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Occoquan is counting cars and cut-throughs

Occoquan, Virginia

OCCOQUAN — Tourists flock to the tiny town of Occoquan just off Interstate 95 for the shops, restaurants, water views of the river, and special events in the town’s new River Mill Park.

All this has made for a tough time for drivers searching for a parking space.

And, because the town is sandwiched in between two commuter thoroughfares — Route 123 and Old Bridge Road — the town is a regular cut through for afternoon drivers looking to avoid the lines.

A new parking and traffic study now underway aims to identify how to increase the amount of parking for visitors, and how to curb those cars that are just passing through.

“The town is booming,” said Occoquan City Council member Cindy Fithian, who has spent the last two weekends with town mayor Liz Quist and the town manager Kirstyn Jovanovich counting cars for the study.

“We’re looking to find out how many cars are in town at any given time, and for how long they’re there,” said Jovanovich.

They’re counting cars from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and during special events held at River Mill Park on a Saturday from 3 to 7 p.m.

They’re also watching the cars that turn into the town after crossing the Occoquan River bridge, cut through the small village, and then head up Tanyard Hill Road to connect to Old Bridge Road.

The data collection period for the parking and traffic study should be complete soon. A draft report with recommendations on how to fix the parking problems and traffic cut-through issues is due in October.

The town council must weigh the cost of the proposed improvements and their impact on the fiscal 2019 town budget that will be approved in spring, said Jovanovich.

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