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Residents Push For Parking Restrictions On Bradley

Long-term parkers are causing traffic hazards along the Bethesda thoroughfare, neighbors argue, but the State Highway Administration says it's safe to park there.

It started off as just a few cars here and there. But in recent months, the number of people parking during the day along Bradley Boulevard west of Glenbrook Road has increased dramatically, neighbors say. And despite a push by residents, the Maryland State Highway Administration says it won’t post parking restrictions there.

Closer to downtown Bethesda on Bradley, parking is restricted to two hours. But just a short walk away, there’s unrestricted parking in the shoulders of the Bethesda thoroughfare.

“I think the word has gotten around – hey, if you want free parking, it’s just a ten minute walk away,” said John Wetmore, who lives along Bradley.

Neighbors attribute the increase in long-term parkers to commuters– those seeking a place to leave their cars for free as they head to the Metro to go to work in the morning - or employees who work at downtown Bethesda businesses.

On county roads in the area, neighbors are looking into restricting parking to two hours to try to limit long-term parking there, Wetmore said. But on Bradley – a state road – it’s a different story. Parking restrictions are under the purview of the Maryland State Highway Administration, not the county.

This summer, the Edgemoor Citizens Association and the Bradley Hills Civic Association wrote to county Councilman Roger Berliner (D-Dist. 1) advocating for parking restrictions along Bradley west of Glenbrook. According to a letter from Bradley Hills:

Commuters who utilize the Bethesda Metro station have found an unregulated opportunity to park all day on the outbound shoulder of Bradley between Glenbrook Road and Barrett Lane. These all-day parkers have created a traffic hazard as outbound traffic tries to merge into a single lane at Glenbrook Road. These parkers also regularly intrude into the RideOn bus zones. All-day parking has now spilled over into Barrett Lane, restricting residential access on that street. Finally, the unregulated parking opportunity has attracted commercial vehicles, which park on Bradley as re-supply depots for smaller trucks on service calls in the Bethesda area.

The topic came up at a recent District One forum hosted by Berliner, who has contacted the state about the ongoing issue.

“My belief is because it’s a state road, we do not have authority with respect to this matter,” he told concerned constituents.

According to SHA, there aren’t currently plans to restrict parking to two hours in the area because it’s safe to park in the shoulders in that section of Bradley. David Buck, an SHA spokesman, said the agency has looked into the issue and is planning to trim trees that may be obscuring signage indicating that it’s illegal to park within 30 feet of an intersection.

Restricting parking may also harm residents or visitors along with commuter parkers, Buck said, though, “It’s a hike to the Bethesda Metro from there.”

What do you think about the long-term parking issue on Bradley? Should the State Highway Administration restrict parking to two hours? Tell us in the comments.

Brandy Jaffee November 21, 2011 at 06:55 PM
Passed by there earlier today and it seemed perfectly safe to park there and not an intrusion for anyone. If the issue is that the County isn't getting money for parking, then they should put up long term meters. We really need as much long term parking as possible in Bethesda. Two hours isn't enough time to park there for shopping, dining, etc. in downtown Bethesda. I hope it does not turn into a no-parking zone.
Elizabeth W Tordella November 22, 2011 at 01:27 AM
I think the folks who are parking are construction folks. Where can they park? Don't want to discourage working people from accessing their work sites. There is new construction, revitalization construction, and utility construction going on. Eliminating parking may mean that these activities, essential to our community, will be seriously hampered. Let's get a life here. We are not the chosen few and those who work among us are not the untouchables. We need to let workers park somewhere and there is no parking facility within walking distance of Bradley between Arlington Rd and Goldsboro . There are far too many parking restrictions and road access limitations in this area. I live here and have to travel on Arlington Rd when I should be able to negotiate the local streets to get where I have to go but the time restrictions prevent this.
Corbin Dallas Multipass November 22, 2011 at 04:36 AM
Sweet, thanks for the free parking tip!
Darren Thompson November 22, 2011 at 01:20 PM
"chosen few", give me a break. This is not a general issue of entitlement but one of safety. With the extreme curvature of Bradley near the busy intersection with Glenbrook and Goldsboro it is virtually impossible to see oncoming traffic when turning out of Barrett with cars parked 30 ft from intersection. Don't believe me? Try it yourself before commenting. Does a car hitting you broadside at 40 mph with your two kids in the car get your attention? The state official commenting on the subject needs to observe the situation first-hand.

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