Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Dumfries U.S. 1 on the Verge - Comment by Saturday!

If you ever get down to Dumfries to talk to its residents, one of the first things you learn is like Eastern Fairfax County, the state of U.S. 1 is one issue that binds all of its residents together.  In the next three days, they have an opportunity to do something about it.

Only Three Ways Out of Dumfries
(Click to Enlarge)
Dumfries and its communities to the east along the Potomac River have basically only three ways to get out of town - U.S. 1 North, U.S. 1 South, and two-lane Van Buren Road.  In-fact, U.S. 1 cuts across the creeks for each peninsula into the Potomac River, within a quarter mile of where each creek becomes tidal.  This basically turns each peninsula into a massive cul de sac.

When coupled with the endemic congestion on Interstate 95, the consequences for the Town are tragic.  Each time I-95 becomes gridlocked, interstate traffic bails out onto U.S. 1 causing U.S. 1 to freeze and leaving thousands of residents with no way out.  The gridlock has also stymied the town's ability to attract high quality development to its business areas.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Demanding Investments From NVTA For Our Community

Last night, the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority hosted a public hearing to receive public comment before deciding how they will allocate over $1.248 billion over the next six years. I joined Dumfries Mayor-Elect Derrick Wood and Town Councilwoman-Elect Monae Nickerson to advocate for funding four projects on U.S. 1. 

Here are the four projects:
We were joined by the Mount Vernon Council of Citizens and the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation who spoke in support of the projects.  Unfortunately, the Northern Virginia "Transportation" Alliance - a coalition of Tysons and Dulles-Area businesses and developers spoke specifically in opposition to the Route 1 projects even though U.S. 1 BRT ranked #8 for congestion relief on the formula that they drafted and pushed us to enact!  

Eastern Fairfax and Prince William County have waited too long for transportation investments into U.S. 1. Now is the time to fund these crucial projects and I will have little patience if the institutional forces of Northern Virginia continue to demand priority over areas that have lacked infrastructure investment for three decades.

Weekly Column: Comment on U.S. 1’s Future ASAP

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette and Springfield Connection in the week of May 15, 2018.
Comment on U.S. 1’s Future ASAP 
If you care about our community’s future, it is critical that you take a few minutes before May 20 to share our support for upgrading the U.S. 1 corridor, a major, but long-overlooked, commercial, residential and recreational thoroughfare in eastern Fairfax County. 
The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) is now deciding which projects to fund with $1.2 billion as part of its six-year plan.   
Fairfax County submitted several projects including widening U.S. 1 north from Fort Belvoir to Costco ($127 million) and establishing bus rapid transit from Huntington Metro to Fort Belvoir ($250 million) and made these top county-wide priorities.  NVTA ranked these two projects #23 and #24 out of 60 using the new “Smart Scale” criteria and numbers #2 and #8 out of 60 using the HB599 congestion mitigation criteria established by state law.  

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Kingstonian Column: Affordable Housing Must Be Part of U.S. 1’s Remake

The following will appear in the May, 2018 Kingstonian Magazine and Beulah Corridor monthly magazine.

Affordable Housing Must Be Part of U.S. 1’s Remake 

This past month, as part of the “Embark Richmond Highway” process the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors made significant progress building on the U.S. 1 Multimodal Study authorized by Senator Puller and myself in 2011 which envisioned a six-lane U.S. 1 bordered by sidewalks, multiuse paths, a median-dedicated bus rapid transit and two-stop Yellow Line extension.  The zoning changes envisioned by Embark will be truly transformational.  However, U.S. 1’s revitalization is generating legitimate questions about the future of affordable housing for current and future members of our community.  

From the beginning, I have been concerned the impact of revitalization on affordable housing.  The South County Task Force led by Mary Paden recently convened a panel discussion on affordable housing after it was largely omitted from the Embark recommendations.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Route 1 Corridor Improvements Need NVTA Support

During the recent General Assembly session, both the House of Delegates and the Senate agreed to proposals that would fully fund Metro. Unfortunately, the House refused to include revenue increases so their version of the funding agreement takes money out of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA). This could have dire consequences for the 36th District. Route 1 corridor improvement and transit expansion projects are counting on funding from NVTA.