Weigh in on which transportation projects should get funding

Traffic on Richmond Highway

Fairfax County is asking citizens for their input on which unfunded transportation projects, including many in the Richmond Highway area, should be prioritized for funding in the coming years.

The county’s list of unfunded projects includes more than 100 capital and operating projects. They vary from interchange improvements to road widening to bicycle and pedestrian improvements.

The county says it only has approximately $100 million available for the projects, and the Board of Supervisors is asking citizens to weigh in on what matters to them most. The first of four public meetings is this Wednesday at the South County Government Center on Richmond Highway (see map) from 7-9 p.m.

You can also take a survey, which must be mailed in by Nov. 9. Additionally, Fairfax County Department of Transportation will be holding an online chat on Oct. 17 from noon to 1 p.m.

Notable projects from the Richmond Highway area include widening Telegraph Road and funding for a grid of streets to be built on Route 1, something that would help support the higher-density projects that are envisioned in the Embark Richmond Highway initiative. 

Most of the other local projects listed are smaller in scale, with many aiming to improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists. Two areas for sidewalk improvement — Lockheed Boulevard and Mount Vernon Vernon Highway — would improve conditions next to schools on heavily traveled roads. 

State Sen. Scott Surovell (D-36), whose district covers a large part of the Richmond Highway area, said he was disappointed in the county’s list. Projects such as undergrounding power lines on Route 1 and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) were not included, and Surovell says that shows the county’s transportation priorities are not focused enough on the Richmond Highway area.

“The county has repeatedly told me they don’t have money to bury utilities on U.S. 1 or jump start the widening of U.S. 1 or BRT,” Surovell said, noting that districts like Dranesville and Providence have more expensive projects on the list. “The County has the money or could find the money to bury U.S. 1 utilities or start the process of fully funding many of the projects on our part of the County. Given this list, it’s pretty clear to me that staff has prioritized other projects — mostly in the newer and wealthier parts of Fairfax County — to be built elsewhere first.”

Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay took issue with Surovell’s characterization of the county’s transportation priorities. McKay called Surovell’s comments “a populist dog whistle” that did not accurately describe the county’s effort to improve the Route 1 corridor.

“I’m shocked at the misinformation one of our state elected officials is spreading,” McKay said. “Fairfax County has prioritized the Route One Corridor for years, ensuring the investment of more than $1.5 billion to actually build projects along the Highway since [fiscal 2004].”

McKay said that all elected officials in the Richmond Highway area want to underground power lines, but said that it can’t come at the cost of massive tax increase for residents or delaying the Embark initiative. He also said that a lack of state funding for transportation was at the core of the county’s stretched budget.

“Instead of blaming the County, it would be nice if the state played a larger role funding transportation, as it is their primary responsibility,” McKay said. “Because of decades of state inaction, the County had to start making transportation improvements to the state’s roads out of desperation. Sadly, those now have to compete with core county functions like education, public safety and human services needs.”

The county’s full list of proposed unfunded projects can be seen here

A rundown of the Richmond Highway-area projects from the list:

Project Title Category Estimated Cost (Millions) Benefit/Cost Ratio Description/Scope
Grid of Streets in the Richmond Highway Area Extension and New Roadway $10 TBD Highway Funding Plan Projects
Fort Hunt Road and Wellington Road Spot Improvement TBD TBD Improve sight distance and evaluate possible traffic signal
Richmond Highway and Lockheed Boulevard/Dart Drive Spot Improvement $1.86 2.7 Intersection improvements
Telegraph Road from Leaf Road to Hayfield Road Widening and Corridor Improvement $22.41 3.6 Widen from two to four lanes including bicycle and pedestrian facilities
South County Bus Service Transit $1.85 N/A Implement a new recommended bus route from Franconia-Springfield to Fort Belvoir
Fort Hunt Road by Belle Haven Country Club Bicycle and Pedestrian $1.50 1 Bike and Pedestrian trail
Florence Lane from Telegraph Road to Beech Tree Drive Bicycle and Pedestrian $0.75 0.5 Add walkway on east side
Fort Hunt Road from Collingwood Road to Shenandoah Road Bicycle and Pedestrian $5  0.5 3,500 LF of sidewalk on east side
Fort Hunt Road from Richmond Highway to George Washington Memorial Parkway Bicycle and Pedestrian $51 0.9 Add bicycle and pedestrian trails along full length
Harrison Lane From Huntley Manor Lane to Robert E. Lee Place Bicycle and Pedestrian $0.50 1 Construct sidewalk and bike lane
Huntington Capital Bikeshare Bicycle and Pedestrian $0.50 N/A Huntington Capital Bikeshare
Huntington Metrorail Station Huntington Metro Area Bicycle Improvements Bicycle and Pedestrian $2 N/A Huntington Metrorail area bicycle improvements
Lenclair Street from Tower Drive to Memorial Street Bicycle and Pedestrian $0.28 0.9 350 lf of sidewalk on the west side
Lockheed Boulevard from Huntley Meadows Park to Hybla Valley Elementary School Bicycle and Pedestrian $0.90 2.3 Construct 1,500 LF of sidewalk and bike lane on south side
Lockheed Boulevard from Groveton Gardens Road to Harrison Lane Bicycle and Pedestrian $0.40 1.0 400 LF of sidewalk and bike lane on north side
Memorial Street and Donora Road Bicycle and Pedestrian $0.15 N/A Crosswalk with bulb-out
Mount Vernon Highway from Route 1 to Mount Vernon High School Bicycle and Pedestrian $2 1.0 Construct continuous sidewalks on both sides
Old Mill Road by Mount Vernon Country Club Bicycle and Pedestrian $4.40 1 Bike and Pedestrian trail
Old Telegraph Road from Pine Brook Road to Wilton Woods Lane Bicycle and Pedestrian $3 0.4 Construct missing sidewalk links on north side
Telegraph Road from Hayfield Road to South Van Dorn Street Widening and Corridor Improvement $72.02 0.4 Widen from 2 to 4 lanes, including bicycle and pedestrian facilities
Telegraph Road from Leaf Road to Hayfield Road Widening and Corridor Improvement $22.41 3.6 Widen from 2 to 4 lanes including bicycle and pedestrian facilities
South Kings Highway and Memorial Street Bicycle and Pedestrian $2 N/A Construct missing walkway segment

This story has been updated to include comment from Surovell and McKay.

3 Comments

  1. Laurie Blackburn
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