoaches) to be allowed to park outside of the Old Town area. And where exactly did they decide to make the main parking section for the buses? On Jamieson Ave just outside of our area. Here are the details:

The City is requesting to remove 26 parking spaces on the south side of Jamieson Avenue to create 10 seasonal tour bus parking spaces and add seasonal tour bus parking signage.

The 26 parking spaces must be removed to ensure the tour buses have adequate space to load and unload passengers, the area must be handicapped accessible and to allow the bus to get out of the travel-way when loading and unloading passengers. The City can determine during non-touring season to allow the 26 parking spaces to return.

My question is this. Why with parking at such a premium in Carlyle have we allowed the City to come in and try to take parking away from our area? I have seen all 26 spaces full at night everyday of the week. You can certainly bet that the motorcoaches won’t be completely in the parking area and out of the traffic lane so proceed with caution if this eventually passes in that area.

City Council got smart (wait…it’s an election year) to defer the request on March 24, 2009 to install short-term motorcoach parking on Jamieson Avenue until April with the provision that staff would return to the Traffic and Parking Board with at least two alternate locations and a no-park alternative. Council also issued a proviso that the recommendation goes back to the Motorcoach Task Force in April for further review.

Here is the docket report for the last Traffic & Parking Board meeting from March 23, 2009:

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