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Parking in the mews

Please, please obey the "no parking in the mews" rules

The author of this article parked his car in the mews only long enough to take these photos to illustrate the piece.

Parking in our many mews is one of those issues that comes up on a regular basis. Parking is not generally permitted in the mews for a variety of reasons and the rule against it can be enforced by the Board on Code Compliance (BoCC). Despite the clarity of our rules, however, some folks continue to believe that prohibited parking is “ok” as long as it only affects them.

One of those “but it’s ok” arguments revolves around garage aprons and boils down to “it’s my car and my garage so it’s on my property” as illustrated by this lovely 1990 Miata (which belongs to the author and was parked in front of a neighbor’s garage for a period of about one minute for the sole purpose of taking this picture). The problem with this argument is that the mews right of way — that is to say, the strip of land on which the mews sits — is 26 feet wide. In almost all cases, the garage apron is on that right of way and, therefore, on Kentlands Citizens Assembly (KCA) property.

There is, however, a more important issue that is well illustrated by this particular location because it is at a place where the mews makes the first of two sharp turns. While those turns are easy in a Miata and no particular problem in a full size sedan, they are difficult indeed for a larger vehicle … such as a fire truck or even a larger ambulance.

This same problem crops up when a car, such as this really fine 1996 Lexus (which belongs to the author and was parked in front of the author’s house for a period of about one minute for the sole purpose of taking this picture), is parked “with enough room for other cars to get by.” Yes, a Miata can get by with ease and a full-size car might even be able to avoid driving on the adjacent lawn, but a larger vehicle …

It is exactly that kind of concern, emergency vehicle access, that recently led to a sudden change in the legal parking available in an Arlington, Virginia neighborhood according to the Washington Post. It can happen here because parking in our mews seems to be becoming more common and if it becomes common enough or if an emergency vehicle is blocked, BoCC action is almost inevitable.

Please, please obey the “no parking in the mews” rules that we have in place. No one on the Board of Trustees or the BoCC wants to begin an enforcement campaign.

All of this is not to imply there are no exceptions. Parking briefly* in the mews for the purpose of loading and unloading, as is the case with this SUV, is ok because it’s for a very short period of time and the driver is nearby in the event the car must be moved in an emergency.

And, finally, the last exception. There are very few locations where that driveway apron actually IS on the homeowner’s property as is the case with this car parked quite properly off the Alfandre Mews right of way. The faded white line on the pavement shows just how far the homeowner’s property extends.

*Definitions: No Parking means the vehicle must not be left unattended, no matter how briefly but it is ok to pull over temporarily to load or unload. No Standing means only the BRIEFEST STOP, such as to drop off or pick up passengers with the driver’s foot on the brake; putting the car in “park” means the stop is taking too long. No Stopping is the tightest restriction because it means just what it says: KEEP MOVING at all times other than a true emergency or as directed by a police officer.

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