An artist’s view on a plaza and park envisioned in the Hybla Valley/Gum Springs CBC.
The last Embark Richmond Highway open house will be January 10, giving the public a chance to learn more about the final draft of the Embark comprehensive plan amendment that was released last month.
The open house will be from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Walt Whitman Middle School (see map), and comes ahead of scheduled votes on the Embark amendment by the county’s planning commission and the Board of Supervisors.
It will be the sixth public meeting during the Embark planning process, and the first since the final draft of the Embark amendment was released in November. County staff will be on hand to answer questions from the public, and anyone can read the full staff report on the Embark comprehensive amendment ahead of time on the county’s website.
Embark Richmond Highway is a multiyear initiative that looks to transform the Route 1 corridor by incorporating new transit and development options in the area between the Capital Beltway and Jeff Todd Way/Mount Vernon Memorial Highway. Embark calls for major land use changes along the corridor, including those that would allow for older commercial properties to be redeveloped as higher density, mixed-use developments. These developments would primarily be in six Community Business Centers (CBCs), which are envisioned as live-work-shop urban environments.
The six CBCs include North Gateway, Penn Daw, Beacon/Groveton, Hybla Valley/Gum Springs, and Woodlawn. They CBCs would be tied together by a new bus rapid transit system (BRT) built in the middle of Route 1, running from Fort Belvoir to the Huntington Metro. Each CBC would have a BRT station.
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Embark also envisions the widening of Richmond Highway to six lanes throughout the corridor, and the extension of the Yellow Line from Huntington to new stations in Groveton and Hybla Valley.
Improvements for pedestrians and cyclists are also a big part of Embark, with wider sidewalks farther from the roadway and dedicated bike lanes on both sides of the highway.
The planning commission will its public hearing on the Embark amendment on Jan. 25, and if the plan is approved by the commission, the Board of Supervisors will hold its public hearing on March 18. More information about Embark can be found on the county’s website.