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New Loading Zone Complicates Busy Block

New zone in the 2300 block of Mt. Vernon Avenue is enforced from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

A new 12-hour loading zone was recently installed on the north corner of the 2300 block of Mt. Vernon Avenue, though it appears many are choosing to ignore it.

The loading zone is enforced from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. The zone runs from the entrance of 2312 Mt. Vernon Avenue (where the office is located) to the corner of E. Oxford Avenue and the yet-to-be opened restaurant.

The loading zone was required in the permits for the Pork Barrel BBQ complex, which will also include a sushi bar called Dragon and a fast-casual Asian-fusion spot called Chop Chop.

Other businesses in the busy 2300 block of Mt. Vernon Avenue use the loading zone for deliveries, including and the .

Initially, the loading zone was to be enforced from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday, but the UPS Store requested expanded hours for its deliveries during an Alexandria Traffic and Parking Board meeting this fall.

In a message on a Del Ray listserv, Pork Barrel BBQ’s Mike Anderson said the loading zone can be used for picking up to-go orders on the block. Many drivers have grown used to parking in the loading zone area to grab a cup of joe at St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub.

“Having somebody stop in the loading zone for even a minute is enough to prevent deliveries from being made at all,” Liz Davis of The Dairy Godmother said. “Having a car there at all negates the zone.”

Davis said trucks making deliveries to her custard shop have not been able to use the zone since it was established because it is always filled with parked cars.

Around 1 p.m. Thursday, a delivery truck was forced to double-park in front of St. Elmo’s because the loading zone was full of vehicles. The double-parked truck caused traffic to stop in the southbound lane on Mt. Vernon Avenue.

The loading zone measures roughly 48 feet, which is equal to about three car lengths.

While the loss of three regular parking spaces on a busy block might be somewhat of an inconvenience, the parking lot behind the Pork Barrel BBQ building will have 27 parking spaces during the evening and 17 available spaces for lunch service. 

The city's Department of Transportation and Environmental Services is expected to release the final draft of a parking study of all of Del Ray this month. The report will be followed by a series of communities meetings. The implementation of recommendations from the parking study is expected in the first quarter of 2012.

The city has already implemented some sort-term measures from the plan, inlcuding the removal of a taxi stand.

The fine for parking in a loading zone in Alexandria is $40.

Liz Davis November 18, 2011 at 07:54 PM
I saw Parking enforcement give two tickets today.
linda hubbard November 20, 2011 at 07:03 PM
Drew: just a little history to the story if you please: There was never parking in front of that block. No one really has lost any parking. In fact we have gained. Before your time, 2312 was a rundown little gas station with no parking at all in front of it. There were 2 entrances from Mt Vernon Avenue to get into and out of the gas station. In between the two entrances was a no parking zone just long enough for a UPS truck, a USPS truck, a Wells Fargo armored car, etc to park there for 10 minutes to load/unload. Our drivers used that space for that purpose, safely, and without blocking traffic on Mt Vernon Avenue. Since that time, as soon as the gas station was torn down and construction begun for the restaurants, people have parked in front of 2312. Initially it was still no parking and I myself have gotten many a parking ticket during that time. Then, one day, it was parking. People have short memories, especially when it comes to parking. For the last two years I have witnessed bad behavior and dangerous driving on Mt Vernon Avenue whenever a truck has had to load/unload anything for a business on Mt Vernon Avenue on our block. I have witnessed yelling and screaming and swerving and abusive behavior and abusive language directed at our drivers, Liz's delivery driver, etc. I have watched a patron yell at my driver that his frozen treat was melting because his car was temporarily blocked by a truck for 5 minutes at 6:30 in the evening. Loading zone? good idea
Drew Hansen (Editor) November 20, 2011 at 08:16 PM
Thanks for the backstory, Linda. I remember the gas station. I visited Del Ray many, many times before moving to the neighborhood. People couldn't park there because of the curb cuts. I was only writing to inform people that a loading zone does now exist. In speaking with Liz and others, it came to my attention that many were ignoring the zone or didn't realize it had recently been installed. I just wanted to inform readers that it is now there and being enforced. As Liz wrote above, tickets were handed out late last week.
Joseph M. November 30, 2012 at 07:51 PM
How has the loading zone worked out over the past year? I infrequently drive down Mt. Vernon at 6:30pm, but on one or two occasions I noticed that the loading zone was full of parked cars and the UPS truck was blocking the through-lane on Mt. Vernon Avenue.

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