The Fairfax County Parkway may soon get some additional attention from state transportation officials.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is considering asking the Virginia Department of Transportation to do a “corridor improvement study” for the parkway, a document that would determine short- and long-term options for congestion relief on the parkway, including the possibility of HOV or bus lanes.
Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) proposed the study Tuesday, along with Supervisors John Cook (R-Braddock), Gerry Hyland (D-Mount Vernon) and John Foust (D-Dranesville). The board voted unanimously to discuss the study at a committee meeting prior to submitting the request to the state.
Herrity said the corridor improvement study is “a critical next step” in improving the Fairfax County Parkway.
The county’s comprehensive plan currently calls for adding a third lane in each direction for the length of the parkway and adding five more interchanges to replace stoplights.
“What VDOT doesn’t have … is which of the options that are on the table could provide us with the most congestion relief,” Herrity said.
Some supervisors stressed the importance of also considering improved transit service on the parkway as a way to reduce congestion.
Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill) said it would be difficult to widen the Reston and Herndon end of the parkway without affecting existing homes. She emphasized that the study should consider “what are we going to do to avoid adding more lanes.”
“We really do need a transit element here,” she said.
Supervisor Jeff McKay (D-Lee), chairman of the board’s Transportation Committee, said the parkway is a high-priority subject and he would bring the matter before his committee as soon as possible.
However, he said, the bottom line is that the county needs more state funding for roads in order to actually make improvements to the parkway.
“I don’t know that we have a deficiency in our comp plan,” McKay said, responding to Herrity’s remarks that the county does not have a long-term vision for the parkway. “I think we have a deficiency in state funding to implement our comp plan.”