Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (VDRPT) is developing a "Multimodal Transportation Alternatives Analysis” for the 14-mile stretch of Richmond Highway between I-495 and Route 123 in Woodbridge.The
According to the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation (SFDC), the main objectives for the study are to define key transportation issues, establish a "needs statement" and consider a range of multimodal transportation solutions to address those needs.
"Basically, VDRPT will manage the study and AECOM will conduct it to determine options for different modes of transportation for Route 1," said SFDC Executive Director Edythe Frankel Kelleher.
The study will look at different transportation options including bus rapid transit (BRT), light rail transit (LRT), extended Metrorail service, roadway widening and restructured pedestrian/bicycle pathways. Transportation recommendations will be made based on the technical analysis created during the study and ideas and concerns from stakeholders and community members, according to SFDC.
This project started in May 2013, and the study is expected to be completed in a 12-month period.
Transportation concerns along the Route 1 corridor have been an issue for awhile. Planning improvements for the highway has been an ongoing process, said Del. Scott Surovell (D-44th).
"The study is the required first step before we make any improvements to Route 1," he said. "It's a process that started probably about ten years ago and it was put on hold for awhile."
Surovell said completing the study in 12 months is an aggressive time frame. However, he hopes the analysis will help them lay the groundwork before moving forward with improving transportation along Richmond Highway.
"From my point of view, extending the [metro] Yellow Line from Huntington is one of the only ways to be able to improve transportation," he said.
Concerns from community members along Route 1 is not uncommon. Surovell said they're slowly making progress, including the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors working hard to redevelop the area. His concern, he explained, is funding moving forward with the improvements.
"I'm seriously concerned that there is not enough funding for this project. This is considered a megaproject, and the state hasn't quite resolved how to fund megaprojects," he said.
In the past, multiple studies have been conducted along Richmond Highway and yet, pedestrians, cyclists and motorists still have major issues with traveling the major Alexandria highway. Surovell said this study differs because it is required before any major improvements are made in the future.
"I'm happy we're making progress. I think people need to understand that this is not just another study on Route 1. It is required before moving forward," Surovell said. "I think people are very thirsty to see major changes along the Route 1 corridor."
The public will have multiple opportunities to voice opinions, ideas and concerns as VDRPT manages the study. The first community meeting is tentatively scheduled for September 2013.
For more updates on the Route 1 transportation analysis as the study continues, visit the SFDC website.