In November, we posted about our efforts to get county/state funding to upgrade the intersection at Walker Rd and Georgetown Pike in the Village center. These upgrades will provide safe pedestrian crosswalks for walkers and bikers at all 4 corners, as well as allow right turns on red coming south on Walker Rd. These improvements will improve safety and traffic flow through the center of town for vehicles and pedestrians.
In late December, we learned from Supervisor Foust that this project is deemed worthy of future funding, but unfortunately it will not be funded at this time. Projects that were included in the County's Six-Year "Transportation Project Priorities" but not fully funded in 2014 will get first priority.
We encourage citizens who deem this a worthwhile project to communicate their interest in getting this project completed to the Supervisor and to Fairfax County Department of Transportation.
The Supervisor's letter of December 21 can be viewed here.
In early December, the Transportation Committee (TRN) considered the Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) current plan for improving the Route 7 corridor from Reston Avenue to Tysons that was presented at the Design Public Hearing on November 15th. Although TRN feels that VDOT/Route 7 Working Group/community collaboration has resulted in a better design that is basically acceptable, there are still a number of unresolved issues, including those related to stormwater management, noise barriers, and construction approach. Other concerns were also expressed in TRN’s recent letter to VDOT: Route 7 - Nov 2016 Design Public Hearing.pdf
About 40 years ago, the intersection of Georgetown Pike and Walker Road was rebuilt but, due to local pressure, the design was compromised in order to save two mature oak trees on the north-east corner at the Professional Building. The trees lasted for a few decades but are gone now. As a result of the compromised original design, VDOT could not allow a right-turn-on-red lane southbound on Walker nor cross walks from the NE corner. This was because the mature trees were to the north of the current Shell station and to the east of the 7/11 strip mall. Without proper protected crosswalks, pedestrians have had to dodge traffic in a very unsafe situation.
GFCA has recently lobbied Supervisor Foust’s office and VDOT to initiate design, funding and construction of a proper intersection so we can have right-turn-on-red going south on Walker Road going west on Georgetown Pike and safe crosswalks to connect all four corners of this major intersection in our town. The GFCA created a sketch and concept plan for this work that has the support of the affected property owners. This proposal was received by Supervisor Foust and GFCA has been informed that this project is at the top of the Supervisor’s list. GFCA is advocating that it should be funded and built in the 2017 budget cycle.
See the draft concept plan below ...
Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT’s) plans for the Route 7 widening project continue to evolve and advance. At the September 28th meeting of the Route 7 Working Group, anticipated completion dates for road improvements currently underway were shared (Route 7 Project Updates.pdf) along with details on the updated roadway design, results of the environmental study, and plans for project funding and approach.
While planned work was previously separated into two smaller projects known as Phases I and II, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) has since combined the two into a single project having a reduced budget of $233.9M, with $188.2M being allocated and a shortfall of $47.5M. Fairfax County has committed to funding the balance. CTB felt that a single project would not only result in a lower overall cost but also allow VDOT to advance the original construction schedule and completion date by using a design-build approach rather than the more traditional design-bid-build methodology.
Residents who would like to learn more about the project are encouraged to attend VDOT’s Design Public Hearing on Tuesday, November 15 at Colvin Run Elementary School, 1400 Trap Road, Vienna. Stop by between 6:30 to 8:30 PM (brief presentation at 7:00 PM) to see the current plans and environmental review, and find out about recent developments with noise walls and stormwater management ponds. For further information on the project see http://connectroute7.org.
