Recap of George Mason University Community Information Meeting

Over 50 residents who live in communities surrounding George Mason University attended a community information meeting hosted by Supervisor Cook to discuss future road construction plans on and adjacent to the Mason campus.

Tom Calhoun, Vice President of Facilities for Mason, explained why the University was proposing what is being called a Western By-Pass through west campus, across 123 and onto the east, or main, campus. Technical information was provided by Hari Sripathi of VDOT, representatives from FCDOT and officials from George Mason University. The presentation also included a brief description of other planned long range transportation improvements and how they will reduce regional traffic congestion. Those assembled asked questions and shared their concerns.

The design presented allows for a road to be built across from Prestwick Drive on Braddock Road, which would skirt the western edge of the campus, turn east and cross 123 north of Mason Pond Drive. Residents of the Kelley Drive neighborhood expressed concerns about how close this would run to the back of their homes, and asked what kind of buffer would be provided and how high the possible overpass would rise behind them.

Another concern was whether a new traffic signal at Prestwick and Braddock would slow thru traffic and cause more tie-ups instead of facilitating a smoother flow. There were also questions about the cost, the funding, the environmental impact, traffic through neighborhoods and why so many small projects were being done instead of just going ahead with the future grade separated interchange at Braddock Road and 123 which is expected to cost $84 million. The overarching concern of the community was that there was that there be active community participation in the process.

In his closing remarks, Supervisor Cook said that he had had success working with community representatives and transportation officials when coming up with a plan for how to address traffic problems at Danbury Forest Drive and Braddock Road. He felt that this is a situation that could benefit from a similar approach and would have his staff work towards gathering together a small group to work on addressing the concerns this project will inevitably bring forward.

Public Hearings on Revised Designs for Public Streets Upcoming

On March 29, the Board of Supervisors advertised public hearings before the Planning Commission (May 5) and the Board (June 7) regarding proposed changes to the County’s Public Facilities Manual. These new rules for Secondary Street Acceptance Requirements (SSAR) would impact any project approved for construction on or after March 9, 2009.

The first change increases the number of access points or “connectivity” that new subdivisions must have to adjacent properties, and requires that street layouts have sufficient connections in multiple directions to multiple properties. The second change would modify the size of an asphalt trail that would be built in the VDOT right of way, in general, requiring that those pedestrian connections be ten feet wide for subdivisions where the average lot size is ½ acre or less. A final area under discussion is a proposed minimum road width which will now be 36 feet curb to curb to accommodate a 20 foot “clear zone” for emergency vehicles coming into a community. This rule would only apply to new subdivisions.

Please review the staff report ( and be sure to make this office aware of your comments or concerns.

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