By Jim Larocco, Alexandria (File photo)
To the editor:
As a resident of Old Town, the annual King Street Art Festival was indeed a resounding success where everyone clearly had a good time. But, as with all events like this, it drew a massive influx of visitors, many of whom searched frantically for parking spaces. Their frustration was shared by many of us, who dared not leave spaces open for fear of losing them.
In reflecting on this, I simply have to ask why Alexandria does not have an arrangement with the National Park Service to utilize the parking under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge for special events. I and many others watched as that project was carried out, and were delighted to see hundreds of parking places constructed. We were equally disappointed when we discovered that none of them are ever available. Why were they built if not to be used?
While city council wrings its hands over parking but repeatedly approves exceptions for new buildings, and our various civic activists complain at higher and higher decibels but do nothing how about it, how about a refreshing partnership between both sides to advocate for parking under the bridge, at least every time there are special events like the art festival, parades, festivals and the like that bring in unusually large numbers of visitors?
Police and volunteers have to be deployed in any case, so if the park service does not want to use its own personnel to ensure everyone vacates the parking area in a timely fashion, event organizers can offer to take on that task. It’s time for less hand wringing and more creative thinking.