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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Demonstration planned for Jan. 16 to protest I-395 ramp near Landmark

VDOT already started the ramp project.

A group of residents of the Landmark area is planning a demonstration next Wednesday, Jan. 16, to protest the construction of a ramp on Interstate 395 at Turkeycock Run. The event takes place at 11 a.m. at Stevenson Avenue, between the highway and the Landmark Mews community, where VDOT has already positioned construction equipment. The rain date is Jan. 21.

The ramp would be used by drivers heading north on I-395 who must exit the high-occupancy toll lanes and merge onto the general-purpose lanes. The flyover ramp is needed because Arlington County refused to let the toll lanes extend into Arlington.

The ramp is planned for the area between the Edsall Road and Route 236 exits on I-395.
A group called Concerned Residents of Landmark is fighting the project because increased traffic congestion at the ramp will result in air pollution levels that far exceed federal standards. The group commissioned attorney John Britton to coordinate an independent environmental study, which was previewed at a meeting of the Overlook homeowners association board in December. The study found the increased number of cars idling at the ramp as the lanes merge will cause dangerously high levels of nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter to spread throughout area backyards, parks, and even inside homes.

The group also charges that an environmental assessment conducted by VDOT is flawed, because VDOT failed to study the impact of the project on the immediate area as required by law.

Members of the Concerned Residents group organized a petition drive asking VDOT to delay the project  and met with staff from Rep. Jim Moran and Sen. Mark Warner’s offices. “They were very receptive,” said Barbara Rogers, who lives in the Overlook townhouse community.

About a dozen homeowner and community associations have endorsed the Concerned Residents’ campaign, said Mary Hasty of Overlook, who notes that at least 20,000 people live along both sides of I-395 near the proposed ramp. The group is seeking additional financial support so it can hire Britton to carry out a multifaceted effort to fight the ramp. Britton was instrumental in keeping the express lanes out of Arlington.

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