Embark Richmond Highway open house is Saturday

Hybla Valley CBC sketch

A concept model of the Hybla Valley/Gum Springs Community Business Center. Click to enlarge.

The most recent drafts of the key “Community Business Centers” will be among the featured topics at the Embark Richmond Highway community meeting Saturday at West Potomac High School from 9 a.m to noon.

This is the fifth Embark community meeting since 2016 and is advertised as an “open house,” with presentations throughout the morning and representatives on hand to answer questions from community members. The presentations will feature recently released concept plans for four of Embark’s six Community Business Centers (CBCs) —Penn Daw, Groveton/Beacon, Hybla Valley/Gum Springs and Woodlawn.

Situated along Route 1, the CBCs are central pieces to the Embark plan. Each CBC hosts a bus rapid transit (BRT) station and features grids of streets that incorporate mixed-use developments, connected pedestrian and bike trails, and green spaces.

Woodlawn CBC sketch

A drawing of the Woodlawn CBC. Click to enlarge.

Slides with more information about Embark and other images of the latest CBC concepts can be found on the county’s website.

Mount Vernon Supervisor Dan Storck and Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay are scheduled to attend the meeting, and there will be a presentation updating progress on Embark at 9:30 a.m. and again at 10:30 a.m.

Representatives from VDOT will also be on hand to discuss the upcoming widening of Richmond Highway between Jeff Todd Way and Napper Road.

West Potomac is located at 6500 Quander Road (see map). Light refreshments will be provided.

More details about the meeting, including transportation options to West Potomac, can be found here.

Updating the comprehensive plan

Embark Richmond Highway is an initiative that looks to transform the Route 1 corridor by incorporating new transit and development options in the area between the Beltway and Jeff Todd Way/Mount Vernon Memorial Highway. The Embark plan calls for 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 be in the six CBCs, which would envisioned as live-work-shop urban environments. The CBCs would be tied together by bus rapid transit down the middle of Route 1, running from Fort Belvoir to the Huntington Metro.

Hybla Valley map

Click to enlarge

Embark also calls for other improvements to the transportation infrastructure, including the widening of Richmond Highway, making the corridor more walkable and bikable, and extending the Yellow Line from Huntington to Hybla Valley.

“The new plan lays the groundwork for Route 1 widening, new transit, and 120,000 new people,” State Sen. Scott Surovell (D-36) said in a recent email to constituents. “Embark will shape the comprehensive plan for our community for decades.”

The county’s comprehensive plan, which is a guide to planning and development in the county, must be amended to allow for the changes envisioned in Embark. The county’s planning and zoning staff is due to complete the final draft plan and staff report in late November. More public meetings and hearings will then be held before a Board of Supervisors vote on the Embark amendment, which is currently scheduled for March 20, 2018.

Draft text of the comprehensive plan amendment can be read here.

Embark breakfast event Friday

The Northern Virginia Builders Association (NVBIA) will hold a breakfast panel this Friday about the topic of Embark, featuring a panel discussion attended by a number of prominent officials from the Route 1 area.

The panel will focus on Embark’s transit impact, as well as the business and development opportunities it will bring to the Richmond Highway area. From the NVBIA website:

“Our distinguished panel will dive deep into what makes Richmond Highway such an attractive redevelopment opportunity, including the influx of 56,000 new jobs to Fort Belvoir, the extension of mass transit (Metro and BRT) down Richmond Highway, VDOT’s proposed widening of Richmond Highway and the extension of development from Alexandria. They will explain how Fairfax County is facilitating strategic redevelopment and investment opportunities in the area and review the current development pipeline.”

Tickets are $50 for NVBIA members and $75 for non-members.

The event begins at 7:30 a.m. and runs to 10 a.m. It will be held at the Hampton Inn & Suites at 5821 Richmond Highway (see map).

Speakers at the event include:

  • Lee District Supervisor Jeff Mckay
  • Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck
  • Edythe Kelleher, Executive Director of The Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation
  • Elizabeth Hagg, Deputy Director,Office of Community Revitalization, Fairfax County
  • Louis Genuario, President, Genuario Companies
  • Mark Viani, Vice President of the Board of Directors, The Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation