Congress is set to pass legislation today that chastises the Army and imposes restrictions to cap parking at the controversial Mark Center property in Alexandria at 2,000 spaces.
The announcement was made today by U.S. Reps. (D-8), (D-11) and Virginia Sen. (D) at the U.S. Capitol.
Language in the Department of Defense and the Military Construction Appropriations Acts will allow 2,000 parking spaces at the Washington Headquarters Services facility for more than 6,000 federal employees. It will also require the DoD to complete an "accurate" transportation study of the area, revise their Transportation Management Plan and comply with the recommendations of a damning report released last month by the U.S. Army Inspector General.
"This is a step forward," said Warner, adding that a crucial flyover ramp from HOV traffic will take two-to-four years to finish. "But, I don't want to leave people with the sense that there's not going to be congestion."
WHS at Mark Center has 3,800 parking spaces, and the property is three miles from the nearest Metro station. The parking cap can only be lifted after the DoD has proven that none of the intersections around the Mark Center area experience failing levels of service for a period of three months.
"In reality, it's nearly impossible to not have a failing level of service at those intersections—not for 90 straight days," Moran said. "The reality is that this parking cap goes into effect immediately and it's not going to be broken until the infrastructure is in place, or the Pentagon is going to have to figure out another way to get their people there or not use approximately half of the building."
Connolly said that the Army did not recognize the concerns of local officials. "They consciously dismissed, as barely a tertiary concern, our traffic concerns. This is the second worst congestion in America," he said.
Last month, the released its second report on the Mark Center property. The report detailed how the Army's analyses of Mark Center was flawed.
"Traffic counts were conducted around national holidays and while schools were not in session, which could have resulted in peak hour traffic volumes of up to 35 percent less than average peak hour volumes," the report said.
The IG report also found that Army failed to account for the relocation of defense contractors, "who account for 31 percent of the 6,809 employees."
"This is exactly what we wanted," said Moran. "The next time they'll think twice before building a building before having the transportation infrastructure in place and the traffic mitigation measures approved."