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Friday, November 20, 2015

Public invited to community meeting on new DMV in Barcroft Plaza



Renovations under way at new DMV on Columbia Pike.
Anyone concerned about the plans for a new Department of Motor Vehicles center in Barcroft Plaza is encouraged to come to a community meeting hosted by the Mason District Council Dec. 3, 7:30 p.m., at the cafeteria in Belvedere Elementary School.

Del. Kaye Kory and representatives from the DMV, Virginia Department of Transportation, and Federal Realty, the owner of Barcroft Plaza, have been invited to speak.


The new DMV will open in spring 2016.
The DMV’s plan to relocate its Arlington center at 4150 S. Four Mile Run to the vacant storefront formerly occupied by the Han Sung Oak restaurant at 6341 Columbia Pike caught the community and public officials off guard.

The new DMV Customer Service Center is expected to open by May 2. Renovations of the building are already under way.

Local resident have already expressed complaints that there isn’t enough parking at the shopping center to accommodate a DMV. 

“While the move may provide convenience for many Mason District customers, it also raises questions about traffic, transparency, and oversight,” states Mason Supervisor Penny Gross in her Nov. 19 “Penny for Your Thoughts” column in the Falls Church News-Press. “The selection of a new location was a surprise to nearly all, including state and local elected officials.” 

A memo from VDOT Commissioner Richard Holcomb to Kory says the lease for the DMV on Four Mile Run will terminate April 30 with no options to renew. Data provided by the DMV show that the second highest percentage of transactions at the Four Mile Run center are from zip code 22041, where the new center will be.

In response to a question about why adjacent neighborhoods weren’t notified about the DMV, Holcomb says, “There is no requirement for public notice” and there are no plans for a public forum about relocation. The DMV plans to make a public announcement to its customers a few weeks before the move. 

According to Holcomb, “Although not on the weekend, staff have been to the site numerous times and have never seen the parking lot overcrowded, especially on the end where DMV will be located.” Noting that there are seven entrances to the shopping center – four on Lincolnia Road and three on Columbia Pike – “we are confident traffic movements will continue to be acceptable.”

Two parking spaces will be reserved for road test applicants. The other DMV customers will park in the existing lot, which serves Harris Teeter and about a dozen other stores. There are no plans to expand or reconfigure the parking lot or change the entry/exit points.

Approximately 60 cars are parked at the Four Mile Run Drive DMV at any one time, Holcomb says. Customers’ cars spend an average of 54 minutes on the lot. That center serves approximately 534 customers per day. 

Routes for on-road testing for driver’s license applicants haven’t been set yet, according to the DMV, but won’t be conducted in residential neighborhoods.

“Although the Board of Supervisors has no role in the siting of state facilities,” Gross says in her Falls Church News-Press column, she has raised concerns with Holcomb and requested a meeting with state officials, members of the General Assembly, and the landlord to review access, parking, and way-finding for the new facility.

“Some of the seven points of access to the shopping center have extremely chaotic turning movements, which are exacerbated when church services, youth sports leagues, and other activities nearby are taking place,” Gross says.

In addition to traditional DMV services like car titles and driver’s licenses, the new DMV will provide a slew of other government services, such as Virginia birth certificates; marriage, divorce, and death records; hunting and fishing licenses; boat titling and registration; E-ZPass purchases; and voter registration.  

The memo from Holcomb says the new facility will have 20 teller stations, three information stations, 12 testing stations, and seating for approximately 160 customers. It will be equipped with the latest technology “to maximize through-put and minimize waiting times.”

The DMV is expected to be open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m.-noon on Saturday.

20 comments:

  1. I don't view this as horrible like some others seem to. I'd probably rather not have it near a road I often drive on. I lived near the 4 Mile run DMV, but never thought of or noticed any of the issues that people are worried about here.

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  2. I really don't understand the hullabaloo about this. I'm happy to have more convenient access to a DMV for the tasks that have to be done in person (although so much can be done online these days that I don't have to go very often). And the parking lot is rarely anywhere near full at that end of the center. I think it's a lot better than the space continuing to sit empty (like the former Bloom space).
    -HR

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  3. Comparisons to the Four Mile Rum site are misplaced. The latter is relatively isolated and there are no adjacent businesses competing for parking. Nevertheless, I remember how crowded that site and its predecessor site on Seminary Road could at times become, particularly on Saturday mornings. So, local residents can forget about parking at Harris Teeter until the afternoon. Three of the of the so-called adequate exits head east. However, they're too close together and will likely cause backups if too many drivers use them at once. To go west, drivers have to first exit onto the short stretch of road near the intersection of Lincolnia Road. That will render at least the two exits closest to the intersection virtually unusable. That's guaranteed to create a backup and also impede traffic needing to cross over to the southbound lane of Lincolnia Rd. In short, its going to be more of a traffic nightmare than already exists there during rush hours.

