Usually at 6 a.m., cars are constantly turning up at the to pick up other commuters, known as “slugs,” before heading into Washington, D.C. for work.
Today was not a usual day.
Some sluggers woke up an hour earlier in some cases to get to the Potomac Mills mall commuter lot just to ensure they snagged one of 275 parking spaces.
Once at the lot, some sluggers waited for cars to pick them up for work – a longer wait than they usually encountered.
Sluggers said that usually the wait for a vehicle to pick them up was five to ten minutes on any given morning but Monday there was a distinct lull.
Commuters that came to the lot after 6:30 a.m. were out of luck Monday, as the lot had filled up quickly. Potomac Mills mall security guards had barricaded off the parking lot with cones and signs marking the boundary for the commuter lot.
“It’s horrible,” said commuter Meg Fletcher who slugs up to K Street in D.C. “I believe it is politically and financially motivated since the state wants to cut traffic on Interstate 95.”
Effective this morning, Potomac Mills Mall management cut some 750 parking spaces from its commuter lot near Costco in order to accommodate for new retail development it has planned.
“I think it was also to push Arlington County’s hands on the HOT lanes,” said Fletcher of the reduction in parking spaces. “I mean, who is going to shop at the mall from 9 to 5? Everyone is at work.”
In the past, three different slug lines came to a head at Potomac Mills but in wake of the missing spots, commuters scrambled to find a solution before this Valentine’s Day work week began.
Now, the 14th/18th/L’Enfant Street lines remain at Potomac Mills, while others moved to the Dale City lot off of
“How many parking spaces are in Potomac Mills that can be used?” said Arnold Florez. “Put us at AMC [theaters], who sees a movie on a Monday morning?”
Other sluggers in line with Florez chimed in, saying that they were contemplating boycotting the mall to send a message about their discontent.
“The drivers will be going elsewhere to pick up sluggers,” said Florez. “They know there will only be 250 of us here so they’ll take their chances some place else.”
Drivers seeking a parking space were turned away Monday morning. The Horner road lot off of I-95 was filled by 7 a.m.
Supervisors Frank J. Principi (Woodbridge) and Mike May (Occoquan) last Wednesday with members of the Prince William County Transportation department, Virginia Department of Transportation, Potomac Rappahannock Transit Commission and the coordinator of popular commuting website, Slug-Lines.com in hopes to make a solution.
While the county government is looking for ways to alleviate the growing pains in the interim until other solutions can be finalized to make up for the lost parking spaces, coordinator of Slug-Lines.com, David LeBlanc had to make a decision to reorganize the slug lines that were originally all at Potomac Mills.
To read more about the commuter slugging issue, click here.