​The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is holding a design public hearing on it’s Richmond Highway Corridor Improvements project this Tuesday, March 26. While the project provides significant improvements to bicycling and walking along Route 1, there are concerns the plans don’t go far enough to calm traffic and provide the vibrant communities envisioned by Embark. The public hearing is a great opportunity to find out the latest project details and speak up for better biking and walking along the Route 1 corridor.

Proposed Route 1 Pedestrian Underpass

Current project plans include widening Route 1 from four to six lanes from Jeff Todd Way to Sherwood Hall Lane, providing a one-way bicycle path and sidewalk on both sides of the roadway and preserving the median for future Bus Rapid Transit. VDOT is also considering two proposed pedestrian underpasses to cross under Richmond Highway at Little Hunting Creek and Dogue Creek.

The project will improve bicycling and walking along Route 1 over current conditions but concerns are being raised that more should be done to create a vibrant and livable  corridor.  The road is being designed for 45 mph traffic but could be reduced to 35 mph, which would be safer and more comfortable for all road users, particularly for people walking and biking. Some intersections, like Buckman Road (pictured above), are proposed to have double turn lanes creating an extra wide roadway, limiting pedestrian crossings to only one side of the intersection and likely requiring two light cycles for pedestrians to cross Route 1. The project also calls for a one-way bicycle path on each side of the road, not two-way. For bicyclists to access locations against the bike path flow, they would need to go around by crossing to the other side of Route 1 and then back again. The proposed pedestrian underpasses would provide additional crossing options but they are not yet a sure thing.  Now is the time to speak up to make sure they get this project done right.

The public hearing will be Tuesday, March 26, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm in the auditorium/cafeteria at Mount Vernon High School, 8515 Old Mount Vernon Road, Alexandria. ​​​If you can’t attend the meeting, you can check out project details here. Comments can be submitted by email to Mr. Dan Reinhard, P.E., at [email protected] by the April 26th deadline. Please reference “March 26 design public hearing” in the subject line.

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