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.