Costco Wholesale, set to open in 2013, will make a number of transportation and transit improvements at its new location on Richmond Highway.
Since the new business was announced, some local residents have feared more congestion will surround the Richmond Highway/Ladson Lane intersection to the southeast of the Costco property. Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay said while some drivers may remain frustrated, Costco’s improvements are better than the alternative.
“I’m glad we’re getting some improvements to this, in that, without Costco, we probably never would have gotten,” he said.
McKay added: “Obviously, there’s going to be more traffic in the area, but one of the things I think people often forget was, it was not a Costco or nothing. The choice was a Costco, going through a public hearing, getting transportation improvements—or a larger shopping center that could have been built there by-right … with no transportation improvements.”
Two main entrances will serve the Costco. One access point will face Ladson Lane, while the other will be located off of Richmond Highway. The Richmond Highway entrance will provide only for right turns onto the property from southbound highway lanes and right turns off of the property onto southbound Richmond Highway, said Marcus Wadsworth, staff assistant to McKay.
All Costco parking will be free, he said.
Also, at all intersections and entrances at the site, drivers will be able to see opposing traffic through clear lines of sight, unobscured by landscaping.
Costco is paying for all the improvements, Wadsworth said. Other improvements include:
- Bike racks, likely on Costco’s property near the store entrances
- The construction and maintenance of a foot trail fronting Richmond Highway between the Walmart property and Ladson Lane
- A bus shelter pad and pedestrian trail connection near the intersection of Richmond Highway and Ladson Lane
- A 67-foot right-of-way dedication, which gives land to the county, and a 21-foot right-of-way reservation, which means giving the county the right to ask for that land in the future, from Costco’s property fronting Richmond Highway
- A right-turn lane from Richmond Highway onto Ladson Lane
- Dual left-turn lanes from northbound Richmond Highway into the Walmart entrance at the intersection with Sherwood Hall Lane
- An analysis or re-timing of local traffic signals, if required per individual analysis
- And an evaluation of a proposed U-turn lane on southbound Richmond Highway
Costco has maintained the development would not have a “significantly higher impact than an operational movie theater located on the same site."
In its traffic-impact analysis submitted to the Fairfax County Planning Commission, Costco analysts predicted that 737 new peak-hour trips on Saturday and 4,496 new daily trips on weekdays would occur after completion of the store. According to VDOT, Richmond Highway handles about 60,000 vehicles per day.
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