|A difficult intersection for pedestrians.|
Residents questioned why the project is being done if it won’t resolve traffic congestion.
“This is not a traffic improvement project. It is safety improvement project,” said project manager Seyed Nabavi, at FCDOT’s transportation design division.
|Visit the project website for a larger view of this map.|
The project would remove the right turn lane onto Shackelford Terrace for vehicles heading from Lincolnia Road toward Route 236. It would also remove the southbound lane on N. Chambliss Street as it merges onto N. Beauregard Street.
A third lane will be added to southbound N. Chambliss at the intersection and to the southbound receiving lane on N. Beauregard. The right-turn lanes would start farther back on Chambliss.
A new grassy area would replace the eliminated lanes between Shackelford and the Lincolnia Senior Center. Drivers will have to curve around the grassy area to get from Chambliss onto Beauregard and to Route 236.
New sidewalks around the new grassy area and a fourth crosswalk would be added at the intersection.
The project was recommended in 2011 by the Mason District BRAC Task Force. The task forced considered ways to alleviate neighborhood traffic congestion caused by development of a huge new federal office building at the Mark Center that had been recommended by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission.
Nabavi said the N. Beauregard/N. Chambliss plan would “improve pedestrian mobility and safety at the intersection. It would improve vehicular safety by eliminating uncontrolled merge and weave.” The project won’t relieve congestion at the intersection, however.
There were 19 reported crashes at the intersection between 2010 and 2015, Nabavi said. Nine resulted in one or more injuries. There were no fatalities. Ten occurred in darkness, although the lighting was functional. FCDOT didn’t have data on pedestrian accidents.
Several people at the meeting complained that the project won’t reduce the existing backups on Lincolnia Road.
That is correct, Nabavi acknowledged, adding,“the overall level of service for the intersection will remain the same.”
“I will feel absolutely trapped in my neighborhood,” said a Parklawn resident who fears the project would make queuing on Lincolnia even worse.
Several residents of the Stonegate at Landmark townhouse community complained that the only way to get into their neighborhood is by making a U-turn or cutting through the Lincolnia Senior Center parking lot. That won’t change under the proposed project.
Another resident said the project won’t address the difficulty of making a left turn into the senior center, as the entrance is often blocked by a long line of cars coming from Lincolnia Road.
Other people complained that the proposed grassy area will become an eyesore, because VDOT won’t live up to its maintenance responsibilities. Concrete or pavers were suggested as alternatives to grass.
Mason Supervisor Penny Gross agreed that this project is a band aid and was designed as a spot improvement project to address the concerns of the BRAC Task Force. “We don’t have the resources to address the whole area right now,” she said.
In response to a suggestion for a pedestrian bridge over Beauregard, Gross said there isn’t enough room for the ramps required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. People don’t like to go out of the way to use pedestrian bridges, Nabavi added.
Traffic congestion along Beauregard and Chambliss is also being considered by the Lincolnia Planning District Study Task Force as part of its recommendations for amending the county’s comprehensive plan to spur mixed-used redevelopment in Lincolinia. More comprehensive transportation fixes that come out of that process would be long term – with a 20 to 40-year timeline.
FDCOT estimates the design of the intersection improvement project would be completed by June 2019. Land acquisition and utility relocation would be carried out between October 2018 and February 2010. Construction would be done by February 2021.
The estimated cost is $1.1 million, including signals, sidewalks, and land acquisition. Funding would come from a Fairfax County transportation bond passed by voters in 2014.
Gross said the project design will likely be refined and that there should be another community meeting before the project starts.
In response to the many concerns raised by residents at the meeting, FCDOT agreed to extend the deadline for public comments from June 30 to Aug. 15. Comments should be submitted online.