Post #238: Wade Hampton Parking, revisited (error fixed 5/22/2019).

Posted on April 13, 2019

Corrected 5/22/2019 for my mixing up Park Street and Center Street in Google Maps satellite view.

My earlier contention (Post #232) is that 11 people can park legally on Wade Hampton now, and that, looking at the diagram of the future Wade Hampton, with the majority of it striped to accommodate three lanes at the end, almost all of that parking would be eliminated.

The Town, as reported by the developer, says otherwise.  In particular, the report was that no parking would be eliminated on the side of the street across from 380 Maple West.

What’s the correct explanation?  Somebody has to be wrong here.  At this point, the easiest way to resolve those two views is to suggest that the diagram of the street, as offered by the builder, is incorrect.  As long as you take away almost all the lane striping that is shown, and make the street more of a free-for-all, then you can plausibly claim more-or-less no loss of parking on the west side of Wade Hampton.

To be clear, you have to assume that the lane striping on the 32′-wide Wade Hampton will be nothing like the striping on the 32′-wide Park Center Street, as it meets Maple. Even though the setup (one lane incoming, two lanes outgoing) and width (32′) are the same.  And even though the striping on Park Center Street is almost identical to the builder’s diagram.  But if the Town stripes Wade Hampton as it did Park Center, all streetside parking would be eliminated.

So, I could be dead wrong.  But I had some help getting there.  To get to the Town’s reported position: you have to ignore the Builder’s drawing of Wade Hampton, you have to ignore the real-world example of Park Center Street at Maple, and you have to ignore one legal space on Wade Hampton that nobody uses anyway.  And if you do that, and leave most of Wade Hampton as a free-for-all, so that we can drive down the middle of the road as we see fit — then you can see that the Town’s reported claim of no parking loss is credible.

Detail follows:

Below, Maple runs vertically on the right side.  “West”-ish (toward Oakton) is at the top.

The top picture is my list of legal parking places now on Wade Hampton– see Post #232 for methods.

This middle picture is the builder’s diagram for the road striping on Wade Hampton.  Again, Maple is vertical, on the right.  There are two outgoing lanes, and one incoming lane, at that intersection.

Finally, this is Park Center Street as it meets Maple.  Again, Maple is vertical on the right.  The road width (32′) and lane setup (one incoming, two outgoing) are more-or-less identical to the builder’s diagram above.

The easiest way to get a handle on this is to look Park Center Street.  My estimate (via Google Earth Pro) is that Park,Center, at Maple, is 32′ wide.  And it is, in fact, striped as has been proposed for Wade Hampton.  Thus it is a pretty good analog what would can and can’t be done with that street width and striping.

As you can see a) Park Center appears to be about 32′ wide, b) it is striped in a manner almost identical to the builder’s diagram, and c) ain’t no parking on the end of Park Center.

In fact,  with the current striping, only after you move the center line to one side of the street, can the Town fit parking onto the street.  But that distance to the first parking place  — 230 feet from the intersection — is pretty much where the broad part of Wade Hampton will end.

The upshot is that if the Town stripes the 32′-wide Wade Hampton as it did the 32′-wide Park Center Street, there will be no streetside parking on Wade Hampton.  The builder’s diagram looks almost exactly like Park. Center.  So, for sure, the Town can’t make it look like the builder’s diagram, and claim that no parking is lost.

There is streetside parking on Park, Center, at Maple, on the other side of Maple (north side).  But the road there is 39′ wide.  So that’s a pretty clear real-world example.  With 39′ you get parking at the corner. With 32′, you don’t.

Back to Wade Hampton. It seems to me, then, that the only way to keep those parking places currently on Wade Hampton is to eliminate the road striping, and let cars negotiate that as they see fit.  So if the striping looks like the diagram below, and just outlines two lanes at Maple and nothing else, then I think you can plausibly claim no real loss of parking.

