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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

FX CO to explore long-term transit options

Fairfax County will begin working on a countywide study in January to explore transit options for all the major corridors for the next 30 years.

The county’s current transit plan, developed in 1990, covers such major corridors as Route 66, the Fairfax County Parkway, the Dulles toll road, and the beltway.  The new plan will likely add additional corridors, including Route 236 and Route 50, says Thomas Burke, a senior transportation planner at the Fairfax County Department of Transportation.

This study “will be a major undertaking” and will take 12 to 18 months to complete,” he says. “It should give us a pretty good idea of how transit will look in 20 to 30 years.”

It will consider various transit options for each corridor—such as light rail, Metro, streetcars, and bus rapid transit—as well as locations for transit stations and how new transit options should be coordinated with other systems, such as the Pike Transit initiative slated for Columbia Pike and systems in Alexandria, Prince William County, and other jurisdictions.

In a related issue, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation will study current and projected commuter patterns across Northern Virginia, Gov. Robert McDonnell announced in October. The study will be used to plan transit and road improvements.

This so-called “Super NoVA” study will encompass a broad region, including commuters from as far as the Shenandoah Valley, Culpeper County, and the Northern Neck, to employment centers in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. It is expected to be completed by October 2012.

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