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Old 12-18-2011, 06:49 AM
 
Location: NOVA
4,521 posts, read 5,216,175 times
Reputation: 1926

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Now the Mark Center has won US Congress approval (not LOCAL elected officials) to force the Army to limit the number of vehicles that they drive.

Congress OKs Mark Center Parking Cap | NBC4 Washington

Webb, Warner, Moran, Connolly Applaud Passage of Mark Center Parking Cap (http://webb.senate.gov/newsroom/pressreleases/2011-12-16.cfm?renderforprint=1 - broken link)

"Supporters had initially proposed an even more stringent cap of 1,000 spaces. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said the cap will force the Army to find creative solutions like telework and staggered shifts."

It was Congress (BRAC) that PUT the Mark Center where it's at - in the center of traffic central and not out on the beltway (like BARTA). Why force the Army to do another traffic study? Another 2,000 employees will be moving in within six months and this comes at the same time as Mass Transit Benefits are being cut nearly 50%. Mass transit benefit set to expire Jan. 1 - FederalTimes.com

So the thousands of completed parking spaces will go unused? Inaccurate studies created that many parking spaces and after they are built, they can't be used. Classic government. Really.

Building photo: Lawmakers Claim Small Victory In Mark Center Dispute | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

Info page on the wonderful Mark Center Virginia Megaprojects - FAQs and Documents
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Old 12-18-2011, 07:32 AM
 
371 posts, read 730,865 times
Reputation: 176
Congress didn't approve the location of the Mark Center. All the people who are currently at/going to the Mark Center were approved to move to Fort Belvoir. Congress did approve way too many people to go to Fort Belvoir, so the Army decided if they bought new land somewhere they can call it a Fort Belvoir detachment and meet the BRAC law.

The City of Alexandria had already approved the Mark Center to support that many people and parking spaces in 2004: http://alexandriava.gov/uploadedFile...fReport(1).pdf

Congress, the Army, and the City of Alexandria all had a huge part in creating this mess. If anyone of them had used some logic during the process, it could have been prevented. To blame just one isn't fair. They all deserve the blame.

It was a big mistake to pick that spot. Either of the two alternatives (Springfield or Van Dorn St) was way better in almost every way. They really have protected who exactly made the decision. I don't know of anyone that knows who made the decision (other than the generic Army).

The city of Alexandria has a website with a lot of information about the history of this project:

BRAC-133 Information Archive | Base Realignment & Closure (BRAC) | City of Alexandria, VA
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Old 12-18-2011, 08:06 AM
 
29 posts, read 51,635 times
Reputation: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by spleuchan View Post
Congress didn't approve the location of the Mark Center. All the people who are currently at/going to the Mark Center were approved to move to Fort Belvoir. Congress did approve way too many people to go to Fort Belvoir, so the Army decided if they bought new land somewhere they can call it a Fort Belvoir detachment and meet the BRAC law.

The City of Alexandria had already approved the Mark Center to support that many people and parking spaces in 2004: http://alexandriava.gov/uploadedFile...fReport(1).pdf

Congress, the Army, and the City of Alexandria all had a huge part in creating this mess. If anyone of them had used some logic during the process, it could have been prevented. To blame just one isn't fair. They all deserve the blame.

It was a big mistake to pick that spot. Either of the two alternatives (Springfield or Van Dorn St) was way better in almost every way. They really have protected who exactly made the decision. I don't know of anyone that knows who made the decision (other than the generic Army).

The city of Alexandria has a website with a lot of information about the history of this project:

BRAC-133 Information Archive | Base Realignment & Closure (BRAC) | City of Alexandria, VA

Like everything else, the decision was driven by a short sighted attempt to save money (which in the long run is going to cost the taxpayers a lot more):

"Duke responded by offering to sell the Mark Center site to the United States and presented a bid that was $200 million lower than the Victory Center site, which was assumed by many to be the leading contender. The selection represented a windfall for Duke, especially because the federal government is exempt from density limitations and traffic-management requirements. Alexandria City Council members went along with the idea, allowing the August 2008 letter to endorse the Mark Center site along with the Victory Center site in late 2008."

