WASHINGTON — A six-level commuter parking garage with space for farmers markets, outdoor movies, commuter buses and slugging is moving forward in the heart of Springfield, Virginia.
Design plans approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors last week call for 1,100 parking spaces in the new Springfield Community Business Center commuter parking garage that will sit on what is today a 2.7 acre surface parking lot behind a Sunoco gas station.
“This is a big deal. It’s been in the works for a lot of years and accomplishes so many things,” said Supervisor Jeff McKay who represents the area.
The garage at Old Keene Mill Road and Springfield Boulevard was first seriously proposed in 2006, and was recommended again in 2013. Fairfax County plans to start construction in fall 2019, with the garage opening in early 2022.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for a multiuse building that will serve folks who are commuting and parking for shopping, but also for events and for activities that are happening within this area,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova said.
The rooftop will include a 5,000-square-foot community event area with tables, chairs and artificial turf that could host exercise classes or outdoor movie or sports screenings. The bottom level will include an area marked by different color pavement that could be used for farmers markets or other event rentals on weekends, but serve as short-term parking on weekdays. The events and individual space reservations are expected to be coordinated by the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce and the Fairfax County Park Authority.
“But most importantly, it will facilitate the slug operations along the 95 corridor. It will provide enormous enhancement of capacity, which right now you can’t find enough parking in central Springfield,” McKay said.
The county planning commission still needs to hold a public hearing and approve final plans, which also include bus bays, a kiss and ride, bike storage and a slugging (carpool) area.
A 200-foot-long pedestrian bridge over Old Keene Mill Road will connect the garage to Springfield Plaza and bus stops on the other side of the street.
The federal government will fund $57.1 million of the $63.8 million project, and an additional $6.7 million is expected to come from Fairfax County.
Building one large garage is intended to consolidate several small commuter parking lots in the area, and serve as an additional push toward more carpooling and bus use that could cut down on traffic.
In addition to the garage work, the county plans to add some additional turn lanes and tweak traffic signal timing in the area when the lot opens.
During construction, the county plans to identify alternative commuter parking spaces in the area for drivers who typically use the existing surface lot today.