A proposed pedestrian and bicycle improvements project near the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metro station is taking shape and now includes plans to accommodate community needs in the interim.
During a virtual public hearing on the design of the $9.5 million project last Wednesday (Nov. 17), Virginia Department of Transportation staff shared an interim plan to improve the bicycle and pedestrian network north of the Vienna Metro station and Oakton High School.
The interim plan will support the needs of bicyclists in the area while taking into account the timeline for the larger Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project, which will add more than 11 miles of trails from Gallows Road in Dunn Loring to Centreville, according to VDOT.
The interim project calls for:
- New signs and pavement markings
- A buffered bicycle lane on Sutton Road between Sutton Green Court and Country Creek Road
- A two-way, street-level cycle track on eastbound Country Creek between Sutton and the Metro’s north parking lot entrance
Work is expected to begin in mid-2022 — around the same time the I-66 Trail network is complete.
VDOT project manager Zamir Mirza estimated that the interim project will be completed in late 2022. It’s intended to serve the needs of bicyclists until the permanent project is finished, which isn’t expected to be until early 2026, with construction starting in late 2024.
This interim plan is not funded as a part of the original project, however, and has an estimated cost of $1 million. It utilizes the existing roadway width and is not expected to affect utilities or require any right-of-way acquisitions.
Mirza added that the only component of the interim project that will remain permanently is some pedestrian push buttons to improve the traffic signaling.
Aside from the proposed interim plan, the Vienna Metro improvements project is largely unaltered from March, according to Mirza. He added the location of the shared use path and bicycle track remain the same along the three road segments.
For the permanent project, VDOT will construct a 10-foot-wide, shared-use path on Blake Lane and Sutton from the I-66 bridge to Country Creek Road. Crosswalks and refuge islands will be added at Blake Lane and the Oakton High School entrance, along with a raised crossing at Sutton Green Court.
Sutton will also get 12 or 13 street parking spaces added on the northbound section and 16 to 18 more spaces on the southbound.
Country Creek improvements include hatched shoulder areas with a 12-foot-wide, two-way bicycle track and a 6-foot-wide sidewalk, with crosswalks at Sutton Road and the I-66 ramp/Village Spring Lane.
A new traffic signal at this location will realign the I-66 ramp “to be better oriented with Village Spring Lane” and eliminate the free-flowing right turn currently there, according to Mirza. An additional eight to 10 parking spaces will be added on the westbound side of the road.
The Virginia Center Boulevard improvements include a two-way, 12-foot-wide bicycle track and a 6-foot-wide sidewalk. There will also be a Capital Bikeshare station, crosswalks at the Metro bus entrance and exit, and intersection improvements at Vaden Drive.
Mirza confirmed that there will be no private property taken from individual landowners, but “slivers” of land will be acquired from homeowners’ associations, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
The new parking added by the project is currently slated to be free, but Mirza said he was unsure of the county’s future intentions for those spaces.
Community members can submit comments on the project until Dec. 3 via email, phone (703-259-1794), mail, online, or in-person by request during business hours at VDOT’s Northern Virginia District office.
Emails should be made out to [email protected] with a reference to “Vienna Metro Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements” in the subject line.
Mail can be sent to Zamir Mirza, VDOT’s Northern Virginia District, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030.
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