Town of Herndon continues discussion to double down on parking

Vehicle on street (Via Town of Herndon)

Herndon Town Council again examined the issue of parking restrictions as big box trucks and other vehicles have found a haven for street parking between neighboring Fairfax and Loudoun counties in the area.

While neighboring jurisdictions have more restrictions on parking, Herndon’s lax rules have meant vehicles block areas, are abandoned on streets and interfere with drivers’ visibility, according to town officials.

“Herndon has become a place where people can park these vehicles all through our residential areas without any restrictions,” police Chief Maggie DeBoard said.

Last week, the town passed an ordinance to require permits to park overnight on a portion of Madison Street, following a petition from residents.

But while the town has been exploring town-wide parking issues since 2019 and DeBoard presented on the issue last year and this year, efforts have continued to stall.

Council brought up the issue yesterday (Tuesday) during a work session, leading multiple council members to ask if staff could determine what kind of impact a proposed ordinance would have on parking.

Vice Mayor Cesar del Aguila said it was unclear to him what kind of impact restricting vehicles from 5 feet or 10 feet from a driveway would have. He suggested that the town further look into what would happen in Precinct 2 neighborhoods (an area that spans from Rock Hill Road to Elden Street west of the downtown) where there are dense cul-de-sacs. 

“I think this is definitely needed,”  del Aguila said, adding that he was not saying that he doesn’t support this.

A proposed ordinance would have to go before the council at a regular meeting, but its future was unclear. The staff’s proposal called for:

  • restricting vehicles from parking within 10 feet of a driveway
  • banning various vehicles — such as those weighing more than 12,000 pounds or being longer than 21 feet — from parking in residential areas for more than two hours at a time
  • restricting recreational vehicles from temporarily parking longer than 72 hours on a residential street
  • strengthening the town’s ability to remove abandoned vehicles from streets
  • giving the town the ability to fine motorists who block curb ramps

DeBoard said that parking near driveways can create safety issues, and some homeowners are moving vehicles from driveways or garages to the streets to try to address access or visibility issues, further exacerbating the problem.

She also noted that parking enforcement’s mission is to first educate drivers before fining them.

But amid the work session, Mayor Sheila Olem, who has previously shared concerns about parking problems, halted the discussion after directing Councilmember Jasbinder Singh to ask a question as opposed to giving lengthy opinions on the matter.

Singh had suggested piloting the change in one area of the town, prompting town officials to note they couldn’t single out one area with a law but must apply it uniformly.

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