Mark Center parking to be limited


Parking spaces at the Mark Center will now be limited to 1,000 vehicles until building improvements are made.

Congressman Jim Moran announced Thursday that the parking limitations were passed in an amendment to the fiscal year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act passed. The bill was passed by a vote of 322-96.

"This parking cap is critical to prevent a traffic nightmare that will be caused by full occupation of the Mark Center the fall," said Rep. Moran. "The alternative is unendurable delays on already overcrowded roads."

An estimated 6,400 Pentagon employees are ultimately expected to move to the Mark Center on Seminary Road, just feet from I-395 in Alexandria. Many residents have come out against the move, saying it will create a traffic nightmare.

"They got to make some new routes,” said Alexandria resident Sulaiman Stanikzai. “It’s difficult to go to work."

The amendment allows for a one-year delay to seven BRAC sites, which haven't yet been chosen. Moran is advocating for the Mark Center site to among them. He said the additional funding would be used to widen some of the ramps and adjust traffic lights.

If not delayed, the move is scheduled to take place in September. A report from the Pentagon's inspector general stated that the Army used faulty data to estimate the impact that moving thousands of defense workers to the Mark Center.

Officials and residents, too, say the area isn’t ready for an increase in traffic. “It's a nightmare,” said Alexandria resident Sharon Bretzfield. “I commute to Tyson's Corner and it takes almost an hour some days.”

Earlier reports from the Department of Defense Inspector General and Virginia Department of Transportation predicted gridlock around the site if transportation enhancements aren’t completed.

“They already know there's a problem here. The people that live here know there's a problem here. And to dump this on us now is ridiculous,” said Alexandria resident Adrian Vega.

The National Defense Authorization Act, of which the BRAC amendment is a part, will now move to the Senate for consideration.