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ArlingtonTransportationCivic groups irked by VDOT planning for Route 1

Civic groups irked by VDOT planning for Route 1

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A coalition of civic associations representing surrounding neighborhoods suggests that a pending Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) report on improvements in the Route 1 corridor could turn out to be an “epic fail” that does not address key issues.

As a result, leaders of the organizations are urging the Arlington County Board to ask VDOT to go back to the drawing board and consider their concerns.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to dream big,” noted the Livability 22202 coalition, which includes representation from the Crystal City, Aurora Highlands and Arlington Ridge civic associations. The groups outlined their concern in a June 27 statement.

The VDOT study of what planners call “multi-model improvements” is incomplete, the civic groups said. “It raises further questions, fails to address a number of community concerns, and recommends a traffic pattern that, by VDOT’s own recognition, reduces safety,” they said.

“If Arlington County and the state proceed without addressing these concerns, our community will be further divided by a dangerous, wide road that puts cars before pedestrians and bikes,” the organization said.

The VDOT study project – found at https://bit.ly/2Tcoc7R – focuses on U.S. Route 1 (Richmond Highway) from approximately 12th Street South to 23rd Street South. The study was part of an agreement between state officials and Amazon.

The $2 million study started last year and is set to wrap up this summer. While state officials have agreed to fund improvements in the corridor, no funding currently is at hand and no timetable has been set.

The Route 1 corridor remains primarily a vehicular transitway, carrying more than 45,000 vehicles per day in the Crystal City and Pentagon City areas. “These areas are already heavily developed with limited space for expanding the footprint of the transportation network,” VDOT officials said.

The Livability 22202 statement criticized VDOT for limiting its consideration of alternatives to just a few options. “Shouldn’t a project of this scale and impact require a full consideration of options and input from the community from the earliest stages of the project through its completion to ensure community priorities are incorporated?” the organization asked.

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