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I was putting together a presentation and needed an image of a rail transit parking garage.  So I went to what I know.

The North Parking garage at the Vienna/Fairfax Station at the end of WMATA’s Orange line is pleasingly rectangular, and most usably, closest to the walk bridge across I-66.  Bing Maps has long provided a nice feature: oblique maps form four cardinal directions.  These are useful for understanding the massing and facade of buildings better than mere overhead or street view shots.

So, here it is.


This 9 AM summer shot is hilarious.

The 2,000 space garage is obviously full.  Beyond full, as we can see from the couple of crd packed in the striped areas at the corners of the parking garage.  As this is a garbage off a traffic exit for mode switching, the number of transit passengers deliver daily by this garage is not much above 2,000, or the capacity of two Metro trains.  I don’t know how many families can agree on a commute into the city, a time to do it and a return time back, but I suspect it’s not that many.

The two cars circling the lanes are not going to find a space, as we can see.   There are probably two more like them on the levels below, spiraling hopelessly to the top.  Note the SUV at the lower left entering the garage, in the hopes there ill be a space for its berth.  There will not, as we can see.

However, they will find is that a certain block of reserved spaces opens at 10 AM, and can hold a few dozen desperate cars long after their work shifts began, in a pinch.  Its a clever overflow, but the fact is that most of these cars are just being stored for the day.  Once the garage is full, it is full.  The only way transit passenger can reach the station after that is to arrive by bus, be dropped off, bike, or walk to the station.  Pity the station is surrounded by full parking spaces and single family homes.