|A rendering of the proposed bicycle/pedestrian improvements proposed for Braddock Road, including a pedestrian overpass.|
More than 200 people packed the cafeteria at Lake Braddock Secondary School Feb. 6 to learn about the study recommendations.
Previous options under consideration for adding an HOV lane or a general-purpose lane were rejected as being too expensive and less effective in improving traffic flow.
“No more lanes will be added. A lot of people will be relieved by that,” said Braddock Supervisor John Cook.
|Michael Guarino of FCDOT (left).|
While widening Braddock Road would increase demand from commuters living farther out, improving the intersections wouldn’t, said Michael Guarino, a planner with the Fairfax County Department of Transportation. There are no other options, as there won’t be any further efforts to increase capacity on Interstate 95 beyond what is already under way.
The multimodal study looked at traffic projections for the Braddock Road corridor – between Ravensworth Road and Guinea Road – for 2040 if nothing is done and if various options are carried out.
It currently takes nine minutes to get through the corridor, Guarino said. If nothing is done, it would take 17 minutes in 2040. Adding an additional lane would cut the time to 11 minutes and implementing the intersection improvements would cut the time to 10 minutes and could be done at significantly less cost.
The two options for adding lanes would each cost an estimated $101.7 million, while the intersection improvements would cost about $35 million
The intersection improvements include access management, such as new left-turn lanes along Braddock Road and enhanced signalization.
At several roads intersecting Braddock Road, drivers would no longer be able to make left turns onto Braddock. Those include Inverchapel Road, Glen Park Road, Stone Haven Drive, Kings Park Drive, Burke Lake Road, the western part of Red Fox Drive, and Bradfield Drive.
People who want to turn left onto Braddock at those intersections would either have to turn right and make a U-turn or take an alternative route through their neighborhood. According to Guarino, U-turns are safer and more effective in managing traffic than left turns.
Eliminating left turns means the green light for right turns will last longer. “We have to get cars moving through Braddock faster. The only way to do that is to not have so many left turns,” Cook said.
|A new ramp for accessing Port Royal Road from the beltway.|
In addition to road improvements, the Braddock Road Multimodal Study includes two other elements: a transit center and bicycle/pedestrian improvements.
The study is expected to recommend a shared-use path for bicyclists and pedestrians on both sides of Braddock Road, Guarino said. The path would have to be in the VDOT right-of-way, which would mean numerous trees would have to be taken down.
An overpass for pedestrians is under consideration at Kings Park Drive or possibly closer to the shopping center. There could also be overpasses at Wakefield Chapel Road and Stone Haven Drive.
That would depend on whether residents believe overpasses would be useful for walking to shopping centers or to a bus stop, Cook said.
Substandard sidewalks would be replaced, enhanced crosswalks would be added at each signalized intersection, bus stops would be relocated so they would be nearer signalized crossings and overpasses, and the underpass at Accotink Trail would be improved.
Recommendations for a transit center have been tabled until there’s a final recommendation on the road and pedestrian improvements.
The transit center could either be at the Kings Park Shopping Center or the former site of the Northern Virginia Training Center near Burke Station Road. It could include a structured parking deck or surface parking.
“It’s not a done deal. There have been significant questions,” said Cook. It might not even make sense to have a transit center at all.
If the recommendations in the multimodal study are approved, construction could start as soon as 2021, and the project could be completed in 2024.
Members of the public are encouraged to submit comments to FCDOT, preferably by Feb. 20. Comments can be submitted online or via email.
Another community meeting will be held this spring, which will include discussion of a transit center. The study may undergo further refinements based on input from the public. The final study will then be presented to the Board of Supervisors.