    This project id a fait accompli. So, I can't imagine what Kaye Kory can do about it. Furthermore, its evident that VDOT Commission Holcomb and his staff clearly haven't done their homework when it comes to assessing the local impact this DMV office will have on the surrounding area. Failing to assess the proposed site on a Saturday was a major oversight. I'm already planning detours around that area because its going to become a major traffic hassle.

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  4. If you "can't understand the hullabaloo" about this, you must be myopic. The shopping center is small, navigating it is awkward, and there's no flipping way that several hundred additional customers filing in and out of there all day long, every day, won't have an enormous negative impact on the whole area.

    I'm generally an optimistic person, but I can't see the up side of this at all.

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    1. I don't know man, I'm sure it'll have an impact, I'm just not so sure it'll be "enormous." There appear to be well over 400 spaces in that lot, an additional 60 per day probably isn't going to absolutely crush it, but that's just me guessing. It'd be nice to see if they could fix the egress/ingress issues; maybe add an additional light down near the furthest east service road inlet. It's at least interesting to see their insight as to why they put a DMV in that area, I guess the lease being up on the 4 mile location and a majority of their customers coming from this zip is pretty compelling.

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    2. I agree. I'm at the shopping center nearly every Saturday, and it can get pretty crowded. I continue to be amazed at the arrogance of government agencies.

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    3. No, Adam, you can't put another light that close to the Lincolnia Rd. intersection. That'll just backup traffic even more than at present. There are also two lights a short distance east at Braddock and Lakeview. So, the overall impact will be multiplied.

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    4. yeah, you may be right 1138, I'm def no expert

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    5. It is 60 per hour, not per day.

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    6. 60 being occupied at any one time, my bad

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  5. This is a completely inappropriate location for a DMV. I live in the neighborhood, and the other DMV locations that I have frequented nearby over the years - Four Mile Run, Franconia, Alexandria, and Tyson's - are all STANDALONE facilities.

    I will be at that meeting. Not that it will do any good, and will most likely be a waste of my time, but maybe this is the push that I need to finally start boycotting all of Federal Realty's shopping centers. I don't want a penny of my money trickling down to them any longer.

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  6. VDOT Commissioner Holcomb staff must be the same who did the studies for the BRAC/Seminary Rd/395 project in the month of August...no traffic - no problem.

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  7. At least is will be conveniently located to the illegal used car dealer on Braddock at Lincolnia Rd.

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  8. To anan 9:30 AM
    "Federal Realty's shopping centers. I don't want a penny of my money trickling down to them any longer"
    I think it works the other way- Federal Realty's money trickling down to penny.


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    1. HA! Normally i'd say that's a good one, but Penny seems to be on our side in this battle - for once!!

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    2. "Penny seems on our side." You must be new here. More likely she asked for it in the first place and told everyone to keep quiet about it. She will style and profile and say "Oh, my, isn't it too bad that you can't stop it now Ha Ha." You watch her, she wants it. Come to the meet and find that not all is as Penny says it is. Actually, nothing is ever as Penny says it is. She is quite unbelievable.

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  9. This is just another fine example of government not working to service the people they are meant to serve. It may as well be a dictatorship government like in Cuba where they just do what they want and the general populace has to put up with it. The only difference is that we are not being put in a prison; and I qualify that with a "YET."

    Our newly re-elected leaders need to show that they have leverage and that they represent the people that voted for them and get this DMV out of this shopping center. They don't belong there.

    I suggest that all the surrounding neighborhoods boycott Harris Teeter and let HT take the jack asses at Federal Realty and DMV to court for destroying their successful store.

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    1. If a government agency renting space (you know, paying money for use of a private asset) from a commercial entity makes you think we're under threat of becoming like Cuba, you might want to turn off the computer and go out into the real world. Wow.

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  10. I was at the shopping center around noon a few Saturdays ago. Between the Starbucks/Harris Teeter/tae kwon do crowds, there were maybe 20 spaces open. I typically park far away from everyone else, and it was actually a challenge. I can't imagine what it will be like when the DMV opens. There's no way I'll shop at HT, even if I want to, because getting there will be impossible.

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