|Daniels Avenue across the street from American Legion Post 1976.|
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution Oct. 8 prohibiting commercial trucks from parking on Poplar Street and parts of Daniel Avenue and the Little River Turnpike service road in central Annandale.
The parking restriction would ban commercial vehicles, recreational vehicles, and trailers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Owners of businesses in the area, as well as members of the Annandale Chamber of Commerce and Annandale Central Business District Planning Committee have long complained about large trucks lining those streets, including many from out of state, and urged Mason Supervisor Penny Gross to take action.
|The service road at Little River Turnpike.|
The parking restriction will take effect as soon as the signs are put up, which is expected to take a couple of weeks, Gross said. If trucks move to other streets in central Annandale, the parking ban could be expanded.
The only person who spoke at the hearing against the parking ban was Darius Bly, a long-time Annandale resident and Annandale High School graduate who owns the A. Settles Turf Farm in Culpeper County. He told the BoS he used to rent property in Annandale for parking, but “those areas have long been developed,” so he’s been keeping his single-axle flatbed truck on Popular or Daniels for the past 15 years or so. That area is convenient for his employees, he says.
“I was very worried and surprised” to hear of the proposed parking restrictions,” Bly says. “Losing this parking area would be a great hindrance to me,” he says, noting he’s never heard any complaints before. He says he might have to park his truck at the driveway at his house in Camelot but doesn’t think his neighbors would like that.
Another Annandale business owner, Elliott Guzman didn’t speak at the hearing, but told the Annandale Blog earlier this week that he opposes the parking ban, too because it would present a hardship for his business, EGC Enterprises, which uses a couple of dump trucks to haul materials to and from construction sites. He parks the trucks on Daniels Avenue because it’s close to his home.
At the hearing, a man representing a property owner at 7137 Little River Turnpike urged the BoS to support the parking restriction because “enormous commercial vehicles” create a hazard for drivers entering and exiting the parking lot by limiting the line of sight. They also block the visibility of businesses, making it hard to customers to find them. Businesses located at that address are Ara Restaurant, Dolce Bakery & Cafe, and Lambros Goldsmith.
Richard Semmler, speaking on behalf of the Annandale Gardens condominium association, urged the BoS to support the ban, citing the safety of the growing number of children in the area. He also noted there’s a large box truck always parked at the Popular/Daniels intersection that block drivers’ visibility.
John Vincent, a long-time resident and employee of Annandale Gardens, asked the BoS to extend the parking restriction to include the rest of Daniels Avenue in front of the condos. Otherwise the trucks would just move there, he said.
Maria Turner, a senior transportation planner with the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, said large commercial vehicles are already banned from that area because it is zoned R-20, although recreational vehicles and single-axle trailers could park there.
Local business owners who also spoke about the danger to pedestrians and customers include Mike McGill of McGill’s Famous Pizza and Buffet on Little River Turnpike and Gwen Estep, owner of a business at 7272 Poplar Street.
Roy McCracken, commander of American Legion Bicentennial Post 1976 on Daniels, said the post has about 700 members and just 20 spaces in its parking lot. When the post has large social events, some veterans in wheel chairs or with canes have to park a quarter of a mile away because the nearby streets are full of trucks, many with license plates from Maryland or D.C.
“Each truck takes up two or three spaces that should really be for the convenience of our veterans,” added Dick George, also representing Post 1976.