7 October 1996 Sully District Land Use and Transportation Committee Report
by Jeff Parnes
  1. Attendance:

    1. Members: Dick Frank (TAC), Al Linch (Virginia Run), Jeff Parnes (Chantilly Highlands), Bill Ritchie (NECCA), and Larry Tessier (Franklin Glenn)

    2. Guests: Courtney Prebich (Centreville Times)

  2. VDOT held a citizen information meeting on the Capital Beltway Major Investment Study on 30 September 1996. The meeting provided an opportunity to review the results of the strategies for improving safety conditions and relieving congestion on the Virginia portion of the capital beltway. Maps, sketches and an environmental overview, as well as traffic data were available for review and comment. Any comments VDOT receives will be incorporated into VDOT's decision as to which of the five strategies being explored (as described below) to further study in the next phase. The next phase will consist of preliminary engineering and Environmental Protection Agency documentation. If you are interested in receiving further newsletters and meeting notices call the capital beltway hotline at 359-MOVE.

    1. TRANSIT (Strategies K / L)

      1. (K=Transit on some segments)
        • SUMMARY: Rail transit appears viable for some segments, but Beltway trips would be reduced by less than 3% on most segments. Thus, even with transit on key segments, there is still demand for major highway improvements.
        • OTHER: Highest potential transit demands are Tysons Corner to Silver Spring and Tysons to Dunn Loring. Transit potential should be further studied, including both rail service and accommodating express bus service in HOV facilities included in strategies O-3 and P. Express bus expected to have lower ridership than rail, but has costs of less than $50 million, in addition to costs for HOV facilities included in other strategies. Other strategies in addition to transit would be required to meet demand on Beltway.
      2. (L= Full circumferential transit)
        • SUMMARY: Fully circumferential rail has potential for up to 60,000 riders per day and increases regional transit share by over 50%. Trips on Beltway would be reduced by less than 3% on most segments, so doesn't offset demand for other major improvements.
        • OTHER: Overall share increase probably due to connectivity among existing lines. Ridership would be lower if all segments not provided. High costs of circumferential rail service raises questions about cost-effectiveness. Assuming an alignment in the Beltway from Springfield to the American Legion Bridge, order of magnitude estimate of cost for 14 miles of light rail line and five stations is between $500 million and $750 million (and could be much higher). Costs in Maryland to complete the circumferential system probably between $2 and $3.5 billion. A "Best Rail Route" that provides most service or attracts most riders could be outside of the Beltway. Level of transit planning necessary to examine these issues is beyond scope of the MIS. Transit potential should be further explored in a detailed transit plan. Further study is assumed for potential express bus service in the HOV facilities included in other strategies. Express bus expected to have less ridership than rail, but have costs of less than $50 million, in addition to costs for HOV facilities included in other strategies. Other strategies in addition to transit would be required to meet demand on Beltway.

      • SUMMARY: Additional lanes would provide only temporary relief of congestion and would compound problems at interchanges. Additional lanes should be considered only in conjunction with other improvements. May be appropriate in some segments if interchanges also rebuilt.
      • OTHER: Unless interchanges are also improved, congestion of 12 to 14 hours per day is predicted, with speeds of 10 to 25 MPH. Rebuilding bridges to accommodate only additional lanes is not cost effective compared to the limited increase in traffic capacity provided and the increased congestion caused at interchanges. Order of magnitude cost estimate for new lanes, rebuilding bridges, full interchange corrections, noise walls and other mitigation is about $1.5 billion. Benefits of additional lane capacity are included in other strategies. Provides no additional support for transit. FHWA policy would require C-D roads at improved interchanges. Additional lanes likely to fit within existing right-of-way of mainline sections, but more property needed at interchanges. Impacts likely in vicinity of interchanges; design options may help limit.

    3. HOV LANES WITH DIRECT ACCESS (Strategy 0-3)
      • SUMMARY: HOV lanes forecasted peak hour usage range from 700 to 1300 vehicles, which is good operational range. If HOV selected, should include direct access ramps. Either concurrent flow or barrier- separated lanes could be built. Barrier-separated provides more operational, safety and enforcement benefits, but could be underutilized in off-peak hours. Options need further evaluation to achieve balance.
      • OTHER: Direct access provides incentives for HOV use and increased time savings. Supports express bus service by providing direct linkage between arterial roads or park & ride facilities to the express lanes. Additional study of express bus operating in HOV is warranted. Direct access would require additional ramps as part of interchange reconstruction. Strategy likely to fit within existing right-of-way of mainline sections; some additional property may be needed in some segments and required at interchanges. FHWA policy would also require C-D roads at interchanges. Impacts likely in vicinity of interchanges. Order of magnitude cost estimate for HOV lanes, rebuilding bridges, interchange improvements, noise walls and other mitigation is $2 billion.

    4. EXPRESS/LOCAL LANES (Strategy P)
      • SUMMARY: Express/local strategy provides means to organize and manage lanes to respond to different types of trips that occur on the Beltway. Would provide greater capacity than either Strategy N or O-3. Readily adapts to various lane management techniques, such as HOV during peak.
      • OTHER: Express lanes would support carpool, vanpool, bus or express bus transit. If direct access ramps are included, transit potential and benefits would increase. Strategy also improves safety by providing inside and outside shoulders for each lane group (express or local), totaling 4 shoulders per direction. Additional shoulders also improve enforcement and incident management abilities. Lanes could be further managed to increase mobility: e.g., during peak hours express lanes for carpool, vanpool or transit use only. During off-peak, express lanes could also function as general purpose lanes or perhaps for through truck trips. Particular number of lanes in express vs. local depends on volumes and mix of trips to various destinations. Detailed planning needed to achieve balance between express trips and local trips. Strategy appears likely to fit within existing mainline right-of-way; additional property may be needed in some segments and required at interchanges. Overall magnitude of interchange reconstruction may be less than other strategies because C-D roads not required: local lanes serve this function. Impacts likely in vicinity of interchanges. Order of magnitude cost estimate for express/local, rebuilding bridges, interchanges improvements, noise walls and other mitigation is $2 billion.

