On January 4, 2023, the MCA Board of Directors (the MCA Board) adopted a resolution proposed by the MCA Transportation Committee. The resolution recommends that Fairfax County move forward with 19 active transportation projects in the West Falls Church Transit Station Area (the Area), i.e., projects to promote pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. The resolution does not address vehicular traffic improvements.
There are three properties under development in the Area: (1) The site of the former high school in Falls Church; (2) a 24-acre property owned by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA); and (3) a seven-acre property occupied by Virginia Tech that abuts Haycock Road.
In July of 2021, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (BoS) amended the comprehensive plan for the Area and directed County Staff to assess existing active transportation conditions and obtain community input.
In December 2021, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) commenced the West Falls Church Metrorail Area Active Transportation Study (the Study), which included assessments of the pedestrian network within a one-mile radius of the West Falls Church Metro Station and the bicycle network within a two-mile radius of the Station.
The District Supervisors of the Dranesville and Providence Districts appointed an Advisory Group, consisting of residents representing the surrounding area, including several members of the MCA. The Group reviewed numerous proposals that were recommended by organizations and individuals, and prioritized and recommended 20 Active Transportation projects (16 pedestrian projects and 4 bicycle network projects). On November 30, 2022, FCDOT issued its Final Report on the Study, and separately indicated that the BoS would consider active transportation projects for funding in the Spring of 2023. At its meeting of December 6, 2022, the BoS directed county staff to add these 20 projects to the County’s Active Transportation Plan.
At its January 4, 2023 meeting, the MCA Board approved a resolution on the Study, which may be viewed here - 2023-01-04 - MCA Resolution-West Falls Church Active Trans Study. The MCA resolution:
- Commends the BoS for commissioning the Study;
- Endorses 19 out of the 20 projects for inclusion in the County’s Transportation Priorities Plan (TPP), which establishes eligibility for funding;
- Prioritizes 7 out of the 19 projects as deserving of early placement within the TPP for funding and implementation, on grounds of strategic importance in the transportation network, prior endorsement by the MCA, and/or low cost enabling early benefits;
- Declines to endorse one AG-recommended project (secure pedestrian pathway to the Metro station from Idylwood Road through or alongside the WMATA railyard), due to doubts about the cost-effectiveness of this very expensive project and due to the potential for a planned shared-use pathway that is relatively nearby along the North side of Route 7;
- Expresses appreciation for planned public outreach to local residents during project design; and
- Expresses appreciation for planned periodic reports on implementation progress.