No Permit, No Parking for Tour Buses in Old Town Alexandria

By Kathy Banks
|  Tuesday, Apr 6, 2010  |  Updated 2:46 PM EDT
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No Permit, No Parking for Tour Buses in Old Town

NCinDC, Flickr.com

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Alexandria loves tourists but not the tour buses that bring them to the historic town.

Local officials are taking steps to regulate the vehicles.

Starting Thursday, operators of motor coaches have to apply for permits, The Examiner reports. The permits will let drivers park their vehicles in the city’s newly created, free parking spots. No more parking on the streets. In addition, buses can’t sit idle for more than 15 minutes while passengers get on and off them.

During summer months, tour buses tend to park on the already narrow streets of Old Town. Sometimes there can be 30 or more buses in the neighborhood on any given day, each carrying about 50 passengers. Residents have complained that the buses cause traffic congestion, air pollution and a whole lot of noise.

The streets were built for horse carts, not buses, so such problems are inevitable without limits, transportation officials said. The permits are the first step.

City officials are also aware that they may be biting the wheels that feed them. Tour buses bring both patrons and big bucks to Alexandria. So while officials want to maintain the ambience and quality of life in the city, they don’t want to lose the much-welcomed revenue that visitors provide.

City officials plan to reevaluate the bus regulation program later this year, according to The Examiner.

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