On September 15, 2020, the Planning Commission presented the Town Council with a proposal for the establishment of a timed parking program covering what is colloquially referred to as Occoquan’s historic and business districts. At its October 6, 2020 meeting, the Town Council instructed staff to proceed with the necessary steps to implement such a program sometime in early 2021. On January 5, 2021, Town Council formally approved a plan to establish a Timed Parking District. View the plan here.
The intent of the Timed Parking District is to increase the availability of on-street parking spaces, reduce the practice of long-term parking in the district, and reduce non-patron use of prime business parking during peak business hours within the district. The District will designate 4-hour and 8-hour timed parking spots, as well as up to eight 20-minute spots.
The Timed Parking District is planned to go into effect by March 1, with education, signage installation and launch of the residential permit program occurring throughout the implementation phase. As we develop and implement the program, updated information will be provided on this webpage and through our normal communication channels.
A list of Frequently Asked Questions is available below, as well as links to other program documents. If you do not see your question listed below and have other questions, please contact Town Manager Kirstyn Jovanovich at (703) 491-1918.
Timed Parking District FAQs
1. What is the catalyst for a timed-parking program?
For more than two decades business owners, residents, and visitors have expressed frustration with the parking situation in Occoquan’s historic and business districts and urged the Town government to take action to remedy the situation. While some of these complaints could be partially addressed with the construction of additional parking (e.g. a public parking garage), many of the complaints concern non-resident vehicles being unnecessarily parked all day or longer-term on the street in front of businesses and residences. These include vehicles that belong to non-resident commuters who park on Town streets or in Town lots and then join others commuting elsewhere.
In November 2017 the Town received the results of a parking study it had commissioned. The study did not recommend that timed-parking be implemented at that time. It did indicate, however, that timed-parking “could be a consideration in the future based on customer/employee behaviors, particularly along dense commercial streets or near the Post Office to enhance turnover for customers.” Since that time frustration about parking has continued largely unabated. Soon after the receipt of the study the Occoquan Planning Commission began analyzing the report and studying the changing commercial, residential, and traffic patterns in Town. After more than two years of work, the Planning Commission recommended a time-parking program as part of a larger parking management initiative.
 JMT, “Town of Occoquan, Virginia Parking Study,” Nov. 2017, p. 17.
2. What is the plan for educating the community about the proposal?
All the discussions of the Planning Commission and Town Council regarding a timed-parking program have been held in open session. Since October the Town has been reviewing the details of the proposal with members of the community, particularly with the leaders of the Occoquan Merchants Guild. Although individual members of the business community were periodically consulted on the concept of timed-parking, the Occoquan Merchants Guild was not directly involved in the drafting of the initial program. The Town has been and will continue to disseminate information through the usual channels (e.g. hard-copy newsletters and email communications). This set of FAQ is part of that outreach.
3. When would a timed-parking program go into effect?
The tentative start date of the program is February 1, 2021. For the first several weeks warnings would be issued to violators and any bugs in the system would be addressed. Full implementation would be expected starting March 1, 2021. Between now and then the Town is concentrating on educating the public about the proposal, working through a variety of details, and making adjustments to the proposed program as necessary.
4. What are the basic parameters of the proposed timed-parking program?
The proposed program establishes de facto parking zones in the historic and business district. During the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. vehicles can park in these zones only for a limited time. Outside of those hours parking is not restricted.
Most of the public lots in Town would be designated as 8-hour zones. Most street parking in the historic and business district would be designated as 4-hour zones. There would be a limited number of 20-minute spaces designed for those who are making quick pickups.
5. How would the time limits be enforced?
Town police will be using what is essentially an electronic-chalking software system to monitor compliance. Those who exceed the time limitations would be fined.
6. Why 8-hour limits in lots?
The designation of 8-hour lots is to accommodate those who need to or plan to be in Town most of a particular day (e.g. business owners and employees, longer-term customers, etc.). By limiting lot duration to 8-hours the program discourages the use of these lots for long-term parking of additional excess vehicles, whether residential, business, or commuter.
7. What if I work in Town longer than an 8-hour shift that falls between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.?
Town Police have flexibility in enforcement, and as a practical matter in most situations are unlikely to begin recording enforcement information until late morning (since there is rarely a parking problem before then). If you are in a situation, however, where you work longer than an 8-hour shift that falls between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. please discuss with the Town police; accommodation of such circumstances will be considered.
8. Why 4-hour limits on streets?
The November 2017 parking study showed that almost 80% of the vehicles parked on the street in the subject area did so for 3 hours or less (it was higher than 85% on weekends). Of the remainder, however, more parked in excess of 8+ hours than any other time frame. After discussions with officials in Middleburg, who have implemented a timed-parking program, the Planning Commission/Town Council concluded that a 3-hour time limit on the streets would adequately meet the needs of the vast majority of customers and visitors, while freeing up additional convenient parking for such users by allocating employees and longer-term visitors to the 8-hour lots. After requests from the community to extend the limit to 4 hours, the Town Council determined that implementing a 4-hour limit (instead of 3) would adequately meet the goals of the program with only a marginal potential impact on its effectiveness.
 JMT, “Town of Occoquan, Virginia Parking Study,” Nov. 2017, p. 11.
9. Will there be sufficient parking in the 8-hour lots for those who wish or need to park for longer than 3 hours?
Information to date indicates that there is more than sufficient parking in the 8-hour lots to accommodate business employees and longer-term visitors, even without the removal of vehicles that will no longer be able to park in the lots for extended, multi-day periods of time.
10. What if I live in the historic or business district and do not have off-street parking?
Individuals who live in the historic or business district and do not have off-street parking available to them will be given free unlimited parking permits for all vehicles they own that are decaled in Town. Individuals will have to certify on a government form that they do not have off-street parking available to them.
11. What if someone is visiting me for a few days and I do not have onsite parking for them?
The Town will make available to Town residents free visitor parking permits valid for 48 hours.
12. I run a bnb. How will my customers park in Town?
Registered bnb owners who are current on their transient occupancy taxes will be able to purchase day permits for their customers.
13. Is it possible for business owners to get permits to park on the street?
A few business owners have asked if this would be possible. Making such exceptions, however, would largely defeat one of the main goals of the program, which is to encourage longer-term parking in the public lots, freeing up street spaces for residents and visitors who are spending a limited amount of time shopping or dining in the historic business district.
14. What about snow days, special events, and other circumstances where parking availability is likely to be affected?
The Town will make broad exceptions to the timed parking restrictions in such circumstances and disseminate information on those exceptions through the usual channels.
15. Instead of addressing the parking situation with a timed-parking program, could the Town not simply force people who work in Town to park in the lots instead of on the street?
This is an oft-asked question. The short answer is “no.” Both from a legal and a practical perspective, this is not feasible outside of a more comprehensive timed-parking program like the one under consideration.
16. Why not implement a paid parking program?
A paid parking program was considered. The goal of the parking analysis, however, was not to generate revenue for the Town, but rather to address the parking frustration of businesses, residents, and visitors. Timed-parking appears capable of addressing the relevant issues without making it more expensive for people to park in Occoquan.