Bus rapid transit executive wanted by Fairfax supervisors

FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA — A vote Tuesday by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors confirmed the county’s commitment to developing a framework for a rapid transit bus project along Route 7.

The Envision Route 7 Bus Rapid Transit project is being developed to provide new public transit between the Mark Center in Alexandria via Bailey’s Crossroads, the City of Falls Church to Tysons. An example of existing bus-only lanes is the Metroway in Alexandria and Arlington County along the Richmond Expressway. Alexandria is also planning a West End Transitway, while Fairfax County is planning a Richmond Highway Bus Rapid Transit called The One.

Tuesday’s board approval involved a memorandum of understanding between Fairfax County and the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, the agency responsible for the Route 7 Bus Rapid Transit project. The agreement includes a commitment to fund the development of a “road map” for the Route 7 bus rapid transit project. The plan will identify milestones and actions needed by communities and the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission to move the project forward.

The project is currently in the mobility study phase. These studies will examine the benefits of bus rapid transit along Highway 7 and examine traffic impacts and traffic operation issues. A mobility study is currently underway for the Highway 7 right-of-way in the Town of Falls Church, and a future study will focus on the Highway 7 right-of-way leading to the City of Alexandria.

Although the project is not yet in the design phase, Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity expressed support for bus stop areas allowing express bus lines to pass.

“I’m hoping that as we move this project forward, if we move this project forward, we will definitely consider the ability to get people there faster and having the ability to do routes express so we can actually get people on those buses and use them,” Herrity said.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust said Herrity’s idea “almost seems like a no-brainer” and asked about the downsides of express service. Tom Biesiadny, director of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, said adding bus stop areas or pass-through areas to let express buses through would require additional right-of-way acquisitions.

“We can definitely look at that as part of the design and discuss it with the board as the design progresses on whether or not to include it,” Biesiadny said.

Herrity pointed out that the ability to do express routes was a missed opportunity in planning for Richmond Freeway Bus Rapid Transit. The proposed Richmond Highway Bus Rapid Transit would include nine stations from Fort Belvoir to Huntington.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay disagreed that the Richmond Freeway had a missed opportunity for expressways due to potential impacts from the right-of-way acquisition.

“Those of us who have known intimately for more than a decade, and more importantly, are voting to provide the financial support for this billion dollar public improvement project…are acutely aware of the cost and environmental impacts of those would have been on the Highway 1 corridor,” McKay said. to start.”

To follow updates on the Bus Rapid Transit study, visit the Envision Route 7 webpage.

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