Prince William County is seeking feedback on its first planned commuter garage, expected to bring 1,414 parking spaces to a site off Opitz Boulevard near Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center and Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center.

The $37.2 million garage is expected to be completed by April 2023. It was approved by the Board of County Supervisors earlier this year after a lengthy search for sites in the Interstate 95 corridor. 

The county is holding a public information meeting about the garage on Dec. 11 from 6-9 p.m. at Freedom High School, 15201 Neabsco Mills Road, said Dagmawie Shikurye, project manager for the Neabsco commuter garage

“The intent of this public information meeting is to engage our residents in information sharing and discussion,” Shikurye said. “We wanted to do it as early as we can to increase awareness on the commuter parking garage project, and to use it as a starting point to hear our residents’ opinions and utilize the outcome as an input to refine our design concept as we move forward.” 

The county will be seeking firms to build the garage early next year, with plans to award a contract in December 2020. At that point, the county will hold another public hearing to seek further input.

In April, the county used $5.5 million in funding from county coffers and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority to buy the 17.68-acre site at 2501 Opitz Blvd. If the county doesn’t build the parking garage within 10 years, former ownersJBG has the option to buy the land back.

The county is administering the construction project, which is funded by the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The parking garage will have seven stories, elevators and a system that shows drivers how many spaces are open on each floor, according to county staff. 

The county had previously considered the site for a parking garage paired with a new Potomac Nationals stadium. The baseball team’s owners eventually abandoned talks with the county in 2018 and are building a new stadium in Fredericksburg.

Access to I-95 South from the garage will improve with a new 95 Express Lanes ramp planned at Opitz Boulevard. Part of a larger regional deal between the Virginia Department of Transportation and private firm Transurban, the ramp will provide more direct access to Potomac Mills and Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center.

The county will also build sidewalks along Opitz Boulevard to connect U.S. 1 to Potomac Center Boulevard at the garage site so pedestrians can access commuting options at the garage.

The parking garage is intended to alleviate capacity problems at the Horner Road commuter lot and the lot at the corner of U.S. 1 and Dumfries Road.

OmniRide, which offers bus service for commuters, notes in its 2018 single-day count of vehicles at the Horner Road lot, there were 2,570 vehicles at the lot, compared to its official capacity of 2,328, said spokeswoman Christine Rodrigo. The Dumfries Road lot had 943 vehicles parked compared to its official capacity of 875.

Bob Schneider, OmniRide’s executive director, previously said OmniRide will provide bus service to the garage, and will calculate demand based on the number of parking spaces.

Van pools and slugging — an informal method of carpooling to ride the Express Lanes for free — will also be options at the garage, Schneider said.

(5) comments

icrazyhorse

This is a bad, low lying site.I will create a monumental traffic bottleneck. It will be a 'white elephant' that few commuters will use.

insidebugging

A Southbound ramp is only going to help Stafford residents who are going to pouch parking spots from Prince William residents .

WoodbridgeRobert

While I can see that this location for a commuter facility would be a great complement to existing parking lots, I would have a lot of questions for county planners. One question is whether parking will be free, as it is at the commuter lots. Another question relates to slugging versus bus riding. Slugging is free of course, while buses are pretty expensive unless one has a subsidy at work. Finally, it has historically been difficult to establish new slug locations. No drivers want to wait when there are no slugs in line and vice versa. Can someone tell us what percent of the people using Horner Road lot are slugs versus bus people?

The answer to your question about bus versus slugs varies by day of the week, month or the year, and weather/temperature, both leaving and returning.

Reg8667

It’s late. The county (or counties) should be doing every damn thing they can. Traffic is horrible. It’s not going to improve. This can’t hurt but I wouldn’t expect to any noticeable improvement. The only thing that will work is a regional telework program. Getting people off the road.

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