Occoquan officials aim to put a cap on the amount of time you can park your car in one spot.
The Town Council is looking into a new timed parking program that would allow police to use an electronic handheld scanner to mark your tires’ position and then use the information to see whether the car had been moved in the past three hours.
When the three-hour time limit is up, the driver must move the car to a new space. If the car hasn’t been moved, police could ticket the driver.
The town is considering a three-hour time limit on the most sought-after parking spaces, including the ones on busyMill Street in front of the many shops and restaurants, and an eight-hour time limit on spaces outside the bustling shopping area. Police would enforce the timed parking rules between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., and newly installed signage would inform drivers of the imposed time limit.
The system could be in place by February.
In Loudoun County, Middleburg Town already uses a similar timed parking system, which is credited with “creating an atmosphere of movement” in the town that makes it a more inviting place for those who need to park and visit a shop.
“In my 32 years of law enforcement, I’ve never thought about parking as much as I do now,” Middleburg Police Chief A.J. Panebianco. “The system we have here works well.”
Middleburg has 150 timed parking spaces, and Panebianco’s officers wrote 33 tickets for parking violations last year. People usually start parking in town at about 7 a.m. but timed police enforcement doesn’t start until 10 a.m.
Panebianco says the timed parking system was not put in place to generate more parking ticket revenue for the town but, rather, was instituted to create a continuous movement of cars.
“I told the town council I would never try to make them money. That’s not what this is about,” Pinebiaco.
Before Middleburg adopted the timed parking system in 2017, the town instituted a parking study that identified the most in-demand parking spaces and the busiest times of the day when people try and park.
The timed system also prevents commuters from parking their car in the town, located on busy Route 50, and hoping to ride to their work in Northern Virginia or Washington, D.C., said Panebianco.
Middleburg spent about $11,000 on its timed parking system. The handheld scanner used to mark or electronically “chalk” someone’s tires fits onto an officer’s belt and includes a printer to produce a paper ticket on the spot.
Middleburg police have also issued tickets for double-parked cars, safety equipment violations, dead license plates, and issued warnings to drivers that don’t result in a fine.