Neighborhood May Get Parking Permits To Keep Walter Reed Employees Out
A Bethesda neighborhood bordering the Walter Reed Military Medical Center might get residential parking permits from Montgomery County, a move that would curtail base employees from parking there. The county's Department of Transportation will hold a public hearing on Sept. 25 in Rockville about the possibility, part of the lengthy process for deeming a neighborhood a residential parking permit-only area. Some members of the Parkview Neighborhood Association, which covers the area along Cedar Lane and Parkhill Drive just north of the base, have long wanted residential parking permits because of what they say is overflow parking from hospital and military employees. But getting Montgomery County to establish a residential parking permit program isn't easy. The law, in effect since 1974, was meant to provide parking relief for residents whose neighborhoods are close to public facilities, especially Metro stations. Residents or a civic association must submit a written request to the Department of Transportation that includes a petition with signatures from at least two-thirds of the houses on each block that wants the permit parking. MCDOT then evaluates the request, establishes the border of the area and sets up a public hearing after getting a $250 public hearing fee from the civic association. The county executive then issues a written decision in a proces that can last a year. Last year, the Parkview Neighborhood Association asked the county for a solution. "Sadly, the growth of the Naval Hospital and incorporation of Walter Reed patients, medical staff and visitors has led to a parking nightmare in our neighborhood," Marc Minsker wrote to county officials. "Every morning dozens and dozens of people park their cars on our streets and walk the 0.5 miles to Walter Reed or [the National Institutes of Health]." The permits cost $35 per car every two years and Minsker told the Washington Examiner that some in the neighborhood aren't interested in the program because they rent their properties. In January, base officials said interim medical buildings may be built on a base parking lot during the planned redevelopment of older buildings in the Walter Reed campus’ core.