A representative from consulting firm Kimley-Horn presented the next steps to improve transportation through the Maple Avenue area to the Vienna Town Council for its consideration on Monday.
Following surveys of Vienna residents conducted by the town and Kimley-Horn, several portions of the Maple Avenue Multimodal Study were highlighted as top priorities and presented to the council. According to the town’s survey, residents identified eight items as top priorities.
Among those items are the redesign of the Washington & Old Dominion Trail crossings, integration of leading pedestrian intervals (LPI), filling vital sidewalk gaps and providing traffic impact analysis guidelines. A streetscape master plan and design, a long-range transportation master plan, parking and demand study, and the redesign of Church Street and Lawyers Road intersection rounded out the top concerns.
Jinks shared the priorities with the council while echoing the redesign of the W&OD Trail Crossing as one of the public works department staff’s top projects to “start to find funding and implement as soon as we can.”
While Kimley-Horn conducted independent engagement meetings with community members to address challenges or concerns, many of the top priorities were the same as reflected in the town’s survey.
Based on the meetings and a survey of the baseline condition of Maple Avenue, consultant David Samba from Kimley-Horn presented solutions to the council that could be implemented in the next five to 10 years. The projects presented would address some travel conditions or challenges – not just traffic with vehicles, but with biking, walking and transit experiences.
Kimley-Horn’s study looked at a single future development scenario including 13 mixed-use developments across the corridor that would add about 700 vehicle trips in the morning and 500 vehicle trips in the afternoon. According to Samba, analysis showed that even with the addition of the traffic, Maple Avenue would continue to function similar to how it does now.
“It gave us confidence that if we address today’s challenges, we’d be addressing tomorrow’s challenges at the same time,” Samba said.
The survey identified a number of challenges, but primarily established public concern that multiple means of travel in the area need to be addressed, not just the automobile experience.
Kimley-Horn presented 18 projects to the council with considerations for near-, mid- and long-term recommendations.
Short-term recommendations include the redesign of the intersection of Church Street and Mill Street, W&OD Trail Crossing redesign, implementing leading pedestrian intervals, and all way stops. They also include trail management or extension on Locust Street, redesign of the Pleasant Street and Courthouse Road intersection, roadway operation and safety improvement, filling sidewalk gaps and redesign of the Nutley Street and Courthouse Road intersection.
Mid-term recommendations include a local circulator, a bicycle network, Capital Bikeshare, curb reconstruction and bus stop enhancements on Maple Avenue.
The firm lists redesign of Branch Broad and Beulah Road intersection, raised medians and a Maple Avenue off-peak parking plan as long-term recommendations.
Of the 18 recommendations, Samba listed six as the top priorities:
- The redesign of the intersection of Church Street and Mill Street
- W&OD Trail Crossing Redesign
- Leading pedestrian intervals
- A local circulator
- A bicycle network
- Filling sidewalk gaps.
Following the presentations by Jinks and Samba, Council member Howard Springsteen expressed gratitude for the project documents, but also emphasized the effect the COVID-19 pandemic is having on traffic and commuting.
“I think your study is a very good reference document out there that we can look at,” Springsteen said of the Kimley-Horn report. “But I think right now, we’re just trying to keep our heads above water with the pandemic.”
Image via Town of Vienna