Source: ?BRAC the Vote? (http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/article.asp?article=356464&paper=88&cat=104 - broken link)
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:31 AM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,738 posts, read 8,944,669 times
Reputation: 3857
It's a completlely asinine decision. It's not going to force people to take the bus; they'll just continue to drive but will park in the surrounding neighborhood. The ones who find it too onerous will eventually look for work at another location.

These agencies should realize that having a crappy location or dearth of parking will hurt their employee recruitment and retention.
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:39 AM
 
5,330 posts, read 6,123,868 times
Reputation: 2624
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
It's a completlely asinine decision. It's not going to force people to take the bus; they'll just continue to drive but will park in the surrounding neighborhood. The ones who find it too onerous will eventually look for work at another location.

These agencies should realize that having a crappy location or dearth of parking will hurt their employee recruitment and retention.
Many people are taking the buses and I don't think people can park in the neighborhoods because of parking zones and the need for a sticker.
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:46 AM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,738 posts, read 8,944,669 times
Reputation: 3857
Quote:
Originally Posted by robbobobbo View Post
Many people are taking the buses and I don't think people can park in the neighborhoods because of parking zones and the need for a sticker.
Didn't know about the zoned neighborhoods. In that case, I'd guess that people will just drive a little farther till the sticker requirement goes away. (We used to live about 3/4 of a mile from Ballston Metro--just far enough that we didn't have zoned parking. A few commuters would park on our street, despite the healthy walk.)

As to the buses: I'd guess that anyone who lives close enough for a bus to be a realistic option is already doing that. If someone's commute by car is half what it would be by bus, most likely they'll keep driving. (I'm in this situation at Belvoir; if my parking were to suddenly disappear, I'd just find another job, because no way am I going to have a one way commute of two hours.)

Last edited by Carlingtonian; 12-18-2011 at 10:54 AM..
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Old 12-18-2011, 11:01 AM
 
5,330 posts, read 6,123,868 times
Reputation: 2624
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
Didn't know about the neighborhoods. In that case, I'd guess that people will just drive a little farther till the sticker requirement goes away. (We used to live just far enough from Ballston that we didn't have zoned parking, and a few commuters would park on our street, despite the healthy walk.)

As to the buses: I'd guess that anyone who lives close enough for a bus to be a realistic option is already doing that. If someone's commute by car is half what it would be by bus, most likely they'll keep driving. (I'm in this situation at Belvoir; if my parking were to suddenly disappear, I'd just find another job, because no way am I going to have a one way commute of two hours.)
The Mark Center is rather isolated. Even if you could park in the nearby neighborhoods, you have a hike to get to the buildings. Park outside of restricted parking and you'd need to have a bike on the car or take a bus.

People who used to take the VRE still do, now they detrain at King St and take a bus. I'm not trying to paint a rosy picture, but I thought I'd offer first-hand knowledge to correct some assumptions.
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Old 12-18-2011, 11:14 AM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,738 posts, read 8,944,669 times
Reputation: 3857
Robbo, since you work there, any idea what the purpose is of the cop cars at the two interesections, always with their lights on? Just a very expensive passive terrorism deterrent?

I've heard good things about VRE, but the problem for people who live in Arlington and work south of there is that in the mornings, it's only a northbound service.
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Old 12-18-2011, 11:19 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,840,551 times
Reputation: 42860
Quote:
Originally Posted by robbobobbo View Post
The Mark Center is rather isolated. Even if you could park in the nearby neighborhoods, you have a hike to get to the buildings.
Good point.
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Old 12-18-2011, 01:47 PM
 
4,711 posts, read 10,865,515 times
Reputation: 3773
People will figure it out. The Pentagon has parking spaces for little more than one third of it's employees...been like that for decades. It's probably worse now that they ran Rt 110 through North Parking, but I don't know for sure...I retired just as they were starting work on that.

I qualified for a Pentagon parking space due to longevity and grade, but I had gotten so used to riding the bus, I let my assistant use my spot. She was very appreciative...
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