Vienna officials for 12 years have talked about building a sidewalk along a short section of Kingsley Street, S.W., and now momentum is building to do so.
Vienna Town Council members agreed April 11 to set a May 2 public hearing on the proposal, which would construct a sidewalk in front of nine properties between 106 and 124 Kingsley Road, S.W.
The Council’s agenda item requested approval of a $107,422 design contract with Whitman, Requardt & Associates LP for the initiative, but Council members argued that the public should have the chance to weigh in again on the project, given the long period since its initial proposal.
Town officials began discussing the potential sidewalk in 2010 and in 2012 the Council approved a design contract for it, which then was put in abeyance because of a funding shortage.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) recently supplied the town with funds to update the project’s design to current standards, finalize those design plans and then build the sidewalk.
The project is part of the town’s Walk to Vienna Metro Initiative, which seeks to fill in missing links of the town’s pedestrian and bicycle networks and help people access the Vienna Metrorail Station.
Council member Howard Springsteen expressed dissatisfaction with the short notice concerning the project’s revival. The initiative has “major challenges” that might be expensive to address, he said.
“I’m not happy with the way this has been handled,” Springsteen said. “This started in 2010 or ’12, disappeared and suddenly resurrected itself. It appeared on our radar screen last week. If this is so critical, why did we not try to fund this in our capital budget over the last 10 years?”
Some Council members doubted a town ranking that rated that part of Kingsley Road as the fourth-worst in Vienna for pedestrians. Kingsley Road has a sidewalk on one side and streets with no sidewalks should take precedence in the project queue over roadways with one, said Council member Ray Brill Jr.
But others, including Mayor Linda Colbert, said the need for improvements there was pressing.
“What’s unique about this project is its difficult terrain,” she said. “It’s one of top five most-sped-on streets. This part of town is very critical.”
The Council could decide on the project’s design contract after the May 2 public hearing or wait until the May 16 meeting before voting on it.