College Park Council unanimously approves parking restrictions on Beechwood Road

College Park City Hall on Nov. 1, 2019. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

The College Park City Council voted unanimously to implement permit-restricted parking on the 4500 and 4600 blocks of Beechwood Road during a meeting Tuesday night.

The restrictions will be the same as in surrounding areas: enforcement from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, with a two-hour allowance for non-permit holders. Sandwiched between Route 1 and Rhode Island Avenue, Beechwood Road is the only street in Calvert Hills — with the exception of Albion Road — without permanent restrictions, said Parking Enforcement Manager Jim Miller. 

Residents will receive up to five parking permits per household to register their vehicles, as well as two free guest passes. 

Many residents said that non-residents were parking on Beechwood Road for an extended period of time and negatively affecting their street, Miller said. A resident of Beechwood Road, Jennifer Cibor, said she has witnessed a large number of construction workers taking up parking space on a daily basis, pushing residents out of parking on their own block. 

“Construction parking has turned our neighborhood street into a parking lot, and has created hazardous, ever-changing parking and driving conditions,” Cibor said. 

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Cibor’s husband Steven had other concerns with the construction parking. In the evenings, he said there are often 30 to 40 construction workers gathering outside of his home for as long as 45 minutes to chat. For him, it’s a matter of safety, not just parking. 

“They take pictures of our house, they walk up and down the street. And to me, that’s a major concern,” Steven Cibor said. 

The construction is likely coming from Bozzuto, a real estate developer building more apartments on Baltimore Avenue and Guilford Road, said District 3 Councilman John Rigg. 

As the project progresses, the number of workers has increased, Rigg said. The site has parking accommodation, he said, and that was simple when only site preparation workers were needed. As more workers came in, parking capacity decreased and workers needed somewhere else to park. So, they moved to residential streets. 

“We, as a council, might want to consider engaging in a more sort of proactive discussion with developers about where they would propose that their workers park,” Rigg said. 

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The council considered looking into the option of renting out city garage spaces for workers, which they are doing for the people working on the new City Hall project. Although these garages are usually full, the COVID-19 pandemic means some are being utilized less.

Student Liaison to the City Council Adam Rosenbaum spoke in support of the parking restrictions. He also offered the idea of the University of Maryland renting out its own empty garage spaces, since there are far fewer students on the school’s campus than usual. 

Miller said that with projects of this scale, the developers often try to finish the parking garage first so that workers can move off of residential streets and park there. But with new construction projects getting ready to break ground shortly, such as the Standard by Terrapin Row, he believes this issue will come up again soon. 

City staff will look into different options to combat this problem, said Mayor Patrick Wojahn. 

“I do understand the amount of construction that we have going on and it will be challenging to accommodate all that, but [it’s] only a temporary thing fortunately,” Wojahn said.

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