      • SUMMARY: Interchange improvements alone would not address overall corridor problems. Interchange reconstruction should occur in conjunction with other strategies that include improvements to the mainline.
      • OTHER: Over time, demand on mainline sections would outstrip capacity during peak periods and become bottlenecks if not improved to match interchange capacities. Variety of interchange improvement designs available: additional right-of-way would be needed for most. Impacts likely to occur: actual impacts would depend on specific designs that are not performed in the MIS phase. Order of magnitude cost estimate to reconstruct 11 interchanges (Springfield, Route 1 and Telegraph Road covered in other projects) is $1.2 billion.

      After discussion of the above choices, the committee voted to endorse strategy P, Express/Local Lanes, with commensurate interchange improvements. The committee also recommended that rail transit be considered for the next round of improvements. A letter to this effect will be send to VDOT by 15 October, their deadline for comments. The letter will be from the committee and not the full Council as there will be no chance to bring it before the full body by the date required.

      The committee discussed the availability of funds for this project. VDOT is currently conducting five Major Investment Studies and will probably concentrate its funds on the Wodrow Wilson and Dulles Corridor (rail) improvements. Any additional funds can be used to accomplish incremental interchange improvements until overall funding is found for the beltway roadway improvements.

  3. APC sent the committee a courtesy copy of a letter they sent to the New Gate Homeowners Association. The letter informed the Association that APC was not interested in using the Association's property for a new communications facility in the Centreville area. APC plans to negotiate an agreement with Virginia Power to piggyback an antenna on one of their powerline towers.

  4. The spot improvement previously approved for Centreville Road and Kinross Circle (South) will probably start construction in the fall of 1997. The Transportation Advisory Committee is again soliciting suggests to include in forthcoming spot improvements package presented to the Board of Supervisors or VDOT (as operational improvements -- such items as stoop signs, crosswalks, etc.). Suggestions should be brought to the next meeting or sent to Mike Frey's office.

  5. The next meeting of the joint committee to discuss Occoquan River crossings will take place at 4:00 pm, Tuesday, 29 October, at the Fairfax County government complex. The committee consists of three supervisors from both Prince William and Fairfax counties.

  6. On the same day, Tuesday, 29 October, VDOT will review their current plans for the Routes 28 and 29 interchange at Centreville elementary school.

  7. The new middle school at Centreville and McLearen roads should be on line for Fall 98. Discussions as to boundary adjustments will start next year. Next on the agenda will be the boundary adjustments due to the new high school to be build at the Westfields site.

  8. The county is considering two zoning ordinance amendments: one concerning temporary land based telecommunications testing facilities, and the other concerning metric standards. The testing amendment allows the use of temporary structures for testing purposes as long as they are in place for less than 12 hours. The metric standard specifies that both metric and English measurements be used for special permits, special exceptions, variances, rezoning and development plans. Site plans are to be prepared in metric units only. Building Permits would still use English units. The committee felt that both proposed amendments were non-objectionable.

  9. The committee reviewed the Audubon Naturalist Society's presentation on the Occquon watershed made at the October meeting of the Sully District Council. After discussion, the committee made and passed a motion to have Fairfax County explore the feasibility of creating a multi-county Occoquon Watershed Authority. The committee will bring the motion before the full Sully District Council membership at its October meeting.

  10. The Air and Space Museum presented is plans for its Annex located on the southern edge of Dulles Airport. An attendee reported that the presentation was well planned. The main entrance to the Annex will be close to the current Gate 4 entrance onto Route 28 with a service entrance off Lee Road and Route 50. The Route 28 entrance will involve a flyover for traffic to and from northbound Route 28 eliminating the present light. Projections call for 45% of the traffic to come form the south and 55% from the north. The museum projects 16 thousand visitors per day with over 5-8 million per year. They plan to arrange a bus to the site from the main mall museum and another bus from the Vienna Metro station. The Annex is scheduled to open in 2001 but the formal dedication will coincide with the 100th anniversary of heavier-than-air manned flight. The cost of the facility is being split three ways: the federal government is paying for the design, the state of Virginia for road improvements, and the museum will pay for the construction through the solicitation of donations.

  11. Speculative real estate construction is once again underway in Fairfax County. A building is under construction south of Dulles Airport along Route 50. Others may be built in the Herndon - Reston area. Real estate specialists had not predicted the start of speculative real estate construction once again until 2001.

  12. Construction of the realigned Stringfellow Road from I-66 to Route 29 should start before the end of this year. If not be then, then at least by next spring. Construction should take about 12 months.

  13. Fairfax County is reviewing revitalization plans for certain commercial districts within the county, such as: Annandale, Richmond Highway, Seven Corners and Bailey's Crossroads. Although no areas within the Sully District are being considered for revitalization, any decisions reached on plans for these areas eventually will have an impact on Sully areas when they become a certain age.

  14. The next meeting of the Sully District Council Land Use and Transportation Committee will convene Monday, 4 November 1996 at 7:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Jeffrey M. Parnes
Chair, Sully District Council
Land Use and Transportation Committee

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modified by Jeffrey M. Parnes