VRE Parking Garage… ground broken at last..

That’s Progress, no wait, that’s Irony

Construction has started on our new Virginia Railway Express parking garage. This is something of a milestone for me, as I have worked on the planning board for this structure for three years. It’s somewhat bittersweet that we are finally building this big thing that we have planned and thougth on and anticipated and schmoozed over for so many years, and now it’s finally here, right on the verge of a job change that will have me driving to work again, for the first time in a decade.

It’s nice to know that someone will enjoy it. Right after 9/11, the U.S. Government decided to give a substantial benefit to its employees– extra compensation for using public transportation to work, in the form of Metro Checks. Metro checks can be swapped for Virginia Railway Express tickets (naturally) and the result was an unplanned for explosion in growth that left VRE officials flat-foodted and under-funded. The parking lost at Burke had already been expanded once and was already working at full capacity. NOW there were illegally parked cars all over the place, with some even parking on the grass and in the mud. This wouldn’t bave been TOO bad if Fairfax County had maintained a blind eye about it, but they insisted on ticketing liberally, creating an untenable solution.

A parking garage was one of many solutions looked at by the Burke Community– we looked at everything we could dream up– increasing pathways, building a bike bridge, even alternative parking lots with shuttles. The fact is that VRE did a miserable job of planning for expansion, and it always came back to a parking garage. Thank God for District Representative Sharon Bulova (D) and Congressman Tom Davis (R) who found the $$ for this thing!

Follow up: Kimberly Dale has started a website to track construction of this project.