Pr. William commuters to lose parking
A slugging and commuter parking system that some Prince William residents say has worked well for years will end Monday, sending hundreds of people in search of alternatives.
Potomac Mills mall officials announced in January that they planned to slash the number of commuter spaces from about 1,000 to 275 to make way for new commercial development.
Displaced commuters will have to find new places to slug and catch the bus.
Roughly 200 of those people met with Prince William officials Wednesday night to hear what other options are available and to voice their frustration.
"I don't know what I am going to do on Monday," said Prince William resident Denise Burkhart who has "slugged" by catching rides from Potomac Mills for more than 10 years. "It is going to be extremely disruptive for me. Even if I try to go somewhere else to get picked up, I won't know how I will get back home."
Potomac Mills General Manager Mike Sullivan said the county requires the mall to provide 275 spaces. For more than 20 years, however, they have provided four to five times what is required.
"We had a business decision to make," Sullivan said. "This is private property; we run a business, and we want to have enough parking for customers and employees. We've helped the county out over the years . . . but it's the county's job to provide commuter lots."
County officials said they knew for years the mall wanted to expand; it was just unclear when that time would come.
"I would consider moving because I no longer have an incentive to stay," Prince William resident Rhonda Reed said. "The way this was handed was disrespectful to us. ...The county knew they would expand and it would impact parking. ... They should have looked then" at the situation.
County officials said there are other commuter lots that are underutilized including the lots at Route 123 and I-95, Dale Boulevard and Gemini Way, Dale Boulevard and Hillendale Drive, Dale Boulevard and Quate Lane and Minnieville Road and Harbor Drive. No bus service is available at the Minnieville Road location.
Other lots that have some capacity are located at Exeter Drive near Route 234, Dale Boulevard near Gideon Drive, Cherrydale Road and Dale Boulevard, Route 234 near Stockbridge Drive and Rippon Boulevard and Farm Creek. No bus service is available at the Rippon Boulevard lot.
County officials said they are also close to securing new commuter parking at some private lots near Potomac Mills. While county officials would not reveal who they were in negotiations with, they said they hope to secure new spots within 30 to 60 days. There are also plans to expand the Horner Road lot by 2012.
"These lots that have spaces have them for a reason," said Prince William resident Sabrina Akins, who slugs from Potomac Mills. "I live in Marumsco and I'm not driving [an extra 20 minutes or more] to get to another lot. ... Potomac Mills has lost my business because of the way they handled this."
Are you affected? How will this change your commute? Post a comment below.
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