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Morning Poll: Should Fairfax County reduce parking in developed areas?

Tysons Galleria parking lot (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

As part of an ongoing review of off-street parking rules, Fairfax County is considering an overhaul of its parking requirements for new development.

Under the proposed tiered system, the number of parking spaces required for a particular development would vary depending on the density of the surrounding area.

Currently, developers must provide a certain amount of parking based on the type of use and how many people their building will serve. The same standards are applied throughout the county, though a special planned district for Tysons has its own rules.

The new system would leave standards for low-density areas largely unchanged, but it would impose a ceiling on the amount of parking allowed in medium-density areas and significantly limit parking in high-density, transit-oriented developments.

Those developments need less parking, because they are designed to be walkable and accessible by transit, so people can get to work, shop, and engage in other activities without having to get into a car, the county’s land-use and planning staff argues.

However, with Metro still reeling from last year’s train derailment and Fairfax County’s efforts to build more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly infrastructure a work in progress, transportation experts say signs point to people driving more frequently than they did before the pandemic as more workers return to offices.

According to The Washington Post, experts attribute the shift toward driving over mass transit to the rise in remote and hybrid work. Commuters might be more willing to drive now — and put up with increasing rush-hour congestion — when they only have to make that trip a couple of times a week.

Do you think having less parking in more developed, transit-oriented areas will help reduce Fairfax County’s reliance on cars, or will it just inconvenience people without producing the desired changes in behavior?

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