GFCA Advocates County Funding for Local Transportation Projects

28 Oct 2017 8:02 AM | Philip Pifer

GFCA is recommending County funding for three important local projects in the current round of Transportation spending being decided this fall.  At $100M county-wide, this round is small compared to prior years and there will be fierce competition among communities for their local projects. 

GFCA is asking for citizens' help by completing a short County survey in support of these recommended projects (see instructions below).


GFCA has long believed that Great Falls does not receive a fair and equitable proportion of County funding for improvement projects relative to either our tax base or our population, compared to other communities.  GFCA is asking for strong support from our citizens in order to reverse this situation.

The specific projects we are advocating for funding in this round are:

  1. Intersection improvements at Georgetown Pike (GTP) and Walker Rd.  Full funding ($400K) will allow safe pedestrian crossing in the center of Great Falls Village, and improve safety and the flow of vehicle traffic at this important intersection. [Project ID 466].
  2. Trail along Utterback Store Road from Forestville Elementary to GTP.  Full funding ($700K) will allow children to walk on a safe path from surrounding neighborhoods to the school, rather than being bussed.  Fairfax County Public Schools had determined that walking and biking to schools improves children's health, mental well-being, and educational performance as well as reduces the expense and negatives of bussing. [Project ID 213].
  3. Concept design work ($100K) on GTP trail from Utterback Store Road to Walker Road.  Concept design work would determine the ideal route and most likely cost estimates for this very important trail segment, including north side or south side routing along GTP.  This segment is the most important project toward our vision of an integrated trail system throughout Great Falls that will allow people on foot or bicycle to transit from their neighborhoods to other points in our community, and would complete a trail running from Seneca Road to Great Falls village.  We do not believe that current county cost estimates for these projects are accurate.  Concept design funding would allow an optimal high-level design concept to be determined and accurate construction cost estimates to be set. [Project IDs 616 and 618].

More on the project benefits:

  •  Project 466 is our highest priority project. It will allow pedestrians to safely cross our two busiest streets and transit on foot throughout our major commercial center (Great Falls Village) and thereby encourage residents to walk to stores, the library  and the Grange, instead of driving to each destination.  It will give students living south of Georgetown Pike the ability to walk to Great Falls Elementary.  Walking to school has been determined by Fairfax County Public Schools to improve student health and academic performance, while also reducing bussing expenses for the County. This project will also improve sight lines for vehicles at the intersection, allowing southbound traffic on Walker to make a right turn on red safely at the intersection, improving the flow of traffic.
  • Project 213 is an important project to link more neighborhoods to the current end of the Georgetown Pike Trail (at Utterback Store Road) that  will soon run all the way to Seneca Road. The project will allow school children along and behind Utterback Store Road to safely walk to Forestville Elementary..
  • Projects 616 and 618 are essential to the completion of the Georgetown Pike Trail from Seneca Road to Walker Road and Great Falls Village. This trail is the backbone to a trail system that one day will allow Great Falls residents, who now must use a car to travel outside their neighborhoods, to transit on foot or bike to other parts of Great Falls. We believe the current Fairfax County DOT cost estimates for these projects are too high – making them appear quite costly, and as a result, making it extremely unlikely they will be constructed. We believe that expending a small amount on high-level initial/concept designs for these trail segments will answer questions about the optimal route and locations of the segments and allow a more accurate cost estimate to be developed. Thus, future funding considerations will be more fact-based. 

See GFCA's resolution here.

At total funding of $1.2M, the three projects above represent only 1.2% of the current funding round, whereas Great Fall's population is about 1.7% of county population and contributes an even greater proportion of residential tax revenues.

Please Help Support These Projects

We ask Great Falls residents to complete a brief County survey providing their opinions on transportation projects.  It will only take a few minutes of your time.  Please also encourage friends and family to take this survey (the more, the better!).

Here's how:

  1. Go to the County Survey here
  2. Review the Transportation Priorities Plan list mentioned on the first page of the survey to read descriptions of the projects being considered countywide, if you wish.  Hit "NEXT" to move from page to page through the survey.
  3. As you complete the survey, you will be able to enter two projects you want in each of the following categories:  Transit, Interchanges, Spot Improvements, Road Widening, and Pedestrian.  All of the Great Falls projects above are listed under the Pedestrian Category.  None of the projects listed in the other categories are in Great Falls.
  4. Enter your zipcode
  5. Step through each of the categories, and check at most two projects per category for funding.  If you do not have a preference in a category, check "None of these projects are a priority for me"
  6. Under "Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects" select projects 466 and 616 (Georgetown Pike and Walker Road) and (Georgetown Pike from Utterback Store Rd to Springvale Road)
  7. The last question is "Other Projects You Would Like to See Funded".  Please enter the following two lines:
    Project 213 - Utterback Store Rd
    Projects 616 and 618 - fund concept development only at this time

That's it!  Thank you for your assistance.

Great Falls Citizens Association
PO Box 27  •  Great Falls, VA  •  22066 

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