FABB encourages local riders to attend a Location and Design Public Hearing for the I-495 Express Lanes Northern Extension Project (495 NEXT) on Thursday, March 12, 2020. This will be a great opportunity to share your ideas on how to maximize the utility and safety of the planned addition of bicycle and pedestrian facilities as part of the project.

The 495 NEXT Project involves extending the 495 Express Lanes by approximately three miles from the Dulles Toll Road interchange to the George Washington Memorial Parkway interchange in the vicinity of the American Legion Bridge. The hearing will consist of an open house starting at 6:30 pm followed by a formal presentation at 7:00 pm and an opportunity for the public to provide comments. The meeting will be at Langley High School, 6520 Georgetown Pike, in McLean.

At the last public meeting on the project in May 2019 FABB members weighed in on proposed share-use paths for bicyclists and pedestrians. If constructed, the shared use path will provide a link from the Tysons area to communities to the north and perhaps one day into Maryland. You can find details about the path proposals from that meeting here.

As we examine the updated plans, FABB intends to make sure that VDOT follows up on our earlier requests for improving facilities that will link the 495 NEXT path to Tysons. This includes more separated bike lanes, regular bike lanes, or at least sharrows in an around Tysons, improved access underneath the Dulles Toll Road into Tysons, upgraded traffic signals, and adequate wayfinding signage.

In addition to providing comments at the public hearing, you can provide written comments on the draft assessment and design plans until on Wednesday, April 15, 2020, by emailing them to [email protected] or by mailing them to Abi Lerner, P.E., Virginia Department of Transportation, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030. Please reference “495 Express Lanes Northern Extension Study” in the subject line.

Whether you attend the meeting or send your comments later, please let VDOT know that you support the plan to add a shared use path as part of this project and to ask for the improvements needed to make the path a safer and more effective transportation option.

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