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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Residents raise concerns about safety plan for N. Beauregard/N. Chambliss intersection

A difficult intersection for pedestrians. 
Lincolnia residents are not in total agreement with a plan presented June 13 by Fairfax County Department of Transportation officials to improve traffic and pedestrian safety at the N. Beauregard/N. Chambliss intersection.

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.
Todd Minnix chief of the transportation design division at FCDOT, said the plan “is more of a band aid rather than a complete solution.”

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.

13 comments:

  1. This “improvement” is a big middle finger to anyone coming from Lincolnia. This intersection is already incredibly choked with gridlock, and this will make it much, much worse.

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  2. It will make it "much, much, worse" unless you are a pedestrian or person on bicycle. Then it will be safer, which is more pleasant. Which will help more people walk and bike instead of drive. Which will decrease the number of cars on the street. Which will alleviate the car gridlock.

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    1. You can't bike down 395 to get to work in DC. This is a major artery for Licolnia residents to get to the interstate. So, the idea that adding a new crosswalk will alleviate gridlock is not realistic. Also, more congestion in this single intersection makes the neighborhoods farther down off N. Chambliss unattractive to those looking for a good commuter neighborhood for working in DC. This entire project ignores the fact that this is the single most important commuting road for Lincolnia residents. There are no alternatives; we don't have Metro stop in this neighborhood!

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  3. Can't turn left into the Senior Center? There are no "don't block the box" lines painted on the pavement? Any form of traffic calming (also known as respecting the rules) helps bikes and pedestrians. Not everyone has a car, walking and biking are transportation options too. This part of Ffx Co needs to embrace Vision Zero. People rule, not cars!

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    1. I’m a lincolnia resident who does quite a bit of walking, but I think this intersection needs to be COMPLETELY redesigned to streamline it and make it more multi-modal friendly – pedestrians, cyclists, cars, public transit – not just this half-ass solution that they've come up with.

      I also take vehicular public transportation through Lincolnia as well, I suppose you think we should shut down the roadways to all vehicular traffic and only allow people to walk everywhere. Even the most ardent urbanists do not share that view.

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  4. Actually, bikes on the street add to gridlock, no matter how many times cyclists falsely claim that they reduce gridlock. It's not the size of the vehicle that creates gridlock, it's the top speed of the vehicle. Whether it is a huge SUV or a tiny bicycle going 17 MPH, all the cars behind it are equally hosed. That said, I cannot argue against the fact that it's great exercise and does not pollute. But enough with the "cyclists reduce congestion" fallacy.

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  5. It's a $1.1M bandaid...that's a lot of money to the county tax payers...to reduce 19 accidents that occurred over 6 years (2010 - 2015, inclusive of both the start and end years I assume). 9 injuries and no fatalities, no data on pedestrian harms. Curious as to the property damage in those 19 accidents and personal injury costs...do they warrant a $1.1M expenditure (although I am sure one could argue that any harm to any person warrants it)? If the county knows this is a messy intersection (hmmm, due to the congestion/high number of users), then fix both the messy, risky part AND deal with the congestion (which is probably why the merge area was created in the first place). Fixing only the messy part pushes the mess and risk to another place along the congested route, it does not make it go away. Can't you just anticipate the issue at Sano and Lincolnia with people trying to merge into the line of cars backed up Lincolnia due to the "fix?" No light there, so it's a place ripe for problems during a morning commute.

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    1. That number is completely erroneous. There have been far more accidents in and around the intersection since 2010. I don't know where they got that number from, but it surely isn't correct.

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  6. Supervisor Gross's reasoning that its OK to approve this $1.1 million "band-aid" because “we don’t have the resources to address the whole area right now” is unacceptable. Why WASTE $1.1 million on a temporary fix? And how "temporary," exactly, will this be? My guess is that this "band-aid" will be left in place for decades while the residents in the area suffer from additional gridlock trying to get access to the highway. The County needs to put in the effort now to properly fund the redevelopment so it can acquisition the land in the triangle between the N. Chambliss, Lincolnia, and Beauregard streets, and redo these roads to handle both congestion AND safety.

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  7. Kind of curious if this current proposal puts the intersection back to the way it was prior to the installation of the merge area - anyone know?

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    1. Fairfax County has old aerial photos available for viewing.

      http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/maps/photo.htm

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  8. I’m getting pretty f*&%*^^$ tired of hearing that there is no money for anything. With continuous tax hikes and a $4 billion+ municipal budget, why is there never any money for anything? Spend the money to do this thing correctly.

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  9. The people that jaywalk will continue to do so. They aren't going to walk up the street to a crosswalk. The shortest distance from point A to B is how they'll go. If the county can't "afford" to fix that intersection correctly, then put that 1.1 million into red light cameras. Maybe if the idiots who block the box or run the red lights get a couple tickets, the problem wouldn't be so bad. And the county could get some of their money back from the fines.

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