My space #6 (very topmost picture on this page, and legal, as far as I can tell) is no longer available.  But I can’t recall having seen anyone use it anyway, so that’s no great loss.  Space #5 is a problem if there are cars queued up to turn left, and particularly if there is both a left-turn queue and an inbound truck.  Presumably, that’s going to be rare enough, and temporary enough, that you can turn a blind eye to it.  On the rest of the street, you just drive down the middle to avoid the parked cars, as we do now, and you can keep the parking that’s there.

So I think that’s the correct resolution.  The street diagram published by the developer was too orderly.  Park Center Street, as currently striped, is too orderly.  Both show nice, neat striping the length of the street.  If the Town did that, and people obeyed that, I don’t think you could have any viable parking on the Wade Hampton.  Exactly as there is none on Park, Center, as you get near Maple.

Instead, to keep the parking, you have to throw out the builder’s diagram and re-do it with just the minimal set of lines required to set up the left- and right-turn lanes.  Past that point, you just trust people to drive as they see fit.

The final thing I want to point out about Park Center Street is the broadly-radiused corner for making a right from Maple eastbound (Tyson’s-bound) onto Park Center Contrast that to the equivalent very sharp corner at Maple and Wade Hampton.  This is why I said, in my prior post on this topic, that the Town is going to have to rebuild that sharp corner.  Trucks won’t be able to make the right from Maple to Wade Hampton if people are waiting in the left-turn lane.

Finally, I decided to double-check my estimate of what was and was not legal parking, on Wade Hampton, now.  And to look at the range of street options in the Town.

First, I decided to look up the Town’s exact language on what is or isn’t legal parking.  Turns out that a) we let people park closer to an intersection (20′) than most other jurisdictions that I found, and b) we appear to have no explicit regulations about how close you may park to a driveway, just as long as you don’t park in front of it:

Sec. 9-12.3. - Where stopping, standing or parking prohibited.
1.   Stopping, standing or parking is prohibited:

A.  In front of a public or private driveway.


D.  Within 20 feet of the intersection of curblines, or if none, within 15 feet of the intersection of property lines at an intersection of streets.


Given that, there might even be another legal space or two that could be squeezed onto Wade Hampton.  For example, given the Town’s ordinances, you could actually fit two legal compact car spaces in the space that I labeled #6 above.  The distance from the driveway to the Maple Avenue curb line is about 54′.  You have to stay 20′ from the Maple curb line.  That leaves enough for two compact car spaces (20′ + 16′ + 16′ = 52′ < 54′) or one standard space with room to spare (20′ + 22′ = 42′ < 54′).  In my opinion, you’d create a disturbance to the flow of traffic if you parked there.  But unless the Town posted it as no parking, it appears to be legal.

Another oddity is that if Church Street were a parking lot, it would be just barely legal.  Per the Town’s regulations, if you have a parking lot with parallel parking on two sides and a two-way lane in the middle, you need (8′ + 22′ + 8′) = 38′  in order to be legal.  For Church, at Bazin’s, I estimate (Google Earth Pro) that the curb-to-curb width is 38.5′.

So, Church is a parking lot with a 25 MPH speed limit?  That sounds like a fairly accurate description.

I bring this up because, of course, if Church were just 32′ wide (like the future Wade Hampton), you couldn’t have parking on both sides, and meet the legal requirements that apply to parking lots in town.  In fact, if Church were just 32′ wide, and had a center stripe, centered in the roadway, you couldn’t have any parking at all that met the requirements that the Town applies to parking lots.  If it were 32′ wide, and had a stripe, you’d have to put the stripe off-center, and have parking on one side only.  You’d have to offset the center stripe — as with Park Center Street now — in order to have parking.

Otherwise, we seem to have every possible combination of width, striping, and parking in Vienna.

E.g, Plum Street:  25′ wide, unstriped, with roadside parking on both sides.

E.g. Beulah:  25′, center-striped, no roadside parking.

E.g., Cottage (away from the downtown area):   35′, center striped (though frequently disregarded), roadside parking both sides.

E.g., Park Center:  32′, asymmetric center stripe, parking on one side.

In short, the developer showed Wade Hampton striped like Park Center.  If the Town is going to claim no loss of parking, they are going to have to make most of it look like Plum instead.