Purcellville is one step closer to getting a new commuter parking lot.
Town Council on Nov. 14 approved Virginia Regional Transit’s year-and-a-half-old request to convert its parking lot off Hirst Road into a public commuter lot. The lot will be located on three parcels, totaling 2.8 acres, off Browning Court and Bailey Lane and will eventually provide 250 parking spaces. Loudoun Transit will operate the lot until the county builds a larger one near the planned Rt. 7/Rt. 690 interchange within the next few years.
VRT Corporate Attorney Mary Gayle Holden said construction needed to complete the project is minimal and will include restriping the lot, installing two pre-built bus waiting shelters, adding about 50 feet of sidewalk and planting a few trees.
Once operational, buses will enter the lot from Browning Court and exit on Bailey Lane before turning west on Hirst Road. They will not be allowed to park or queue on Bailey Lane. Cars will enter and exit on the Browning Court side.
According to VRT CEO Bruce Simms, the lot will take a portion of commuter traffic off Main Street, reducing congestion and making it easier for people to visit shops and businesses in town. The new lot will replace the current commuter parking operation at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church on Main Street.
“They will be totally over here in our lot,” he said. “It will be a very easy, more simple thing to do.”
Patrick Sullivan, the town’s community development director, said moving the lot would eliminate commuter bus traffic on Main Street by rerouting it to Hirst Road.
Of course, some residents feel the lot will increase traffic in other areas of town.
During the past few months, residents from the Country Club Hills neighborhood have addressed town council with concerns that the lot might make their cut-through traffic problems worse. While the debate between residents and VRT is ongoing, residents won’t have to deal with any cut-through traffic by the time the lot is done, since the town plans install removable barriers at the 33rd Street/Country Club Drive intersection next month.
Some neighboring business owners also raised concerns the new parking lot would increase congestion in front of their locations, but now some feel the project will help.
Mark Osborne, owner of Adroit Theory Brewing Company, said the lot could bring in more customers since commuters might want to stop in before heading home. “We’re very excited about it,” he said.
Next, VRT will meet with county representatives to develop a site plan. According to Eric Zicht, the lot’s engineer, the plan should take about two weeks to draft.
Sullivan said once VRT submits the plan, the town’s community development department will review and either approve or deny it.
According to Joe Kroboth, director of the county’s Transportation and Capital Infrastructure Department, moving forward depends on a grant from the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission. “My best guess in when [the lot] might be operational might be around the June or July timeframe,” he said.