Aging trees can cause problems on our local roads as limbs and trunks succumb to strong winds and storms. Residents who observe a downed tree or potentially dangerous situation should report the issue:
For more information see: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/environmental/treehazards.htm
On 26 September 2016 Seneca Corner Associates LLC submitted an amended special exception application for its proposed development to be located on Seneca Road near the intersection of Georgetown Pike. Revisions were made in order to address the community's concern of maintaining the previously dedicated right-of-way on Seneca Road while also maximizing the setback and buffer to the adjacent Great Falls Woods community. Links to the revised documents are shown below:
Revised Statement of Justification with Attachment - 09.26.16 (A0727321).pdf
Revised SE Plat - 9-26-16 (A0727329).pdf
Proposed Development Conditions - 9-26-16 (cln) (A0727267).pdf
In response to the community’s concerns about how the proposed Seneca Corner commercial development might impact traffic, the developer asked its engineering consultant to conduct a “sensitivity analysis” to determine how much traffic could increase before an adverse impact was seen on the surrounding street network. The results of this analysis revealed that (i) an increase of 63 percent in site trip generation of Seneca Corner could be accommodated given the proposed roadway improvements, and (ii) all intersections studied in the Operational Analysis would continue to operate at an overall Level of Service (LOS) of D or better during both the AM and PM peak hours.
Note: LOS is measured on a scale of "A" through "F" with "A" indicating free traffic flow and "F" indicating forced traffic flow in which the amount of traffic approaching a point exceeds the amount that can accommodated without poor travel times and stop and go waves. According to VDOT, LOS D is generally considered acceptable in an urban area.
To review the report: Seneca Corner Sensitivity Analysis 8-10-16.pdf
On August 1, representatives for the developer met with the Great Falls Woods HOA and GFCA to discuss the current design for Seneca Corner and the results of the Operational Analysis (OA) of traffic that was submitted to Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) in July.
Following its August 2 committee meeting, TRN reached out to FCDOT for information on the county’s assessment of the OA as well as traffic counts on Seneca Road and current / future functioning of roads and intersections in the immediate area. At this point, FCDOT is still reviewing the OA and a response to the questions raised by TRN is pending.
Residents who are interested in the proposed development and special exception application should plan to attend GFCA's September 12th Town Hall meeting during which updated information will be presented.
To review the Operational Analysis see: 2016-07-19 Seneca Corner OA - Final_r_With attachments.pdf
At TRN’s July 5th meeting, legal representatives for Seneca Corner Associates, LLC (SCA) briefed the community on the proposed commercial development and special exception application for a drive-through pharmacy on the corner of Georgetown Pike and Seneca Road. Over the past few months changes have been made to the plans in order to address concerns about traffic movement, line-of-sight issues, and driver and pedestrian safety. These changes include (i) eliminating the bump-out between the entrance to the shopping center and Preserve Drive and making the right lane continuous from Preserve to Georgetown Pike to improve safety for drivers exiting Great Falls Woods, and (ii) reconfiguring the lanes on southbound Seneca Road at Georgetown Pike so that there is one left turn lane, one right turn lane, and a center lane for through and right-turn traffic. The left turn lane on southbound Seneca will switch to a dual turn lane near the existing entrance to Seneca Square that will serve both shopping centers. About 8 to 9 cars can be stacked between the two entrances.
On July 20th, an operational analysis (OA) of the site was submitted to the Fairfax County Department of Transportation for its review. The community continues to be concerned about increased traffic volume and congestion that would be created by the new center, especially drivers who may be turning off of Route 7 to go to the center during rush hour. The developer has indicated that the typical draw radius for the center is expected to be about 2 miles, most traveling to the center will be local, and many will likely stop as part of another trip. Furthermore, it is not expected that the drive-through pharmacy itself will significantly impact traffic since only 4 cars per hour (on average) are expected to use it.
While not an issue directly related to the special exception, the appearance of the store is a concern to some residents. As a concession to the community, it has been recommended that further consideration be given to modifying the design. GFCA has provided SCA with the names of local architects who were consulted in conjunction with the TD Bank project.
SCA is currently looking into issues raised by residents and should be addressing these at their follow-up meeting with the Great Falls Woods HOA on August 1. The Planning Commission hearing on the application is currently scheduled for October 19, 2016. Should the County approve the special exception for a drive-thru pharmacy, construction would probably begin in early 2018.
The opinions expressed on these pages are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of the Great Falls Citizens Association
Great Falls Citizens Association
PO Box 27 • Great Falls, VA • 22066