Lots of pedestrian and bicycle improvements will be installed near the Vienna Metrorail Station over the next four years, following unanimous approval July 19 by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
Board members endorsed design plans for the project, which will be funded by the county using various money sources and administered by the Virginia Department of Transportation.
The project is intended to boost bicyclist and pedestrian safety and accessibility. Improvements will connect and coincide with similar upgrades being installed as part of VDOT’s Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project.
The project, construction of which will not displace any businesses, families or non-profit groups, will devote $1 million to these interim improvements:
• A shared travel lane along Sutton Road between Blake Lane and Sutton Green Court.
• Buffered bicycle lanes on Sutton Road from Sutton Green Court to Country Creek Road.
• A separated, two-way bicycle track along Country Creek Road and Virginia Center Boulevard between Sutton Road and the entrance to the Metrorail station’s parking lot.
The project also will spend $9.5 million for ultimate improvements, including:
• Along Virginia Center Boulevard from the westbound Interstate 66 on-ramp to Vaden Drive:
– 200 feet of a 10-foot-wide shared-use path in front of the Metro station’s parking lot.
– 1,200 feet of a 10-foot-wide, two-way, raised (at sidewalk level) bicycle track on the south side of the road. This will be accomplished by removing one eastbound travel lane, maintaining existing sidewalk where possible and building new sidewalk as needed.
– Enhanced crosswalks, new pavement markings and signage, and traffic-signal modifications and optimization.
• Along Country Creek Road between Vaden Drive and Sutton Road:
– 1,500 feet of the two-way bicycle track and sidewalk on the roadway’s south side.
– Removal of the free-flow right turn from the I-66 ramp and addition of a right-turn lane at the traffic light.
– The same crosswalk, pavement, signage and traffic-signal upgrades listed above.
Along Sutton Road between Country Creek Road and Blake Lane:
– 1,900 feet of 10-foot-wide shared use path on the south side of Sutton Road.
– Fewer right-of-way impacts north of Sutton Green Court by taking advantage of excess pavement, while keeping parking on both sides of Sutton Road.
• At or along Blake Lane:
– Install a new pedestrian/bicycle crossing on Blake Lane on the south side of the Sutton Road intersection, along with a new traffic signal.
– Upgrade 100 feet of existing sidewalk to a 10-foot-wide shared-use path on the west side of Blake Lane.
Following design approval and the commencement of right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation in mid-2022, construction of the interim improvements will start this summer and finish by late 2024. Work on the ultimate improvements will commence later this year and be completed by early 2026.
The project received a generally favorable response at a design public hearing on Nov. 17, 2021, but some residents expressed concern about safety issues in the corridor, potential loss of on-street parking and property-frontage impacts.
County staff recommended financing $9.1 million of the initiative’s ultimate improvements using Regional Surface Transportation Program and Transportation Alternatives funding along with Northern Virginia Transportation Commission “I-66 Commuter Choice” grant moneys. The remaining ultimate-upgrades costs could be covered with $400,000 in Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) funds.
Interim improvements could be financed with $300,000 in NVTA moneys and $700,000 in surplus funds from state accounts involving the Edsall Road Walkway Project.
“This is funded and supported by many partners,” said Supervisor Dalia Palchik (D-Providence). “The county has reached an agreement with the community affected.”