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FairfaxMcLean body weighs pros, cons of Dolley Madison Blvd. proposals

McLean body weighs pros, cons of Dolley Madison Blvd. proposals

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It’s pretty much a given that the Dolley Madison Boulevard corridor that bisects McLean could use a bushel of traffic-flow and safety upgrades.

The McLean Citizens Association on July 6 approved a letter to the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) outlining several proposed short-term options proposed under the agency’s study that meet with the association’s approval and several that the group definitely does not want.

FCDOT since 2019 has been studying potential options to improve transportation in the corridor between Anderson Road and Old Dominion Drive, said Glenn Harris, who chairs MCA’s Transportation Committee.

The Transportation Committee prepared the letter, which MCA president Scott Spitzer will sign and send to Maggie Qi, FCDOT’s project manager for the Dolley Madison Boulevard Corridor Study. The association needed to expedite the letter to beat the Department of Transportation’s July 8 deadline for public comments on the study.

MCA’s letter supports these options:

• Concept 1, which would feature three eastbound lanes on Dolley Madison Boulevard (Route 123) through its interchange with the Dulles Access Road.
• Concept 2, which would have three eastbound lanes through the Lewinsville Road/Great Falls Street intersection.

• Concept 3a, which would increase capacity on Lewinsville Road. The board agreed to modify the letter to ask for police enforcement against drivers blocking the box at that intersection.

• Concept 5, which would feature exclusive left-turn lanes at the Lewinsville Road/Great Falls Street intersection.

• Concept 7, which would feature a westbound-option lane at the on-ramp leading to the westbound Dulles Access Road.

• Concept 8, which would extend the right-most westbound through lane by 500 feet at the Lewinsville Road/Great Falls Street intersection.

The Transportation Committee also opposed some options, which county staff members favor.

The committee was against Concept 3, which would restrict left turns from westbound Balls Hill Road to Lewinsville Road and require drivers to turn right, head north to Old Maple Drive, then do a U-turn (now prohibited) to head back to Route 123. MCA’s letter requested that U-turns be allowed at Old Maple Drive to aid drivers stymied by backups at Lewinsville and Balls Hill roads.

The Transportation Committee also opposed Concept 4b, which would install a triangular “modified jug handle” design of traffic flow at Old Dominion Drive, eliminating left turns in both directions from Route 123 and sending it around the block that is home to a McDonald’s and J. Gilbert’s Wood-Fired Steaks & Seafood.

Some MCA board members wanted that traffic light, however, saying it often is hard to turn left from eastbound Dolley Madison Boulevard to access northbound Ingleside Avenue because opposing traffic frequently is heavy and drivers sometimes block the box while waiting on red lights at Old Dominion Drive.

Motorists turning right from Ingleside Avenue to westbound Dolley Madison Boulevard also would benefit from the traffic light, as foliage blocks their view of oncoming traffic, MCA members said.

In lieu of a traffic signal, there should be a pedestrian beacon and enhanced crosswalk at the Route 123/Ingleside Avenue intersection, where a bicyclist recently was killed, or at the Route 123/Old Dominion Drive crossing, MCA’s letter read.

The MCA board passed a motion, with about one third of members voting nay, to support a traffic signal at Dolley Madison and Ingleside.

MCA board members also would favor a pedestrian/bicycle bridge that would vault over Route 123 near Ingleside Avenue, linking the campus with McLean Central Park, McLean Community Center and Dolley Madison Library with McLean’s Community Business Center, which the county’s Board of Supervisors has approved for redevelopment.

MCA also opposes a concept that would prohibit left turns from northbound Great Falls Street to westbound Chain Bridge Road. Members said this route lets motorists avoid the busy Great Falls Street/Lewinsville Road interchange at Route 123.

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