|Local residents talk to transit officials Nov. 10 at an Envision Route 7 informational meeting at Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School in Falls Church.|
What’s your vision for Route 7? Would transit make driving on this congested road less of a nightmare? Would transit help you get to work or to a Metro station? Where should the transit stations be located?
The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) is studying transit options for the 14-mile Route 7 corridor – between Tysons and Old Town, Alexandria – and is seeking public input at three informational sessions this month.
Don’t expect a formal presentation. There will be posters showing traffic conditions and transit route options, a short video, and the opportunity to speak one-on-one with officials from the Fairfax County Transportation Department, the NVTC, and representatives from Parsons Brinckerhoff, the engineering consulting firm carrying out the study. People can also submit comments on an online crowdsource map.
The Envision Route 7 study is looking at two different types of transit systems: bus rapid transit (BRT) and light rail transit (LRT).
BRT vehicles would be larger than regular buses, would have large windows, doors on both sides, would be all-electric or use hybrid power, and could hold 120 people per vehicle. They could operate in dedicated lanes or, where that’s not possible, in lanes with other traffic. Annual operating costs for BRT on Route 7 is projected at $17 million.
LRT vehicles would operate on steel tracks in dedicated lanes. Vehicles would have a capacity of 200, would have doors on both sides, and would use overhead electric wires for power. The annual operating cost would be about $31 million.
Both BRT and LRT would be expected to cut travel time along Route 7 in half. That’s critical because population growth along the corridor is projected to increase 36 percent and job growth would increase 34 percent by 2040.
One of the route options in the study is a detour along Roosevelt Blvd. to the East Falls Church Metro station and up N. Washington Street back to Route 7. Snyder prefers that option because people who live along Route 7 in Falls Church don’t want transit at their front door – and because it totally makes sense to connect transit to Metro.